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How to choose a Sport
  • I am looking into getting Aiden into some type of sport but I just don't know how to choose. I want to start now while he is still "Super Puppy Learning Sponge"

    I tried with my 1st shiba Sasha, she listens to her commands very well even comes when called while a trail walk/hike (w/o leash) but at home its like I am speaking jibberish when I call her to me -.- The thing with her is she prefers to just sit and catch a ball or watch other dogs play. She just isn't interested in anything.

    Aiden listens really well for a 10 week old puppy. He already knows sit, stay, wait, come, potty, leave it, drop it, and follow me w/ out the leash. He starts basic puppy/ socialization classes soon. I just like to give him a head start (he is very proud of himself)

    Can someone help me out in choosing a sport he might enjoy?
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    I understand your desire to get a head start and make the most of the early puppy sponge time, and it's awesome you are interested in doing sports with your Shibas.

    Your pup is way too young to do sports, both physically and mentally. At this point, find a good training center with a Puppy Performance Class or a center that is geared towards (positively) training dogs for performance sports. You will build strong foundation skills that way, and it will give you a better idea about your pups strengths and skills.

    I strongly believe in not making a Shiba do a sport because the human likes to win. Give everything a try (it won't hurt!) New experiences are learning opportunities and helps make us well rounded breed people. If the dog likes it, then do it. If you want to get really competitive, that's great too, just make sure your dog enjoys it and when they tell you they are done, listen to them.

    I do think it's important to evaluate the reasons why you want to do sports. For some it is simply an enjoyable way to spend time with their dogs, or a way to keep a busy dog occupied. Breeders may want performance sport titles to increase their dogs' "value" or merit, and some do sports for the reward of the competition itself (placements, demonstrating training ability, ribbons). For some it's a combination of all of these things. If you are clear about your reasons and personal goals, that will help you decide what path and type of class you will want to take.

    Your puppy would maybe be old enough to do a Puppy Performance class by 4-5 months old. At this stage, it's MUCH more crucial to your puppies long term success as a pet and as a sport dog by getting socializing and having positive experiences visiting the types of venues you wish to try. That's more important IMO than teaching specific sports skills at this point.

    That said, a good foundation puppy class and basic obedience classes are good to do in the meantime. I think Rally is an excellent starting point (after basic puppy and obedience classes), and the Rally classes help reinforce those basic obedience skills in a lower pressure competition setting so your dog (and you) can get used to "working" under a generally less stressful situation.

    I started with puppy classes, then basic obedience, than advanced, then CGC. My Caucasian Ovcharka stopped there but went on to do guarding and property protection. The Shibas (3 adults) progressed from there to competiton obedience, then Rally, then Agility, then Flyball, back to Agility and Obedience, Lure Coursing, then truffle hunting, then Barn Hunt, then....

    My 14 week old puppy is in a puppy play group and just starting Puppy K. I produced him and plan to show him and do Agility and Flyball with him. His mommy is fairly accomplished in her sports and show career at this point, and I hope he follows in her paw prints, so everything I have done with him to date has been done with those goals in mind. He was exposed to mini agility equipment like tables, ramps, tunnels, ladders, hoops, wobble boards, perches, etc from 4 weeks onward, simply to get him used to seeing those things and walking on different surfaces. I also played Puppy Sound CDs (recorded dog show noises, agility trial noises, fireworks, etc).

    I take him with me to Flyball practice each week, and he will be going with me (and his auntie and mom) to a Flyball tournament this weekend. The exposure is great for him, and I aim for play dates and outings during the week as often as I can, and took him with me to his moms old Agility class to watch and meet new people. Just keep up with the socializing and positive associations and your pup will have good foundations going in when old enough to start an actual sports class :)
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    The skills to work on now that will be most helpful in the long run for all sports are: recall, positive name association, and building value in you so the pup learns that working with you=awesome. For instance, if you think you may like Agility, build the tug toy drive, and if Flyball, build on dead ball retrieves and tennis ball drive.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Thanks for the information! But I may have worded my question a bit wrong. I do not want to force my dog into any sport for my own personal gain, which is why I never got my Sasha into sports it just wasn't her thing. We both enjoy playing catch in the house or long adventurous hikes.
    What I am trying to say is how do I know which which sport my pup would like. I am aware he is too young for them now, I just wanted to expose him to the environment of a sport and the tools so I don't freak him out or confuse him and to also gear his basic training commands to those he would need for a sport.
    I have read up on Rally and obedience trails as you suggested and they sound awesome! I didn't realize that it was an actual sport. I wouldn't mind getting him started on that (after Puppy classes).
    I have actually trained my own dogs ever since I was a kid, so that I could "mold" my dog to fit my life style and have never had an issue, all of them lived like kings! Lol
    I have actually decided to take my dog to actual classes to help with the socialization and exposure to the city and people. I grew up in the county where your dogs protect your family and property so socialization with people and other dogs were limited. All my dogs growing up lived in the house and went in and out as they pleased.
    Living where I do now that is not a choice which is why I an want to get him (Aiden) into a sport to release energy and create a great relationship with my dog. Sasha and I have discovered ours in long hikes and walks :)
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    "What I am trying to say is how do I know which which sport my pup would like."

    That's something that will take time to reveal, which is why the good training centers usually have some foundation or beginner classes. If your dog has a lot of prey drive, then Barn Hunt or lure coursing may be his thing. There are fun matches where you can "test" his desire for it, or you can buy a flirt poll and see if he will chase it. If your dog is dog reactive, then something like Rally, Obedience, or Agility or tracking may be better as it is usually just the handler and the one dog working at a time. If your dog is "busy" agility would be great. If your Shiba loves retrieving and chasing tennis balls, and is dog neutral, look into your local Flyball clubs and ask for an evaluation. If your dog needs to work on focus and obedience skills, try Rally. Obedience may be a bit boring for young dogs, which is why I like Rally. Most Shibas LOVE the challenge of Agility and like that it changes up so doesn't get too boring for them.

    I'm not a fan of it, but Canine Musical Freestyle seems to be pretty popular. There is also Treiball and Nosework and Herding :)
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1233
    Where I live a lot of trainers offer classes where you can test several different sports. That way you can sample and see if something seems fun for you both.

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