My 13 year old son and his Golden retriever Sam did their first agility class yesterday.
Wow! Sam was thrilled to jump, and go through hoops, and into those tunnel thingies.
There were only 3 dogs in class,and Sam was so into it. The trainer Missy, told my son that Sam could be titled in less then a year. She believes as we do,that Sam loves this new "job", but I'm a bit worried that it's so expensive.
Can anyone please share what to expect with a kid taking these classes with adults?
Am I going to go broke?
A more sensitive question is my son has a weight problem,will this adversely affect his dogs
agility scores? (Don't tell him to diet, he's trying) thanks!
Oh by the way,That PW owes my kid a 100.00
Sam has never in any way been abused. He housetrained by way of praise only, and has never been anything except a good boy.(the dog) ok, the kid too!
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She believes as we do,that Sam loves this new "job", but I'm a bit worried that it's so expensive. Can anyone please share what to expect with a kid taking these classeswith adults?

My agility club charges, IIRC, $65 a month for our ongoing agility classes- that's for one one-hour class per week. Those of us who help run the trials (which is most of us) pay $50 for the first dog, slightly less for any additional dogs. (I pay $96/mo for two dogs.) I'm not sure what the current fee for a beginner's class is, but four years ago it was $90 for a ten-week session.
A more sensitive question is my son has a weight problem,will this adversely affect his dogs agility scores?

There's no question that being fit helps. Whether or not his weight seriously affects the dog's performance will depend on the handling style his dog needs- IOW if the dog needs a handler who can move fast, and his weight slows him down, it could be an issue.
Having said that- there are PLENTY of overweight handlers out there who do just fine. There are also people with other physical issues that slow them down, such as my agility clubmate who recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary. Noel runs fast Shelties, and isn't much of a sprinter anymore, so he works at having his dogs responsive at a distance.

Sarah
Brenin, CGC, AD, O-EAC-V, O-EJC-V, EGC
Gwydion, Handy Cat
Morag Thistledown, Novice and Open Triple Superiors, EAC, O-EJC Robyn Meezer, Inspector of Human Activity
Rocsi Cadarn, S-NJC, O-NAC, O-NGC, O-OAC NGTG, OGTG
Thanks! I'm paying 50.00 for 4 weeks of classes, but its not that bad, not really. and it makes both of em so happy. Priceless.I guess I was a bit concerned when I realized it would be costing us 50-75.00 a month, but then again..It'll help him with the weight, and he can meet the right kind of kids. kids like him who really love and respect their pets. I am so fed up with neighborhood kids and their parents buying nice dogs, only to forget about them in the back yard.And then when they get mean, or become neurotic barkers it's off to the pound. And sometimes they bring another puppy home at the same time. sigh
.Sam sleeps on Johns bed, he eats when we eat,and he goes everywhere we can possibly take him.He's such a great dog.I honestly believe he's made my son into a better person.
thanks for listening.
Debra
Can anyone please share what to expect with a kid taking these classes with adults?

I love it when kids are in our beginners classes! They show the adults how to behave with dogs. Kids praise and play more and, more importantly, are more interesting to their dogs than grown- up handlers.
Am I going to go broke?

Yes, eventually. Agility is an excellent alternative to other activities for your son, though, like hockey, and you'll go broke slower.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
My 13 year old son and his Golden retriever Sam did their first agility class yesterday. Wow! Sam was thrilled ... Sam was so into it. The trainer Missy, told my son that Sam could be titled in less then ayear.

Why do you think this is important?
FWIW, while it is certainly possible for a dog and handler team to have quick success and go from first training class to first title in a short period of time, it is not really a good idea to set up ones goals with rigid timelines, especially when the handler is a junior - too much pressure on young handlers can make them resent the sport. Far better to proceed slowly, letting the dog and handler both learn at their own pace, with "success" being found in small increments as they learn to work together as a team. Titles and ribbons are fun but should not be the focus of the handler (or handler's parents!) because nothing drains the fun out of a sport like this as much as setting yourself up for failure.
She believes as we do,that Sam loves this new "job", but I'm a bit worried that it's so expensive. Can anyone please share what to expect with a kid taking these classeswith adults? Am I going to go broke?[/nq]Not really possible to give an "estimate" but be aware that costs are ongoing, and it isn't a cheap sport. Training classes continue pretty much throughout the "career" of the team, and aren't the only costs - trials cost anywhere from $8 to $20 a run, 4 to 12 runs average per weekend, so you're looking at $60-100 for a weekend, depending on what venue and how many runs you enter. Some venues offer junior classes and some even a junior discount, though, and many trials offer discounted entries or vouchers for future entries if you work at the trial.

You'll also end up spending money on equipment for home use, though if you're handy you can build quite a lot and keep costs down, and gear for trials (shade tents and cloth, chairs, crate or ex-pen, cooler, tarp etc.) will add up though once it is bought you don't have to spend that money again for a while.
So, yes, you might go broke, but it is worth it if your son and dog are really getting the benefit of it.
A more sensitive question is my son has a weight problem,will this adversely affect his dogs agility scores?

See the first part of my response regarding focus. Scores and ribbons and such aren't true measures of success. Many of the best agility runs I've had, and many more that I've witnessed, were runs that were not ultimately "qualifying" (did not count towards a title.)
As for weight, there are handlers of all shapes and sizes. There is no reason he can't succeed even if he isn't a fast handler, but agility may give him motivation to lose weight and be more active so he can keep up with his dog!
(Don't tell him to diet, he's trying)
thanks! Oh by the way,That PW owes my kid a 100.00 Sam has never in any way been abused. He housetrained by way of praiseonly, and has never been anything except a good boy.(the dog) ok, the kid too!

Ignore, ignore, ignore. Emotion: smile
Christy
Having said that- there are PLENTY of overweight handlers out there whodo just fine. There are also people with other ... runs fast Shelties, and isn't much of a sprinteranymore, so he works at having his dogs responsive at a distance.

There is a woman who I see at many agility trials around here who we have all agreed is an inspiration to the rest of us. She walks the course with a crutch. When she runs the course with her dog, she goes without the crutch. She walks in a 45 degree bent position, quite often with one hand on a thigh. She runs a very excited bearded collie who does a lot of spinning. In spite of that, she is in Open at AKC.
When I walk the course and my ankle feels a little stiff or my knees a little sore I feel like a wimp. I suspect that doing agility is what really keeps her going. Most people in her position would be sitting on the sidelines or at home. Instead, she's out there doing it.

I also watched a VERY overweight woman at a NADAC trial running Elite with a dog who was so well trained to work at a distance that the woman had no trouble keeping up. She basically stood in the center of the ring, moving only slightly more than the judge, and the dog completed the course!

The OP's son should concentrate first on having fun with his dog. This will keep them both active - which is a Very Good Thing for all of us. If he doesn't keep up with the dog, that's okay. It gives him incentive to get in shape to get better at that. If he never keeps up with his dog, well that probably describes a high percentage of the people I see doing - and enjoying - agility. The dog doesn't know that he "coulda been a contenda". He just knows he's having fun. (Sarah, I'm pretty sure you agree with this but I wanted to make the point clear to the OP.)
~~Judy
My 13 year old son and his Golden retriever Sam did their first agility class yesterday.snip Sam has never in any way been abused. He housetrained by way of praiseonly, and has never been anything except a good boy.(the dog) ok, the kid too!

Hi Mel!
I think we have the same son. (Mine's 18 now, still struggling with the weight but functioning well socially, in school and at work.)

I think you're doing a great thing for your son and his dog by investing in agility classes for them.
But I agree with Christy: don't buy in to the trainer's ambitions for your son and his dog. Encourage your son to make his own choice about whether he is in it for fun or glory. And let him know that he can always change his mind!
A sailing hobby was ruined for our son by
competetive leaders: He and most of the other kids loved being able to sail their own dinghies. But the leaders of the sailing class were young adults who competed in the sport at a fairly high level. They were always urging the kids to go for
more and more speed. Many of the kids including ours were frightened by the way the little sailboats tilt when you pick up speed. So they quit the classes...
Sounds like you've got a nice dog
and your kid has a great mom.
Laura in Oslo
Ok, maybe it's not important,but gee, can't I brag? This is the first thing that my son has really went bonkers for .It shows us that it's not just Us, but that Sam is a great dog(but everyone who meets him sees that) and that, John is a great kid and that there truly is more to life then video games. I'm just so proud I could pop.And the cost? As an after thought, I don't care. It makes him happy.It will give him a lifetime of selfworth.And when you have a 90# dog, it's always a good idea to have him well trained. Oh, and whoever it was that called my kid great? and me a good mom? thanks... I needed that this morning.
Thanks! I'm paying 50.00 for 4 weeks of classes, but its not that bad, not really. and it makes both ... weight, and he can meet the right kind of kids. kids like him who really love and respect their pets.

We pay $14 a class, 10 week sessions (so 140$ every 10 weeks). So your price sounds good. It sounds like agility will be really good for your son and his dog. Remember to encourage him to have fun, that's what its all about. And not to get discouraged. It took me 2 years of trialing before my dog stopped running out of the ring at trials.
Beware though, agility is addictive! Emotion: smile
Mary
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