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Marisa_25

New here just wanted to say hi! :)

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Hello from Texas! Just thought I would introduce my girl Millie and a little about us and hopefully get some tips and advice as well! 

Millie is 13 months old and we are just getting started on agility and dock diving, I got her when she was 3 months old off of Craigslist (I just really wanted a puppy I didn’t care what kind, and got extremely lucky). She is my first dog and as a college student with no experience training a dog I think we are doing very well, she knows all the basic commands and then some and is very well behaved. The only thing that we are really working on is her fear of children (I am 99% positive this is why her previous family was giving her away as they had young children, though the fear/aggression was never mentioned). So that’s a little about my girl and as I mentioned above, any tips or advice on agility and other sports or just in general is very appreciated :)  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us! 

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Welcome! Millie is beautiful.

As far as the fear/aggression towards children, check out the books "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt, and "Behavioral Adjustment Training 2.0" by Grisha Stewart. I have found control unleashed to be extremely helpful for my fear aggressive dog.

Agility is so much fun! I hope you and Millie enjoy it.

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I think with all dog sports, it is easy to get very caught up in them.  I can only speak about agility, which is what I do, and I am in Australia, which means I will have a different perspective.  But I will give my perspective.

Agility has many different handling systems, theories on how to approach it etc as you can shake a stick at.  My advice is to relax, work on building a good relationship with your dog, make everything as fun as you can and enjoy the ride.  Your first dog will always be special, but will always be the one where you learn the most, and probably make the most mistakes.

If you are a super competitive personality, you will want to go to a top trainer, practice regularly, make or buy your own equipment, immerse yourself in the culture and theory, compete as soon as you are ready, and then enter everything you can, travelling to every competition you can and advance through the levels to elite competition.

Or my preference, especially as a first timer, is to take your time, maybe help out at some agility (or other dog sport) trials first to get a feel for what they are about, how they run, what is involved, how different people work.  Talk to people you like watching work their dogs about where they train, or what system they use etc.  Do some basic foundation work (lots of videos online) to build up core strength, build a connection, etc.  Decide which system you like and either go to a local trainer or do courses online.  Stay positive and make things fun for your dog.  Have a go, laugh at your mistakes and keep trying.

In Australia, we have a saying "I'm not playing for sheep stations here".  The meaning being that I am not competing for some incredibly valuable trophy or prize, I am doing this for fun (or exercise, or friendship etc).  That is my attitude with agility.  My boy loves, and I mean LOVES, going over jumps.  He is never happier. It is not my idea of a good time to run like a mad thing around a field for 30 seconds.  I do it because he loves it.  When it stops being fun for him, it stops being fun for me.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be an elite level competitor in agility or any other dog sport.  If that is what you want to be, go for it, I will be cheering and admiring from the sidelines.  But it is perfectly acceptable to just want to have fun, to keep trying and learning and improving.  Not everyone has the time, money and dedication (or aptitude) to be an elite level athlete in dog sports.  We can all have fun and try to do our best.

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Also, after my long read above, I wanted to say that I love the look of your dog, and she reminds my of my boy Oscar.  I love a whiteface BC in Agility.  Makes them much easier to pick out in the photos of an event.

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