Saturday, November 6, 2010

Musings on Venues

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but yesterday I took some time to look around at the different venues to start thinking about which ones Jonah would compete in.  Of course, this is all subject to change based on what our teachers have to say, and it's still pretty far off, but I would like to go watch one this year and I thought it would be best to watch something I'll actually compete in.

First off, Jonah can't compete in AKC as he's a mixed breed, so even though that's the most popular in this area, it won't work for us.

The trainers at Four Paws do AKC, USDAA and NADAC.

In our area, we have CPE, NADAC and USDAA trials. 

As for CPE, it seems like it is a good place to start, and you can pick which games you want to do based on your dog's skills.  There are a lot of CPE events in our area, but it would be nice to do something that our teachers know and do, too.  I also don't know how much I'm excited by the games.  I'm sure they'd be fun, but I'm thinking I might be more interested in more 'traditional' agility.

NADAC sounds like a great place for us to begin, but there aren't quite as many competitions around us.  Having watched some youtube videos (I know, scientific, right), I'm pretty sure he could be successful right away.  The courses are pretty simple, and having time to run in between obstacles is, in my opinion, nice.  As an athletic person, I want to be getting exercise while I'm handling.  The distance work is not something we've done much of yet, so it's hard for me to judge how that would go.  My worry with NADAC is that, as we progress up the levels, the time could get tight for him and he'd be competing against a lot of faster border collies.  I don't want to set him up in a program where he won't be able to succeed, so I'm concerned that he would get 'stuck' in NADAC where he can't really progress.

Then there's USDAA, which both of the advanced instructors do at Four Paws.  There are 12 weave poles at the introductory USDAA level, but I think weave poles are actually one of Jonah's strong points, so that's not necessarily bad.  It seems like USDAA might be a good fit for Jonah because the times are a little looser.  He might have to jump higher, but my guess is that USDAA might be the best fit for him.  It sounds like the atmosphere can be a little more competitive, and I'm not sure what I think of that, but I think we'll give USDAA a shot.

So...I think my current plan as of today would be to start Jonah in NADAC to get some comfortable experience in a relaxed atmosphere where he can succeed.  Then we'll add USDAA into the mix and see where things go from there.  Of course, we'll also be working closely with our instructors and getting their feedback, which I value greatly.  I can't wait!

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