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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 10 month old, Winston, has been doing agility since he was 5 months. I've never had a dog before or run agility, so our instructor suggested we go to some competitions so we could both get used to the environment.

Now Winston is a Newfoundland/poodle mix. He's very energetic and LOVES agility, but he's certainly not the fastest or most agile breed. I mainly want to compete with him for the challenge of it, because we both enjoy the sport, and I'm hoping we can meet other people and dogs from whom we can learn more! Realistically, though, I don't expect us to make the world team or anything!

That being said we went to our first competition last week. By my standards, I thought Winston was very well behaved. He heeled MOST of the time, sat when he was asked, and did not get in any dog's or people's space. He was noticeably overwhelmed/scared at first, but warmed up quickly. There were a few times when it became too much and he lunged at another dog (to play), so I took him out of the arena, walked him on the grass, and did a bit of training until he could refocus.

Everyone we met was very nice and courteous BUT a well meaning woman (I believe the trial secretary) did approach us and said that we could not stand near the door because there were too many dogs coming and going. She said she respects my intentions to train him, but my dog had to be focused on me (looking at me) while we were in the arena because the herding dogs may try to bite him otherwise.

Is this true? I felt bad, worrying that we might have thrown some dogs off their game. I didn't mean to get in anyone's way; I just realized I don't really know the expectations at these shows. Can someone please explain what etiquette is expected at an agility trial? I think it's important we go to more before he's ready to compete, but I don't want to irritate people, mess them up, make enemies, etc.

If dogs really are expected not to look at each other, how do you manage this? It seems like in an unfamiliar environment it's nearly impossible to get your dog not to look at anything but you.
 

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I don't know the answer but surely it's down to the owners of the collies to stop them from nipping at other dogs?

And - you probably know this but some exercises are not suitable for youngsters who haven't reached skeletal maturity.

I know a couple of people who do agility, if you like I will ask them (they are UK based but I don't suppose it's different. A ”watch me” is a useful thing to train anyway but I agree, hard when there is a lot going on.
 

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Yes, that's why he's not competing yet. He can't do many obstacles "properly" because he's too young. A.k.a very low jumps, no teeter yet, no sharp turns.

I would love to hear from people who do this sport. I just want to make sure we're following the expectations.
 

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My UK agility friend got back to me. In a nutshell, the relatively narrow entrances could be potential flashpoints for amped up dogs so her suggestion is to attend some outdoor events where everyone has more space.
 

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My UK agility friend got back to me. In a nutshell, the relatively narrow entrances could be potential flashpoints for amped up dogs so her suggestion is to attend some outdoor events where everyone has more space.
That is a great idea. Sadly in the rainy PNW we won't have any of those until April or May. I suppose that's alright, though, since he's still young and we can wait a few months.
 
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