Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where are the USDAA small dogs?

I have three (rescue) dogs:

Scout is probably a Shiba/Kelpie Mix, 17" and 20.5#. She is an open dog, though one of the smallest.

Bug is a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix, 12.25" and 12.5#. He is a mini dog, jumping 16" in Championship.

Boo is a Chihuahua/Something mix, about 10" and 7#. He is in training.

Boo has been special needs since the day I brought him home. He was tranquilized for his neuter surgery, arrived dopey, and remained so for a week. He also refused to eat. And do his business outside. He's lucky that he's adorable.

I know there is the argument about the USDAA jump heights, as the little dogs would either jumpe 12"/16" Championship or 8"/12" Performance. This is part of the issue.

I had trouble with Bug popping weave poles. No one could tell me why, that is, until I came across a small dog person. "You're too close to him. He sees feet, and thinks you will step on him."

Therein lies the problem: Training the small dog in a world of BC-only instruction.
  • How many agility seminars are given by people who train something other than a border collie?
  • How many pictures in Clean Run are NOT of border collies?
  • How many articles have you read that give specific training advice to a dog that isn't a border collie/sheltie/aussie?
Technical courses with tight course times, the IHC flair, the long distance in gamblers.

Technical courses with generous course times, optional games.

Perhaps AKC appears to be a more viable option for the small dog handlers because the handler has difficulty applying large dog training into their small dog world.

This really bothers me, as I am having trouble training Boo, especially with fear of the teeter, and subsequently, the dogwalk. My class is a waste of both time and money. Oh, and the other fun thing about a small dog: other dogs want to eat them AND the other dog owner doesn't apologize.

Boo is a little fella living in a world of giants. I know he has it in him, but I need help unleashing his inner beast.


Amy said...

I have seen some places have separate agility classes for small dogs...makes sense when I read what you say!

AgilityEngineer said...

That's interesting! It just seems like most people are choosing to "conform" and getting medium and large sized dogs.

EmilyHurt said...

I have BCs, and I teach agility, and give seminars, but I have BCs now because my Jack Russell, the one who started this alive and kickin', and wants to be my only small dog, tyvm :-) I am currently training my little sister's little bully dog (~16"?) and can't wait to tear up P12" with her!!

I do have classes for small vs. big dogs but only because I find the people different, not the dogs. I separated the classes by people...then realized it was also by dog size. Funny coincidence!

(Fun fact -- my little 13.75" JRT started me on this agility journey, the one that ultimately led me to leave the world of Civil Engineering and teach people/dogs how to play agility instead)