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Is there an ideal age for progression and success in agility or obedience?

I'm starting Roland in agility in April when he'll be 21 months. I wish I'd started him as a puppy; I think he'll be fearful of the wobble board. I held off because when he started lifting his leg, he became very hard to keep focused in obedience. Plus, we had conformation and runs in fields to keep him (us) busy last spring and summer.

I've had Roland in obedience since puppy class around 3.5/4 months. He was great in puppy class, then failed miserably in beginner obedience because all he wanted to do was pay attention to the females. I started him in advanced obedience after his neuter, around 17 months, and he's been excellent. Still a goofball at times, but I think he could be competitive once he's a little more mature.

I think Roland is just getting to the point where he's a lot more likely to have success. But part of me thinks that's a cop out. He was a natural in conformation, and really that's just another kind of working.

Is there an age when a Doberman is best suited to learn? To succeed at a high level?
 

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i finished off leash training at 6.5 months old...while starting Amy's OB work at ~4.5 months.
Much inhouse (in the beginning) puppy training happened from 8-16 weeks old - through game & play exercises, that branched outside. - all geared to eye focus, bonding, confidence, desire to please, voice pitch recognition, etc.
- the early foundation was critical to easy & enjoyable training http://www.dobermantalk.com/general...ontrolled-off-leash-walking-city-streets.html

Amy didn't like Agility training years later / and I wasn't keen on the instructor either (from day1)...just did the beginner class.
 

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When I get my next puppy, be it doberman or whatever, I will be starting pretty much from the get go. You shouldn't actually work your dog in agility until it is done maturing, but you CAN start foundation and focus work, which is pretty much the most important part of training agility or obedience. I've got a whole plan laid out for when I get my puppy. I want to work her to the very best of our ability so I plan on being prepared long before she arrives.

As for starting agility now, you can still do it and be successful (well I guess it depends on your definition of success). I started agility with Riley when he was four. He's 6.5 and almost ready to compete now. He would have been sooner but we focused more on rally/OB for the last two years. I'm hoping to enter our first trial this Summer.
 

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I dont think its ever too late for anything. You will work on the wobble board/teeter. Believe me that was not Kyrah's favorite and I got her to do it with patients and practice. Because of her gait I have decided for her that she will only do jumpers w/ weaves. She didnt start agility till she was 15 months. I dont know if she will ever do much with it or not. I thought for a long time she only did it b/c I was asking her to. I was very discouraged and couldnt decide if I wanted to continue or not. We just took quite a few months off and the few times I have asked her to do it lately she seems to really enjoy it. Which makes me very happy! :)

I am not sure if there is a higher level of learning at a certain age. Kyrah seems just as willing as before to learn whatever I want to teach.
 

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Good questions. You can never start to early. Lots of baby work and foundation work. Short short sessions with a lot of play in between.


Your boy is 21 months and you can do it.

Homework at home.
(Food is generally used for teaching a new behavior or a toy)

Sessions are short 1-2 minutes, ask for a learned behavior, break and interactive play (tug toy) no throwing a ball or?. You are the party.
Do another 1-2 minute session, play again. Do this routine several times a day if possible. If you are not breaking a sweat with your play, with a doberman, you are not working hard enough. Sounds weird but it is true.
Classes should have a lot play as well. When you are not doing something in class Roland should be in a crate. He only comes out when he is to do something with you.

You have a boy and their brains are just not there until about 3 years old. However this is the time you train, play, work in different places so he learns to focus on you. You want him to think the party can happen anytime. You are the FUN--more than anything else out there.

I think the dobermans are at the top of their game around 4 or 5 depending how much you have worked with them. Tamora is my 5 year old girl going on 6 (hard to believe) and she is just about perfect and still improving. I train any new agility moves I am learning on her.:)
 

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I think the dobermans are at the top of their game around 4 or 5 depending how much you have worked with them. Tamora is my 5 year old girl going on 6 (hard to believe) and she is just about perfect and still improving. I train any new agility moves I am learning on her.:)
Interesting this would come up right now. Flirt will be 5 next month. I started her around 8 months but for the first year it was more of a mental escape for me as I had a Vizsla at home with cancer. We didn't do most of our homework, just got out and had fun. But the last 6-9 months she has really TURNED ON and I have figured OUT finally how to run her better.
 

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Interesting this would come up right now. Flirt will be 5 next month. I started her around 8 months but for the first year it was more of a mental escape for me as I had a Vizsla at home with cancer. We didn't do most of our homework, just got out and had fun. But the last 6-9 months she has really TURNED ON and I have figured OUT finally how to run her better.
It is amazing, but when I check around that seems to be the age. Enjoy it, it is the best feeling to go in the ring with a very reliable partner.:)

Cancer sucks. Affects the caretaker as well.
 

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Vader's brain is clicking too. He just turned 4 and will start competing in march (DOCNA jumpers). He had a run of crazy stuff last year. We are back on track. We've almost got our weaves so hopefully we can start akc too. Now to master the contacts! Our AF is fantastic. Still working on the dw (he fell this past fall and we've been working on confidence) and his ongoing love/hate relationship to the teeter (long story but involves a really bad storm and the teeter banging at the same time) but we are making progress. We also have been working hard on our rally exercises. He lights up when we do jumping exercises and loves weave pole class. It is amazing to watch them. I used to watch the weave pole class when V was young and in foundation classes and wonder if he'd ever be that good. Now we are the ones the foundation class watches :). Plus we are having so much fun. Now off to class!
 

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I don't think there is an ideal age for training anything--or maybe I should say that for each dog there's an age that may be better for them.

My first agility dog was over six when I started training him for agility. By that time he was an AKC and CanKC champion and I'd started training him for tracking when he was 10 weeks. He was trained for Novice Obedience as all my dogs are but I often didn't ever put titles on them. A friend was going to run him in agility when he was ready and she kept bugging me about getting his CD--finally she agreed to show him Obedience as well--the conformation ring never bothered me but the Obedience ring scared the pants off of me and I had to remember to breath. She LIKED showing in Obedience.

This worked out as a great partnership--I trained him--she worked with him to fine tune him so he'd work for her too and about that time Rally became a titling class in AKC--he got his CD, as well as his RN and RA and some NADAC agility titles and was doing very well in AKC agility when he started having disc problems and we retired him--at 9.

He was perhaps the best of my agility dogs because he really wanted to work as a team--and even though the dog walk scared the pants off of him and so did the teeter he learned them and even though he wasn't terribly fast he was the most consistent of the dogs that my friend and I trained and showed in the various companion venues.

My other dogs have had a lot of basic agility foundation work--contacts on a board on the floor, left and right differentiation, direction etc until they were over 18 months and then they started on the contact obsticals and on actual jumps.

Training puppies from 8 weeks to 5 or 6 months is very gratifying--they are like sponges and soak up information so fast--IF you are really top of the line trainer (and I'm not) you can continue on through maintaining attention and willingness to work through adolescence and young adulthood.

There are things you should not be doing with young puppies--certainly not until growth plates close and they include jumping, contacts, teeters, dog walks, a-frames and weaves but beyond that a good many of the really skilled trainers particularly the obedience folk train all the way to Utility without actually training over jumps in the Open and Utility and go from Novice to Utility degrees in under a year when they actually start trialing the dog.

And I know people who didn't train their dog until it got too old to hunt (a friend with a lab that was nearly 10 before he saw his first Obedience ring).

It's definitely not necessary to do all of the training young.
 

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I started with Dart when he was very young. We started OB training around 8 weeks, and agility around 9-10 weeks. By the time he was 5 months he could run a novice course with barely any mistakes! (don't worry, he was only doing 4" jumps) We took a break for a few months, and I need to get back into it. But since he was imprinted with it I'm sure he'll pick up just where he left off! =) Good luck!
 

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I started with Dart when he was very young. We started OB training around 8 weeks, and agility around 9-10 weeks. By the time he was 5 months he could run a novice course with barely any mistakes! (don't worry, he was only doing 4" jumps) We took a break for a few months, and I need to get back into it. But since he was imprinted with it I'm sure he'll pick up just where he left off! =) Good luck!
BLESS YOU - never to early, to start / and if one does MUCH young training & puts in the effort, the dobe learning...is set for its life.
 
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