Dog Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a little group of friends that I met through agility, and we get together outside of the academy to train other sports together. We train rally and tracking together, and some of us do one or two other things outside of the academy and our training group (such as conformation and scent detection).

I messaged them the other day asking if they'd be interested in car pooling to a barn hunt trial not too far away (only 3 hours). Both of my friends were concerned that barn hunt may present some cross training issues, or would be one too many dog sports for their dog to handle.

I have heard some people complain that their barn hunt dogs who are super driven to find rats have a harder time not reverting to that behaviour at other trials, because crittering is such a self rewarding behaviour. Does anyone here have experience competing in other dog sports along with barn hunt?

And how many dog sports is too many? I think it depends on the dog and the amount of time you train each one, and how proficient you expect to be in each. (And finances, etc.) Nevy trains in scent detection, rally, agility, and trick training (I included trick training because you can earn titles for it and I'm not 100% sure yet if I'd like to make a routine out of all the tricks). Echo trains in agility, tracking, rally, and scent detection. Abby trains in agility (puppy foundation stuff), rally, tracking, trick training, and scent detection. I would love to try barn hunt and lure coursing with all three!

I don't expect to be an expert in all sports though. I dedicate the most time to agility and the scent sports. The others are fun and I'm probably only going to go to one or two rally trials a year.

Just wish someone would of told me how addicting dog sports are! ;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,613 Posts
Levi and Heidi both train in Rally, Obedience, Agility, tricks, and they are learning herding cues, even though we have no sheep!

I love the versatility of it. In agility we get extreme arousal, but with control. In obedience and rally we get intense focus. Tricks are pure joy and confidence building, and herding we get focus and listening at long distances (even though they currently are doing away/come-by with a tree, or a shed..:p )

Personally, I think training in a multitude of sports is a good thing. It keeps things fun and interesting for my dogs and for me. The only sport I'm not really interested in is Flyball and that strange new Dog Parkour thing that's going around. Agility and Obedience are my main focus, so my dogs are naturally a little better at those because I devote the most time to them.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,240 Posts
I wish I had more time I would train more. We focus mainly on agility because I really don't have time for more. I have also done herding with Forbes before.

I have heard that some sports like barn hunt (and lure coursing) are not the best to mix with sports like agility. I imagine the last thing you want in agility is a dog that is use to keeping his nose to the ground looking for something. That is a nightmare. Haven't heard the same thing said about scent tracking though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
There is no cut and dried answer. It depends on the handler and the dog. I know a lot of teams are "Jack of all trades, Master of none." There is NOTHING wrong with this. Some people like to dabble in all sorts of different sports, and their dogs enjoy the different sports too. I have one dog that would be happy doing almost anything I wanted him to do.

Then there are handlers and dogs who don't enjoy dipping their toe into the waters of lots of sports. They get drawn to one sport, and they want to dive deeply into that one sport. I am that person. Agility is so fast, furious and on the edge (if your dog is super fast) and so DEEP that it keeps me endlessly mentally challenged both from a handling and training perspective. With two of my dogs, I dabbled in other sports - Rally, obedience, etc., earning AKC's highest Rally titles on two dogs and earning multiple High-in-Trials in obedience on one. I don't find Rally or obedience to be very exciting. They are OK, but not something I care to pursue too much. I have also done some nosework type stuff, but I find it not challenging enough to hold my interest. For me, I want adrenaline, and agility provides that. I also love that agility (at it's top levels) requires SO MUCH training. Just running with your dog by your side through an agility course would be super dull to me because it doesn't require much training, BUT training my dog to run at top speeds on his own with direction from distance is a thrill for me. Too much fun and so hard to handle dogs like that on today's tough challenges (push backs, threadles, reverse threadles, lap turns, German turns...you all know.) :)

Does cross training sports cause problems? Well, yes. BUT it also depends on what you consider "problems." If your dream is to dabble in all sorts of sports, then you don't really care if your dog has lost .2 yards per second in agility because of its work in obedience and Rally. You don't really care if your dog is running with you without some of the higher level, faster skills in agility. You don't care if your dog runs off to sniff for rats on occasion in horse arena trial settings because you know why. The reason is because you aren't trying to be super competitive in all those sports. You are just trying to play in many different sports.

If, however, your goal IS to get really good in one of the sports, then you probably need to think it though. For me, I will cross train Rally with my agility dogs KNOWING I will probably lose some time off of their runs. Is this an issue? I look at the individual dog and decide. Is the dog competitive to begin with (ie a potential finalist at Nationals say)? Yes? Then I probably won't choose to do Rally with that dog. Does the dog like Rally? No? The obviously we won't do Rally.

For the first eight years I was into agility, I SWORE that cross training obedience or Rally wouldn't hurt the dog in agility. I did it myself. I remember hearing a famous trainer berating someone for cross training in obedience because it would affect agility, and I thought, "She is an idiot who doesn't know what she's talking about."

Eight years later, I changed my mind. Why? Because all of the dogs involved in Rally or obedience that I watched over that eight year span lost time after a few years of cross training. It was subtle. My boys lost about .2 yards per second. They also had a slight loss in their ability to work distance in agility. A big deal? No. A second or two off of their runs. A big deal if you want to be a Master of the sport? Yes.

Do remember that while YOU may have all the time in the world to train, doing more training and more sports also puts more stress on your dog. I have one dog that I cut back his activities because I noticed I had put too much on his plate. Even though we had time to train it all, he was stressing. I decided he needs just agility as that's his least stressful, most loved activity.

Your friends are starting to see the problems with cross training. They are seeing it in their own dogs and in the dogs of others who cross train. It is causing them (and you as well) to rethink your training plans. There is nothing wrong with choosing to be a Master or Jack. Both will appeal to different types of people. What I find cool about dog sports is that all different personality types of handlers and dogs can find something that appeals to them. But do know which you want to be, and know what issues cross training can cause.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Very good point about the "Jack of all trades". I think that is more my style. I'm fascinated with the training methods and behaviours required for different sports, and to be completely honest I would be more than happy with just doing well at local trials. I think I'm more of a "title chaser" than anything. Not looking to make it to Crufts or Nationals. Just would like some titles and to have some fun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,173 Posts
I much prefer doing Agility with my dogs but at my age, it is hard to say how long I can keep doing it so I branched out into Obedience with Kris but neither she nor I really like doing it so we tried Rally and may pursue this a little farther. I am looking forward to our first Agility trial May 20th with Kris (my Dobe) and Lucy, my newest Shih Tzu x Maltese.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top