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I just found out about a very basic agility class in my area, and am thinking about taking it, but I'm worried Milly is too old.

I've never taken any classes with Milly, but I do regularly work very hard on her obedience (I'm sure it is nothing compared to most dogs on this forum) and teaching her new and different things. She's very smart, and a fast learner, but I'm worried she's too old to start agility - she's 10. I would just be doing it for fun, my main priority is her happiness, and I thought this would be a nice activity for her. I wish she liked water, or I'd get into dock diving... but alas, she hates water. I know for sure with the next dog I get I will take as many classes as possible, but I want to do something with Milly now.

When I started thinking about doing the basic agility class I decided to practice some things with Milly with what was around. She's very cautious, but with positive reinforcement she really excels quickly with any training or new things. She now happily will jump over broom sticks propped up into little jumps (I keep them pretty low because of her age, but she seems very capable of doing higher/more), and two days ago I asked her to jump on a picnic table and she happily did so (I had her jump on the seat and then on the table). When I first got her she never would have done any of this stuff. I also work a lot on her recalls, and right now she is learning how to turn on the lights (this is a lot harder to train than I thought it would be but she's getting it).

So in short, is she too old? Would it be a risk to her joints/health to take this class?
 

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It sounds like agility would be fun for you both and a great way to continue building her confidence!

I'd just be especially concerned about making sure the surface is good (I only run Dusty on nice cushy grass now because he got a little sore after the last time he ran on dirt). Keep the jumps low, maybe 16" to 20" depending on how tall Milly is. And be careful she's learning how to do the obstacles safely. The A-frame would be my biggest concern - be extra careful that she's not leaping off early and hitting the ground hard. Keep it lowered, teach her to shift her weight back and go slowly all the way down, or ask to use a hoop to make sure she runs all the way to the bottom. I just stick food in front of Dusty's nose to force him to slow down, but that's not a very good long-term option.

She might have a little bit of a hard time keeping up through a whole hour-long class, especially if she doesn't do a lot of physical activity. Dusty does one run at class and then he's like okay, that was my fun for the night, now I'm going back to sleep. Make sure she's in GREAT shape, and realize that you might sometimes have to stop and let her be done before the class is over. The class will be geared toward younger dogs, and the instructor might be used to really high-drive dogs that just want to go-go-go well into their teen years. So be prepared to listen to your dog and accept when she's done running for the night.

Since you already know she's cautious, I would honestly just not teach her the teeter. Most Goldens will struggle with teeter fear, it can be pretty hard on them physically depending on how the board behaves, and I think after a certain age dogs are allowed to not do anything they don't want to do. My 10-year-old Dusty hasn't done a teeter in a long time, even though he was doing pretty well on it by the end of his main competing years, because I know he doesn't like it as much as the other obstacles and he deserves to only do what he likes :)
 

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It really depends on the dog. I have one I retired at 6 due to arthritis and another that's still going strong at nearly 8. I've seen plenty of seniors out there running and still being competitive.

I'd go and get her checked out to make she she's sound structurally and get the okay from the vet before starting. If you keep the jumps low, I don't see any reason why she can't provided she gets a clean bill of health.
 
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If it is a beginners class, the jumps and obstacles will be set low to begin with. If you are just taking a class for fun, you can always ask to keep things low. I agree that the teeter and the high A frame might be more of an issue for the older dog, but the other obstacles shouldn't be a problem if she is healthy and active. Casey LOVES agility more than anything, although we are not ready to compete yet. He thinks it is a big playground just for him. If I don't watch him, he will start to run the course on his own--can't imagine him doing that with an obedience routine (mom's thing!)
 
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