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Super mom! ;)
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I am blessed to have Duke, he is the easiest dog to train! It's seriously like cheating! We have been through a puppy kindergarten class, and a basic obedience class at our local trainer and he was embarassingly good. His attention on me is out of this world. He is always ready to 'work'. We decided not to take another round of classes right now for several reasons (my son began kindergarten, an overlap in schedules, not being emotionally mature for advanced obedience, not being physically mature for agility, etc.)

The "problem" I am having is that I want to continue working with him, but don't know what to do. I have committed to getting him titled in something, though it's up to us what exactly we do with it. I don't know what I don't know so I don't know what questions to ask. I have trained about a dozen dogs in basic commands (sit, come, down, stay, go to bed, etc.), but I don't have any experience in the competitive aspects of training. What do I do? I have attended a local show and saw a novice obedience, which was really interesting and fun. Unfortunately, I live in the middle of nowhere so don't have a lot of access to shows without a 2-3 hour drive minimum.

Is there anything online that gives me good information? Any books? I've been reading posts here, kind of lurking, for a while, and still can't figure out exactly what some of the commands mean and which applies to rally vs. obedience vs. field. I'm confused but eager to continue to build a relationship with him.

I'm also interested in agility, but don't know if I want to go competitive with it. I was able to pick up some super cheap poles and tunnels, but haven't done more than let him play in the tunnels. I'm so afraid of doing something wrong.

Any guidance? Where do I begin?
 

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Kate
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If you find a good training place that will work you through the ranks... it kinda helps sort out which direction you go.

I do think that you can start with a good obedience class where they might do a combination of regular obedience and rally. Or just go with rally.

The attration for rally - at least that I hear - is for the first level your dog is on leash and you can talk to him throughout.

A lot of people that I know of have gone to the obedience classes through the novice level, and they've either done rally in addition to the novice classes, or they've gone after rally to get that title as well as the show experience with their dogs before going back and doing novice obedience.

One important thing though - if you are a beginner trainer or somebody who hasn't done this in a few years, it is best to find a good facility to train at or buddy up with somebody who is actively showing and training their dog. You want somebody to pick up on any tiny mistakes or help you solve any problems that emerge. A good example is I learned a couple weeks ago that I was stepping 10 feet away from my dog when I should only be 6 feet away on the stand stay. The extra feet would have cost us points in the show ring. I had no idea before the instructor pointed this out and showed me how to count my steps so I was an appropriate distance away.

The other thing is you want to take your dog somewhere where he will get used to training around other dogs. A big part of attending obedience classes is keeping up with the dog's socialization and ensuring he doesn't embarrass you when you get into the show ring. <- This means anything from the dog panicking from the level of noise and distrations surrounding a show ring to the dog getting up from a sit/down stay to try to play with (or gosh forbid, mount) the other dogs.
 

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You said you don't have access to a lot of shows, but do you have access to training nearby?
I would strongly recommend you train with other people/other dogs, because it's a whole different thing than training by yourself.
As far as rally vs. regular obedience, it really depends on the dog. If your dog is pretty hard to distract, you can go with regular obedience. If he's a bit more of the type that likes to look around when in a busy place, you might want to start with rally. It's a matter of choice. Also be aware of the proposed changes in the rally rules which are going to make it a lot more like regular obedience (no talking to your dog has been proposed).
Honestly, if you don't have access to a lot of shows I'd probably skip rally and do regular obedience.
As far as the shows, you only need 3 for a title. A lot of show weekends host 3 shows in the weekend, so if your dog does a good job you don't need to go to very many shows (we got each of 4 different obedience titles in 3 shows per title). It would just be a once in a while type of thing.
Have fun with it! It's a great way to bond with your dog!
 

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also....why would you say he's not emotionally mature enough for advanced obedience??
A lot of dogs who do competitive obedience are already trained/training through the highest level (utility) by 6 months old.
Just curious....
 

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I HIGHLY recommend the book _Agility Right from the Start_. The first 3/4 is dedicated towards foundation training that you do not need much, if any, "real equipment" for, it uses lots of things you have at home. This would be a good foundation for agility, but also for obed/rally as well. If your time is really tight and you aren't able to get into class right now...get the book and work through the exercises. This will allow you to progress MUCH faster when you are able to get into class.
 

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I would continue taking regular obedience classes. Obedience is the foundation of everything. If through your training you find you'd rather just compete in rally it will be much easier for you to switch from obedience to rally than do the opposite and try to switch your focus from rally to obedience.

If you can afford/have time to also take an intro to agility class, it would be a good way to see how you like it and if you'd be interested in going farther with it.
 

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Oh good for you for wanting to do more with your dog! Don't stop obedience now. This is the most optimal time for training. I would try to locate a local obedience training or agility club where someone can mentor you. That is how I started out in obedience. It is a fun way to spend time with your dog.
 
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