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1st this isnt me! Its someone else who i hope will NOT quit but i cant give them much of an answer as to why keep going and spending the money.

 

Would you quit if:

You only got 4-5 Q's in a whole year of competing. About 2 weekends a month. This is including T2B and Fast Q's.

 

Your dog has competed for 5-6 years of it life and still doesnt has its MX, MXJ or FX. Not to mention its MACH. In fact it only gots 1 double Q for the MACH.

 

You are told it isnt you. Your handling has vastly improved. Or you handled it like it should of been handle (by mutiple people and trainers)

 

You are spending a fortune for the dogs upkeep. Chiro once every 3 months or when needed, deep tissue massage once a month, maintenance massage weekly. Also the premium food you feed(not sure of you can include that in the "sport" cost). If you dont do the above the dog has issues(bar or missed weave entries).

 

It cost a lot for entries, gas, hotel, equipment, training, to advance in

 

But... this is your passion, your social life(friends), your dog loves it, you love it

 

Most of my rebuttals is met with. You dont understand you got Cressa.

I say: you will get it. Yes you only got X amount of Q's but why? Lets see. You got a dbl Q the 1st month. Another Q the next month. You ended up taking a month off. And he had a collision the next so yes the next couple of months(sept-dec) due to a sore back that was undetected the weaves were missed. Once that was realized and work to correct had happen. Now its just common mistakes on the course. The exclusive Q will come.

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1st s/he thinks jumping at that lower level is worst for the dogs back.

 

2nd s/he doesnt like performance.

 

Also it has been suggested they jump a higher height and the dog doesnt jump as nice. It really has to torque itself to jump and land.

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I say who cares about Q's or titles. The point of agility in the first place is to have fun with your dog and increase your bond. So if they both enjoy the game, play it. If either one of them doesn't, then quit.

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Though I am not into agility and therefor didn´t understand a iota of the part about the Q´s, all kinds of M´s, and even a Mach (don´t you measure aircraft speed in that unit?), I think Todd´s Mom nailed it.

And apparently your friend is not enjoying her/himself anymore.

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I say who cares about Q's or titles. The point of agility in the first place is to have fun with your dog and increase your bond. So if they both enjoy the game, play it. If either one of them doesn't, then quit.

I don't "do" agility but I have done it with two of my dogs, just for fun, bonding, exercise, and the training experience. This is what I would have said if I could have said it as well.

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I say who cares about Q's or titles. The point of agility in the first place is to have fun with your dog and increase your bond. So if they both enjoy the game, play it. If either one of them doesn't, then quit.

 

Couldn't have said it better. We have also trained for agility, never to compete. It was great fun, training, and socialization for the dogs AND for us. We used to compare it to a weekly bowling or golf outing. Something you did for fun once or twice a week. When it is no longer fun for either dog or human, it is time to quit.

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i do run agility and i understand the fun part-i wouldn't do it if it weren't fun for me and my dogs- and the Q part. it can be deeply discouraging to work and work and work and not be rewarded for it. in this case the Q. i understand the desire to give up. i had to make a similar decision with herding. my dog loves it, i love it but it is very expensive for us, not owning sheep, and she wasn't great at it. and without a LOT of time and money, she wasn't gonna get much better. so, for the most part, we've given it up and concentrated on agility.

when i started running agility i ran with my 2 all americans. one loved it and has gone on to attain his c-atch 3. the other got to a certain level and starting stressing out. neither were very fast, but always consistent. the stressed one i retired, the slow but steady guy still runs, loves it.

BUT, when i decided that agility was my passion and i wanted the Q's, i got a dog that would do that for me (hopefully)-hence the border collie. nova is that dog. i didn't know when i adopted her whether she would excel or not, but the chances were good. luckily she has plenty of potential. do we Q as much as we like-no. mostly my slow handling skills. sometimes speed kills.

 

i know it's not possible for all, but perhaps she can retire this dog and find one with more potential. my other reccommendation would be to change venues. run CPE or NADAC. there is far less stress and they are geared for success at the lower levels. very confidence building which could lead to bigger and better things. confidence is half the battle.

 

i still run my incredibly slow dog because he does love it so much and when he doesn't-we'll stop. he does run enthusiast, which is a lower and slower time. nova and i will be a work in progress for a long time. but i love running with her.

 

another suggestion i found worked for me was to take some time off. for over 6 weeks we did no agility at all. no lessons, no practice, no competition, nothing. when we came back, it seemed to help a bunch. i would never reccommend giving up something you are passionate about, perhaps just tweak it some.

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You are spending a fortune for the dogs upkeep. Chiro once every 3 months or when needed, deep tissue massage once a month, maintenance massage weekly.

 

Whilst I agree with those who have said that results aren't everything, if my dog needed regular physical maintenance to keep it fit enough to compete I would question whether it was right for it to continue even if it were at the top of its game.

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Whether or not I would quit in this circumstance would depend on several things.

 

First and foremost, is competing beneficial to the dog in some way? Is the dog enjoying it, or is the dog finding it stressful? Is the dog coming home from trials contented with that "after trial glow"?

 

If the answer to that question is "no", then I probably would either quit, or possibly change venues. Or just run at class and not trial.

 

If competing is beneficial to the dog in some way, then I would look at it from the standpoint of what I want. If what I want is to participate in a particular venue for the social aspect of it, or because I enjoy that style of Agility, and, again, participating is beneficial to the dog in some way, then I would continue in that venue. I would enjoy the Q's when I get them, but focus more on enjoyment than Q's and titles.

 

If it is beneficial to the dog and my goal is Q's and titles, then I might look into other venue options. Might another be more appropriate for the dog due to a different format or goal?

 

Of course, this is all taking for granted that the dog is physically sound and that Agility is not causing any more than the typical wear and tear that it has on any dog over time.

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and yes, i do agree with all those who stressed the dogs soundness. all that maintenance does sound excessive.

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Whilst I agree with those who have said that results aren't everything, if my dog needed regular physical maintenance to keep it fit enough to compete I would question whether it was right for it to continue even if it were at the top of its game.

I agree with this. Isn't it possible that there are other, undetected health issues going on? But at any rate, if the owner isn't having fun because she's not getting the Qs, then she may just need to quit with that dog. If she doesn't want a second dog, then the obvious answer is to drop the current dog to an easier level. I know someone who has dogs who just aren't natural agility competitors, and she's had quite a bit of success in CPE.

 

J.

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On thinking about this more, based on what you've written, it might not be a bad thing for this handler to quit and see if that is the right decision.

 

I've done that, and I have ended up re-evaluating my priorities and eventually made the decision to go back to it with a far better attitude and perspective. But if I had just taken time off, or tried to press forward, that time of reflection and re-assessment would not have been able to happen, and I would have been the poorer for it.

 

I'm not saying that everyone who hits a period of difficulty should just up and quit, but if the handler is talking about it, doing so might be the right decision at this time.

 

I realize that you are looking to be supportive and encouraging in looking to convince her to continue, but ultimately the handler needs to make the decision that is right for her dog and herself. And the right decision might be to walk away, as difficult as that might be for many reasons.

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i'm not sure about quitting, not if she loves it. the dog may have to quit, but i don't think they have explored all the options. from the o.p., it seems she wants things to change, with out really changing anything. you know, if you do the same thing over and over expecting different results.....

 

so she may have to change levels to proformance, or jump heights or venues or dogs. if she doesn't want to try these things, perhaps it isn't love? things don't change, if things don't change.

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If there's nothing wrong with her handling, but the dog doesn't Q, then I'd have to wonder why. If it's because the dog is not physically sound, then I'd say, yes, quit. Or, run in preferred/perfomance. I would not force my dog to continue to compete, if it was not physically comfortable for him. I love a Q just like anyone. But, agility (to me) is about having fun with my dog, the challenge of trying to run a clean course or accumulate as many points as possible, the fun of continuing to learn new ways of training and handling, and hanging out with other dog nuts. My dog will be 7 years old in a few months. We've been competing for about 4 or 5 years. We have had some successes and a lot of failures. Given our inconsistency (fix one thing, develop a new problem) we will likely never get any of the big championship titles, and that's OK. It'd be fun to get a championship title, but if we end our career together without one, I will still consider our team to be a success. If your friend's dog seems to still have fun, then continue in a lower class and don't worry about the Qs. If Qs are that important, then she should think about retiring her current dog and start training a new dog. JMO.

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First comment, can I be this persons dog? Chiropractor appointments and deep tissue massages? I wish I could afford that for myself!

 

Second, I agree that if the dog needs that kind of maintenance then maybe it is time to find other fun outlets to do together. Even if the dog seems to enjoy agility he may very well not enjoy needing chiro appointments and massages.

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I have read a lot of good answers here, but I will put my 2 cents in anyway.

 

In the latter part of your post, you describe plausible reasons why there have been no Qs for a period of time. That is part of the sport. Is your friend comfortable with that, or does she have unrealistic expectations to continue to Q despite the potholes in the road (i.e. injury, training issues, etc.)?

 

If her dog REALLY does require weekly maintenance massages to perform, maybe the dog's structure is not suited for agility or maybe it has an undiagnosed problem that the massages and chiro are only putting bandaids on. If she thinks her dog might have an injury, I would find an experienced rehab/ortho vet for a full evaluation. If there is nothing physically wrong, then IMHO all these massages are overkill. I have a somewhat injury-prone dog, but go to see the rehab vet only 3 times a year (to make sure he hasn't injured himself and I have not detected it) and work him through muscle-building and stretching exercises a couple times a week. Can your friend learn some basic massage techniques so that she could give her dog the weekly maintenance massages?

 

You say everyone has been telling her that her handling is fine -- well, is her handling what they would have done (with their dog) or is her handling appropriate for her dog? I ask because in my agility class when we walk and discuss how to run the course, my instructor is so good because she encourages each team to handle the way appropriate to the dog. With 5 dogs in class, we may have 3 different ways to handle a specific sequence. When I watch other dogs run at a trial, I see many successful teams that do not handle the way I would. I guess what I am trying to say in a clumsy way - is she handling in a way that her dog will be successful, or is she handling just like everyone else. These may not be mutually exclusive, but then again, they may be.

 

I would encourage her not to focus on the 'trial Q'. Rather, she should focus on her personal Q. Before each run, or before each trial, she should set a personal Q - and then evaluate if she was successful. For example, a personal Q might be to get the front cross in before obstacle 7. Regardless of what else happens in the run, if she has done a FX before obstacle 7, she has achieved her personal Q. If she is having so much trouble, it would be better for her to break her goals down into smaller segments that are achievable (but not necessarily easy). Or she may want to make sure her dog holds a start line stay for the whole weekend trial - her personal Q. Eventually, all these personal Qs will add up to a 'trial Q'.

 

Perhaps trialing only once per month (cut down on costs) until she feels she and her dog are better prepared would be an option rather than quitting.

 

Is this her first agility dog? If so, I think she should have a whole different set of expectations than someone on their second or third dog. I know from experience. :D

 

Best of Luck to her,

Jovi

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There's also nothing wrong with taking a break for a while. Maybe she could play around in a different activity just for fun, and see how she feels later. Sometimes a break can be beneficial and you come back and things are better because you needed that break, and sometimes the break shows you just how stressed out and unhappy you were trying to attain something you didn't really enjoy.

 

Years ago, I struggled to finish a CDX on a dog with a UKC CDX and one leg. I knew she could do it and was frustrated that a dog who did so well in practice couldn't pull it together at a trial. It was really important for me to earn that damn CDX and I wasted a lot of money trialing only to have my dog leave the ring during the long down or refuse her dumbbell.

 

Finally I took a break and we tried agility (which was new back then) and later, when I reconsidered trying for those last 2 legs I learned how little I cared about them anymore. I still have no idea why I got myself all worked up about it. My dog sure didn't care.

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What about trying a different venue? There are so many options out there, maybe AKC just isn't for them and their dog.

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I think it's falling back to the attitude of the handler and possibly the relationship the person has with their dog.

 

The OP states that the handler will not run the dog in Performance -- which leads me to believe it's an ego issue and I'm going to guess we won't convince that person to try NADAC or CPE any time soon.

 

The plain and simple truth is that 99% of the time the NQ's are our fault. If the NQ's are off courses, the handler is late. If the NQ's are contact calls or weave faults, that's a training issue. If the NQ's are dropped bars, it's either a timing issue for the handler OR maybe the dog just can't handle the height. It would be helpful to see video of the pair, because until then all we can do is speculate.

 

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. What is this handler doing DIFFERENTLY to expect to see different results = Q's? You can't just continue on the same path and expect change. The handler needs to seek out different instruction for a different opinion or bite the bullet and change jump heights/venues to see if there is a change in the dog. There is no reason to throw in the towel until all options have been pursued.

 

The other option is to get another dog. People do it all the time. Maybe that would take some of the pressure off the current dog and it might magically start to Q. Hey, that's what happened with my little dog. :D Kaiser hated agility and had the lowest Q rate ever (like 5% if we were lucky). I adopted Secret and said I would only continue to torture Kaiser until Secret was ready to take his place -- about three months before her agility debut, Kaiser started to really take off and shine in agility. I'm glad I didn't give up on him because he's a blast to run.

 

Ultimately, this handler obviously needs to change something. Until that happens, there's really no point in bitching about it.

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Very well said, Secret.

 

Oh, and dropped bars can be a training issue, as well. I speak from experience. ;)

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I agree. ^^^^^ Well said, SecretBC

 

Dropped bars - also consider an ileopsoas strain. I speak from experience too. :D

 

Jovi

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I had a message composed this morning but the computer ate it. Pretty much everything I was going to say has been said, the real question is why are they not getting those Qs, lack of speed, dropped bars, off course, contacts..... knowing the answer to that puzzle is what really makes the decision. I have feeling Secret nailed it with her post.

 

I do though understand wanting to quit, I have let my first agility dog semi-retire he does rockstar appearances if my husband is away, either at class or at a trial, he has fun I expect nothing and a good time is had. BUT if he was my only dog I think I would have a quit. Agility is not though my social life, it is a sport I play with my dog, and I do treat it as a sport and am competitive, which is why I run and work on my fitness, and why I spend to much money on training. ;)

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Ok a couple things...

 

The person doesnt feel its in the dogs best interest to jump performance.

 

Other venues is a no go. Partly due to what secrete said.

 

I have suggested quitting for a couple months and the reason they havent yet quit is because they are running really nice. Of they stop will how long before they are running as good.

 

The dog is very sensitive to motion. If you lift a finger at the wrong time a bar will come down.

 

The handler does already have 2 up and coming dogs. One might be starting this year.

 

This dog is the heart dog. To give up on your heart dog??? Shudder at the thought!

 

Handler doesnt want to give up their "get away" or their escape from the daily grind. Its just the lack of progress for them really gets to the human. Dog still think... er KNOWS s/he is the awesome-est agility dog ever! ;-)

 

Dog history:

Yes 1st border collie, 1st agility dog

 

Had a back injury when 2.5 years old. Wasnt dealt with so got worst. Started seeing a good masseuse when 3ish years old. That helped but if back isnt kept up on its gets knotted up again.

 

In class and home s/he is a star. Training came and still is easy. You cant trick him/her. :)

 

Missed weaves we are realizing is mainly from his/her back. Or put differently since the monthly/weekly massages the weaves have NOT been missed.

 

Also has had different handlers. One handler is one of the really good handlers. All have had the same issue knocked bar or weaves.

 

I had said been competing for the last 5 years but that isnt right per say. Has had 4-5 months off the 1-3 years. 2 of those years dog was being handle by other people.

Also they just recently within the last year or two been able to run together. Then a year ago they started running like a team. With ~1 month off and 3-4 months with a sore back(missing weaves).

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Cressa, I can not understand how the owner would not consider performance, in AKC can you try it for a trial and then go back? I am not one averse to high jump heights I jump my young dog at 26" and he sails over, my older dog on his rare outings does 12" skilled plus veteran which we took as soon as he turned 7 in NADAC and he bounces around the course with a huge grin.

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