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Discussion Starter #1
I was actually looking up something completely unrelated from a show and was startled to find Conner's name in the results. I just copied the first 15 dogs' results. This is back between after Conner had earned the CDX and before we started for the UD. But it reminded me of how competitive this area used to be with such large classes. Every single dog on this list except Conner went on to get their OTCH if they didn't already have it and all were NOI invitees. There were nearly 40 dogs in the class that year, I remember the next year was similar (and Conner was in a run off for 4th place whoo-hoo but lost), but that same trial this past year had to cut a day off and hire two fewer judges because entries are so low now. I am scared for the future of obedience. I will be very sad if it dies before I do! I want trials to look like this again around here. Sure it was cut throat competitive, but the challenge is what makes it fun! ;)


Open B
1 OTCH Breakwater Ice Skater UDX36 JH, Golden Retriever, 200.0
2 CH Highland's It's My Time UDX2 TDX, Border Collie, 199.5
3 OTCH Sunfire's Gift Of Freedom UDX4 RN, Golden Retriever, 199.0
4 OTCH Tanbark's Who's The Boss UDX6 RA JH MX MXJ, Golden Retriever, 199.0
5 OTCH Hideaway's Heeere's Johnnie UDX4, Golden Retriever, 198.5
6 CH Glenangus Dallas Tripper UD, Border Collie, 198.0
7 Teal Oak Spins A Web UDX JH, Golden Retriever, 198.0
8 MACH Rock 'N Annie UD, Doberman Pinscher, 197.5
9 OTCH My-Key Sparks A Fly-N UDX2, Border Collie, 197.5
10 MACH Sandyridge Eladsgar Tally Ho UDX2 RE, Labrador Retriever, 197.5
11 OTCH Benden's Talk Of Texas UDX23 MH, Golden Retriever, 197.0
12 Mud E Paws CDX RE, Golden Retriever, 197.0
13 Mallard Brake Help Me Rhonda UD RN, Labrador Retriever, 197.0
14 Tudorose Primo Bravissimo UDX2, Standard Poodle, 196.5
15 OTCH Hideaway Riptide Rush UDX3 RE OA NAJ, Golden Retriever, 196.0
 

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I've only been around dog sports for a little bit now, but have been admiring dog activities since I was very young. I think the problem with obedience is that it does not seem newbie friendly, as it is all about precision, control, etc. I started with agility as I figured it would be much "easier" to train than obedience. That thinking is of course very wrong, but I just didn't know at the time!

I wanted to get into obedience over a year ago, but figured that my wacko rescue dog couldn't ever be as well trained as "those obedience dogs". I was completely wrong though, which I found out after doing a bit of research and seeing some more current trainers work thier dogs. Anyway, I think the best way to grow the sport is to encourage those that are new...they are the future. Take someone under your wing and reassure them that they CAN train their dog successfully.

I've love reading about all of the training stories on this board, as it reminds me that no one's dog is perfect and that everyone has their training struggles!
 

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Kristy
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It's funny, I am very intimidated by the thought of competitive obedience and not being able to talk my dog through an exercise. I plan to start with pre agility for Mack not because I think it will be any easier training-wise necessarily, but because I did find it much less initimidating.
 

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Loving Flyball
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It's funny, I am very intimidated by the thought of competitive obedience and not being able to talk my dog through an exercise. I plan to start with pre agility for Mack not because I think it will be any easier training-wise necessarily, but because I did find it much less initimidating.
You can talk to your dog in Rally Obedience! After getting my CD with my Novice a dog, I did Rally for a year. I went from being shakey nervous in the ring, to completely comfortable. It can be a great confidence builder:)
 
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You can talk to your dog in Rally Obedience! After getting my CD with my Novice a dog, I did Rally for a year. I went from being shakey nervous in the ring, to completely comfortable. It can be a great confidence builder:)

YES! I am getting ready to do some rally advanced runs in about a month. I am TOO nervous do go for our CD, even though he could be ready very soon. I see rally as no big deal and am way more relaxed. I want my dogs (and my) first times in the ring to be just that, fun and relaxed!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just didn't know any better at the time - I had been doing Petsmart classes and really enjoyed training my dog, but there wasn't anything else in the area for me to do, no agility, obedience, or anything else here but conformation. Finally I found a few other people who were also getting started and had found a trainer two hours away who was willing to work with us occasionally. Rally wasn't a regular class then so I didn't know anything about that.

Actually what gave me the idea to do obedience trials was seeing my first trial that year when I went to see the goldens at our local kennel club's conformation trial. I ended up watching obedience instead, watched the Novice A dogs floundering around, and said, hey my dog can do that! LOL
 

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YES! I am getting ready to do some rally advanced runs in about a month. I am TOO nervous do go for our CD, even though he could be ready very soon. I see rally as no big deal and am way more relaxed. I want my dogs (and my) first times in the ring to be just that, fun and relaxed!
I'm the opposite - rally makes me a nervous wreck, trying to follow a course!
 
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Loving Flyball
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I'm the opposite - rally makes me a nervous wreck, trying to follow a course!
That is when you are in the ring, and say in a happy voice "Well that was stupid, why did I do that!".
 

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That is when you are in the ring, and say in a happy voice "Well that was stupid, why did I do that!".
no, that's when I get to the trial and say "this is stupid, why did I sign up for this?" LOL
 
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Kate
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I ended up watching obedience instead, watched the Novice A dogs floundering around, and said, hey my dog can do that! LOL
Heh... one of my instructors with Jacks, way back when we completed the first year and were going on winter break before classes started up again... she recommended that we try to get over to trials to watch. But she didn't want us watching novice A at all.....

One thing I was going to say is that the reason why I really enjoyed training with big clubs this time around with Jacks (as opposed to the smaller training group we had with Danny), is that I really had a chance to watch a lot of the higher level obedience people training their green dogs.

It helped to see what they were doing to teach very basic skills to their green dogs... and seeing that those trainers and their dogs (regardless of breed) were not just "born that way". There really is a lot of groundwork and training they do with their dogs long before they get to the ring. :)

The problem I've always heard about obedience is it takes too long to prep an obedience trial dog. From what I've heard (maybe this isn't correct) about Agility is people expect to get into trials within a year. And the same thing was a selling point for Rally (before the AKC sent every stay at home trainer into a panic this fall). With obedience, it takes a long time.

The funny thing is I told my mom that I was just going to do puppy classes with Jacks, but that we would prep for novice at home vs doing all the classes. Because I did spend a lot of money with my Danny just on classes and our mood-swinging instructor drove me nuts every time she shut down and left us stranded. <- So yep, I can somewhat see why people do not want to go through the expense of doing all the classes and dealing with flaky obedience people. :)

Having a fun dog to train got me addicted to obedience training again, and likewise being around a lot of great trainers and their dogs. But if you don't have that advantage, or it's not as "fun"... it's probably why people are flocking to the agility and rally classes.
 

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They get it
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Obedience numbers in our area is really low and it's sad. Those that do participate, though are very gracious and willing to help newbies. I remember when I started with Brandy, I took her to the classes at the facility I train at now and they really made it a point to let me know "You can WIN with that dog". Well that was all it took they had me hooked. And I did win with her, not anything major, but we did very nicely. I think that is where we are missing the boat with newbies, as was said earlier, we need to take them under our wings and encourage them. I have heard horror stories of mean, cut throat competitors, and I am sure they are out there, and that is the LAST thing we need ring side for those not as confident. I'm rambling, and hope I made some sense.
 

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Barley & Mira's Mom
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I think that is where we are missing the boat with newbies, as was said earlier, we need to take them under our wings and encourage them. I have heard horror stories of mean, cut throat competitors, and I am sure they are out there, and that is the LAST thing we need ring side for those not as confident. I'm rambling, and hope I made some sense.
I could not agree with this part more! As someone who is a newbie my overall first impression of obedience was most people are not very nice. I am lucky enough to know people from agility so I had friends there, but I thought very few people from the table that had the catalogs to the people at the ring check in tables were friendly. I felt pretty stupid most of the time. I can easily see how someone who was entering their first trial would not want to come back.
 
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Loving Flyball
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I think one thing that may help is if training centers and clubs, had mini seminars to help people understand what is going on, and the do's and don'ts of obedience shows. I have seen many new people doing things that are not always welcome at obedience shows, and I think if they knew NOT to do certain things, they wouldn't have people dislike them immediately. New competitors also need to be receptive of the help, and advice that the more seasoned people give them. They are not trying to be mean, they are trying to help them succeed. You know how many times I have wanted to tell people not to run like a fairy on the fast, or don't slow down, and turn and look at your dog on the figure 8?! People don't always help the newbies, because they can be pretty nasty when people do try to help. I know I for one am VERY selective of the people I try to help.
 
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where the tails wag
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Oddly, when I first started it was also primarily an older crowd too - now I am one of the older ones LOL

I think some of the unfriendliness is lessening, since the training ideas are more openly discussed and not held onto as some type of trade secrets.

But part of what you are experiencing is also that younger folks are frequently raising families and starting careers. This does not always leave the time or money that excelling at obedience may require. Add in the expenses of doggy day care and dog walkers etc that are frequently employed today, the lengthening of our work days etc, and it does not truly surprise me that the sport is smaller than it was even 10-15 years ago.

And then there is agility - which is just plain fun. Win or lose, Q or not. I love obedience, don't get me wrong, but even some of my trainers now say that they would not work so tirelessly towards perfection when there are other sports they want to to participate in as well. And rally is really a dance of obedience with the added benefit of being able to talk with your dog :)


It takes a lot of time and effort to play in these dog games, and the patience to plan things for years in advance, while allowing for flexibility and variation. This takes a special dedication when also raising children and taking care of a household.

Obedience is not very beginner friendly and consists of an older crowd in general...at least this has been my experience.
 

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I ejoyed obedience training right away. I got hooked at my first show. I just showed up and watched. It looked difficult, but with enough work, doable and within reach.

I wish I started earlier, when I had better health. I am limited and probably will never reach upper levels. But I always look forward to training and events. Its often aggrevating and disappointing, but so are all sports.

Its seems to me like healthy competition in my geographical area. I have not been involved long enough to observe ups and downs in the level of competition.
 

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Kate
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One question I have for this thread... and this is based on a lot of the "what's wrong with obedience" threads that keeping popping up in my email....

How could obedience change to make it better for you?

I do not want the sport itself to be dumbed down. Within reason. :)

We were practicing stands at class recently and my instructor mentioned that they actually once did a timed stand stay. I mean REALLY?! Where was I when they were still doing that?! <- I think my dog could probably handle a timed stand stay, but I can't say I wanted to experience anything like that. :eek:

Talking to your dogs - I think the downside of that is what we already see in rally. People go out there and are babbling away at their dogs and luring left and right.

I saw a discussion loading up my email about the role or need of spectators at obedience trials to help draw attention to our sport.

I have no idea how that would work... :confused: I mean I'm going to a trial in a couple weeks where I'm sure the noise level is going to keep us out of the ring, unless I get there early enough for my guy to become completely acclimated and zoned out. <- Last year I went to this same trial and it took 2 hours before Jacks suddenly relaxed enough for me to practice heeling with him.

Maybe the bonus or what would be fairer would be for a Best in Show or something like that - basically create a class for rapid run offs at the end of the trial for the top 10 scorers.

Or maybe something that confident trainers and confident dogs could sign up for that would put them in a big ring where they will have everything thrown at them + directly compete with each other for a title.

Even throwing in multiple jumps and multiple go outs or more difficult (and showy) exercises to show spectators what the moon looks like if they shoot for it.

^^^ And the problem I see as far as this is I know obedience people who steer clear of some shows because of the noise or spectator traffic level. And that's mainly because while the trainers are confident about being in that situation, they aren't willing to put their dogs through that.

*** I should probably add that I was a teenager when I started training Danny. :) I'm still younger than a lot of people I train with, but that doesn't really bother me too much. This is probably bad, but coming from the horse world where there is a lot of backbiting competition from the younger people there, I really LIKE the maturity level of people I'm training with. The only downside is that sometimes those fun matches and Friday rally trials don't really make sense if you have a day job.
 

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Titan1
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Well I guess I am one of those older people in obedience and try to very helpful to new people. My dog is trained with distractions and has not problem being around noises. He was raised in a house with children coming and going.. so he is used to it all.
The only time I might or may have been short is when I am walking into the ring and even in those cases I try to explain if they will give me a few minutes until I am done I would be happy to talk.. Anyway.. I think so??...LOL!
At the NOI it was a good thing I practice that because I could have made a total fool of myself ..thank goodness I was good!
 

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Michelle, I think you are an exceptionally nice! I bet you are wonderful to new people!
 
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