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What are your thoughts on young dogs and competing? Does it put too much pressure on the dog? Does it depend on the training? The dog? Is it better just to let them be puppies and worry about it when they get older?
 
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I think that you need to make this decision based on the individual dog and also the handler. Some dogs definitely are not ready to compete until they are older. They may need to "hang out" at trials as "exhibition only" dogs for a bit. I have seen dogs less than a year compete very competently for their CD (Casey would NOT have been able to that young!).
 

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Depends, depends, depends.
With Fisher I entered things when I thought we were ready. I wanted that immediate payoff for our training. He had CDX, TD, JH and some rally stuff before he was two, also shown in the breed ring.
However with Slater my philosophy is a little different -- I want to train through Utility and Senior before entering Novice, and will probably skip Junior. If you have a Utility dog now, how easy would it be to go into Novice and totally be awesome!?
Then again, there is something to be said for experience in the ring. GREAT if it's happy experience, not good if it's a stressful or unsuccessful thing.
 

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"It depends!" on the team.

With my first dog we were showing in junior showmanship and he was just 6 months old! At 18 months we were also in youth obedience and at 20 months in juniors agility.

My young boy is 19 months and we're not ready to enter anytime soon... but I have higher standards, he's a different dog, and we're doing way different things. My criteria need to be met, like said by others... I want to be super prepared and have higher level skills before we start in novice. Not to mention his siblings are already competing in just about everything and doing well, and making me all the more nervous about our first time out!

Part of our criteria for obed is to be able to do each exercise 10 times in a row without any weak points (horrah for having Morton and Cecilie for inspiration...). I've not attempted it since last fall... we're close, but not there. And we need to complete way more obstacle training for agility.
 

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I'm for waiting until a dog has matured, especially in obedience. I don't plan to show Flip until he's at least three, although I may put him in non-regulars at two.

Celeste Meade has said she believe dogs that are shown young tend to burn out sooner.

It depends on what your goals are, but I believe that for most dogs they will be more successful if you wait to show them. Then again, I look at Helen Smith and Pounce, who had his OTCH before two and placed at Invitationals at 4. But I think they are the exception, not the rule. (She's got a new pup, Pounce's nephew, and I've heard he's quite a handful. It will be interesting to see if she shows him so young too).
 

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Part of our criteria for obed is to be able to do each exercise 10 times in a row without any weak points (horrah for having Morton and Cecilie for inspiration...). I've not attempted it since last fall... we're close, but not there. And we need to complete way more obstacle training for agility.
I love Morton and Cecilie! I got to work my Quiz with them a couple years ago at a Clicker Expo. Really awesome trainers!
 

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I love Morton and Cecilie! I got to work my Quiz with them a couple years ago at a Clicker Expo. Really awesome trainers!
They're the reason I have Griff.. I saw them at expo, said "I NEED an obedience dog!" three months later found a breeder, five months after expo I was home with my puppy. I'm devastated they aren't back this year and that their book is not yet available here. They're sure something. I'd guess that if I was able to take lessons with someone like that regularly, we'd be trialing by now!

My understanding is that Morton says he's usually trialing after about a year?
 

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I had Layla doing obedience/rally matches at 5 months, her first cd/rn legs at 7 months (cd score:194/rn score: 89- handler error...), 2nd at 10 months (cd score:196/rn score: 99), & titles at 13 months (cd score: 197/rn score 100). she has never NQ'ed. she is a nut at practice, but perfect in the ring.

it just depends on the dog. poor Blush will never even show rally, she's too dumb to make it into the building. oh well, we love her & she is eternally happy.

try some matches first, they are a great training tool!
 

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I wished I would have waited another year to show Conner. He did great - CD scores were 198, 199, and 198 1/2. But I could still see the immaturity in him. I think most dogs can be trained to earn a CD with good scores at under a year old, but I also think it can have long term negative effects that can be difficult to overcome if you have high goals for the future.
 

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I think it totally depends on the handler and the dog. Some dogs are truly ready to hit the ring at 6 or 7 months old. Others not until they're 3.
But I don't think you need to worry about stress or pressure on the dog. If you're making training and showing fun, and from your fun match video, you're doing fine, then that's really not an issue.
Take a look at Hank's video of Oriana at 21 months in the utility ring, if you haven't already seen it. She's not at all stressed, LOLOL!
 

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I tend to wait until my dogs are a bit older - at least over 2 for obedience, although I will show in Rally earlier. Towhee and Faelan are both around 2 and have not yet entered a traditional obedience ring; granted Faelan is being held out right now due to a problem which developed on the stand but I had not intended to show him until he was 27 months old anyway.

I started Casey showing in Agility and Obedience at 2 with low height training starting at 6 months and now feel this was way too young. I should have allowed him more time to mature and spent the time teaching him impulse control and stress relief. Rowdy started agility at an older age and never did 'burn out', although he never was able to earn his CDX (dumbbell).

My King was 3 when he went for his CD(3 straight legs), 4 when he showed for his CDX (3 straight legs) and 6 when he showed for his UD (4 legs) although he did spent considerable time between 4 and 6 showing in Open B to get his scores up to a consistent 197.5 - 198.5 range. This was also back in the days when you trained for the class you would be showing in and did not consider the Novice class to be beginning Utility LOL

It does depend on the dog and handler as well as what scores you'd like to have with that particular dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I do worry about training burn-out. I was talking to a breeder who had a puppy owner that placed a CD on a young dog and had him trained through Open only to have the dog go through a crazy, puppy, zoomy stage and have to go back and re-train him.

I don't know, maybe it is because nobody expects much from puppies in this area. I was definitely upset yesterday to see someone with their 8-month rottie puppy give him a harsh correction for not coming--not only was he a puppy, but I have never seen that dog show that he really understands what come means. And I do think that kind of pressure is unfair and too much for a young dog....
 

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I think it depends on your goals and how you train.

If you want to consistently be in the 195+ range, I think you need to train and let the dog mature a bit. I didn't bring Quiz out in Novice until he was four. When I thought he was close to ready, we did a Rally run to see what he was like in a ring setting.

If you just want to qualify - or Q somewhere in the 80s, then I think you can get away with showing a younger dog.

At the other end of the spectrum, I also think you can over-train a dog. The ladies in the local "199.5 Club" have consistently high scores, but pretty flat-working dogs. They're precise, but not a lot of flash. I always wonder if it's because they train for several hours each day?

Regardless, if you make training stressful, you'll eventually burn the dog out. The dog should love the game no matter what, and it's our job to make it a lovable game.
 
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