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Discussion Starter #1
Today I attended my first Dog agility trial, just to see what it's all about. I'm hooked.
So we start our first class next Saturday.
I can't wait to see if Bo works out, he is so full of energy and I've never seen a more agile basset.
I Have NO idea what I'm getting into, should be interesting. :D

Sandy
 

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What timing on your post Sandy! Georgia & I had a "bonus" obedience class today at the instructor's house to do some outdoor work since we couldn't do it during regular classes. He trains rescue dogs (among other things) and has a lot of agility-type equipment in his yard. Georgia & I were the only ones who showed up so he took us through all the equipment he has - teeters, tire jumps, bridge ramps tunnels, etc. Georgia LOVED it! I'm looking for a class here so she & I can enrol.

If Bo loves it as much as Georgia does you'll have a great time!!! Good luck and let me know how it goes.
 
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Sandy - that's great!! You'll have to make sure you get lots of pictures (especially if Bo likes it and does well) so that I can share them with Alexa of Basset Rescue. Good Luck!! Maybe I'll be able to say "I know a star!!" :D :D
 

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FWIW In agility the obstacles are less of a challenge than navigating the space between the obstacles. When the training changes focus from training the dog to perform the obstacles to training the Owner/handler to negotiate a course efficiently is when most of the dropouts occur.

New Mexico Las Cruces februrary 2000 is the site of the largest entry of bassets in a single all breed trial (not basset only trial) 6 and not one was from the State of NM.


To find a local training facility check cleanRun Info center- Clubs & Schools most clubs and schools are posted there.
 

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"I can't wait to see if Bo works out, he is so full of energy and I've never seen a more agile basset."

That would mean Bo has a good shot at becoming the best Male Basset in agility of all time. Seeing that the current holder was neither energetic or Agile. Not many basset compete and females far out number males. It is like only 4-5 males have even earned a title.

"Today I attended my first Dog agility trial"

Was it AAC (Agility Association of Canada) NADAC
(North America Dog Agility Council) or some other venue.
 

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Good luck! Keep us posted on how it goes. It does look like a lot of fun!
 

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Sandy,not wanting to spoil your obvious pleasure about the agility,but, does it entail a lot of jumping over and off obstacles etc, or is it a more gentle type of class? I know many may disagree,but, from what I've read on here and from what my vet has said, Bassets should try to refrain from this type of exercise.
 

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I'm with you, Sadeyes. That's why I stopped doing agility with my bassets. I wouldn't sell a puppy into an agility home, either. :(

[ March 04, 2006, 10:26 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Mike, I believe the clubs I saw today were associated with NADAC. I have so much to learn. I'll find out more next week.
I just want BO to have fun at this point, and I would NEVER push him so as to put him at risk of any kind. He's my baby. :)
From what I could see, some dogs are just rarin' to go, and lovin' it, and some lost interest halfway thru the course.
As far dropping out when I get involved-we'll see. Might be a good incentive for me to shape up! (although I saw a few out of shape owners running the course today. Some dogs had to wait for them to catch up!)
Somewhere, can't find it now, I saw a club for basset agility, called Leaping Lizards! That's Bo, he even looks like a lizard! :D
Thanks for the info Mike, you are such a help to us on here!!!

Sandy
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OK Betsy and Sadeyes, now you have burst my bubble! I had no idea agility would be harmful, as everything is so low to the ground. (isn't it?)
Bo is just a bundle of energy, and so sleek. He isn't pure basset, I think there is coonhound in him, judging from his head, and eyes. Maybe that's the part of him that would do well in agility.

So if I put him in it, am I being CRUEL???? :eek: OH why can't life just be easy...

Sandy
 

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Well, different people have different opinions. Mine wasn't fully formed until I watched an all-basset agility trial. They're just not built for the kind of physical abuse agility subjects them to, IMO. :)

[ March 04, 2006, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
 
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Molly trained, and sporadically competed, in agility for several years. 1 1/2 years ago she had surgery to correct 2 herniated discs. I know jumping was the cause of the herniations. Whether it was from agility or jumping on and off the bed (also sporadic), I'll never be sure. But I am sure about one thing; I will NEVER train another dog (Basset or otherwise) in agility. It's not worth it, and there's so many other things that you can do with your dog (Hunt Tests, Obedience, Rally Obedience, Therapy, Tracking, etc.). Take care, Belinda.

[ March 05, 2006, 12:42 PM: Message edited by: Belinda ]
 

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Thanks everyone for your advice, and experience. :)
I do intend to look into all venues available. I don't want Bo to be hurt, and will NOT allow him to jump, he has a very long back. I will find out more on Saturday about the others things you mentioned. I just want to channel his energy into something...

Sandy
 

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in Obdience at the open and utility the dogs are required to jump higher and longer than they are in agility and even more important less thought care and attention is taken to the surface this occurs on. As an agility competitor I would never compete in this venue at thoses levels indoors. where the surface is concrete with a rediculously thin rubber matt for cushioning.

There is not enough evidence, anticdotal or scientific to say one way or another that agilities net effect are benefitial or harmful. but there are some ways to reduce risks.

1. wait till the bones are full mature before asking the dog to jump. Waiting until the dog is 18 month of age is a pretty safe bet but the only way to know for sure is by x-ray to make sure the growth plated are closed.

2. There are a couple of factors that effect force excerted during a jump most of which the human has at least some control over. A Jump height for the average basset depending on the venue the average basset must jump 16" to 8" most venue now adays either offer alternate programs and/or provission for basset an other large chested dogs lowering jumps height 4" the vast majority of basset competing today do so at a jump height of 8" or Less. NADAC offers three game classes in which there are no jumps. Not all people and maybe not even most people who have trained basset in agility even compete. If one does not compete one can chose any height to jump the basset even as low as four inches.

B. Dogs weight. The rule of thumb is a dog with a weight[in lbs) to hieght(in inches) ratio of 4 to 1. If the dog exceeds this ratio you never want to as the dog to jump higher than their elbow. Between 3 to 1 and 4 to 1 there is an elevated risk of injury. Ideally a dog should have a ratio of 2 to 1 or less given a bassets conformation that will never happen but most of the competive bassets are close to the 3 to 1 ratio. I.E. small leggy females that are not typical conformation bassets. Toughy when competing was 15" tall and weighed between 47 and 48 lbs Zephyr and Mariah both 13 3/4" and 42 Lbs.

C. Speed is the other factor. Unlike the other factors speed effect is exponential. This however mean running a dog through a course slowly is safer. speed becomes a factor only when it must be absorbed. A dog running an jumping in a straight line need not absorb any of the energy from the forward speed it is transferred into continued forwards motion. A dog that however is asked to make a sharp turn after a fump must absorb all the speed. This is where training the human becomes important. If a dog is signaled early before the jump of a sharp turn it can do two things to lessen the impact of the jump and actual make the turn faster and more effiecient. I is to collect before the jump ( shorten stride and speed) and to start the turn before the jump. In agility the lower comepetitive level do not ask for severe sharp turns and this is one of the reasons.


3 The mechanics of jumping and landing can play a big part on the loads transferred to parts of the body. Part of agility training should though admitteded not always involve training the dog to jump properly.


The benefits are agility are 1. Weight control, the added exercise and metabolism increase works to maintain a health weight. The exceedly vast majority of bassets are signifantly overwieght if not obese. This in itself is a severe health risk to not just the joints but other systems as well. Recent purina studies show the significance of body weight on longevity. Agility is for the most part an anarobic strength activity. It builds muscle mass. Increased muscle mass is a serious mitigating factor in most orthopeadic condition.

There are no clear cut answers on the effects of agility on the heath and long term well being of dogs, and bassets in particular. It is an area where well intention individuals can and do disagree. but there is no doubt taking some reasonable precautions will reduce any risks.

1. wait for bone maturity

2. the dog fits minimum requirements in regards to weight to height ratio and the dog is not overweight. Keep in mind that purina studies have shown that 79% of pet owners under estimate the body condtion of their dogs ( think they are thinner than they really are) even when given a body chart as a guide. Better the dog be sightly underweight than over weight.

3. Pay attention to landing area for a jumping dog. Make sure there is enough cushioning. 1/8" rubber mat over concrete is insuffecient. Mats used in agility typically are 1/2 thich or more. Frozen ground is no softer than concrete.

4. Train the dog to Jump and land Properly. There are plenty of resources out there. Clean-run Magazine special jumping issue and various specialty articles, Chris Zink and Julie Daniels book Jumping A to Z are but a few.
 

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Originally posted by Sandy and Bo:
Thanks everyone for your advice, and experience.   :)  
I do intend to look into all venues available. I don't want Bo to be hurt, and will NOT allow him to jump, he has a very long back. I will find out more on Saturday about the others things you mentioned. I just want to channel his energy into something...

Sandy
Rally obedience might be a good challenge for him. Also, some of the agility organizations have games that don't involve jumping. I think NADAC offers a game that just uses tunnels, for example. Good luck and have fun, whatever you decide to become involved in. :)
 

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The exceedly vast majority of bassets are signifantly overwieght if not obese.
Mike, you've made this comment several times on this forum-could you tell me where you find the data that supports, "the vast majority of bassets are overweight/obese?" I've looked but haven't been able to find such information. Certainly obesity is a major health problem in today's dogs and I've see figures ranging from 20-40 percent but nothing specific on the basset hound.
 

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This is an interesting thread. I have a light-boned, long-legged incredibly fast basset female who tends to be a bit shy and environmentally sensitive. I've been told that shy and sensitive dogs really come out after learning agility. Do you all who think agility is harmful focus on the long-backs, the generally heavy bone, or the heavy chest. Do you think it is unhealthy for bassets who are close to the standard, or more generally harmful?
 

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What I found most worrisome was the jumping style employed by most bassets, which is mainly a short, upside down "U", instead of a long, flat arc. Their front legs aren't long enough to adequately absorb or cushion the impact of the weight of their fronts as they land, which stresses their entire front assemblies--pasterns, elbows, shoulders, necks, and upper backs. Many of the bassets I watched landed so traumatically they appeared to almost smash their faces into the ground.

Long backs are another concern, with weaving and the mid-air turning required by tight courses.

Heavy bone would, of course, exacerbate the above problems.

Falls off obstacles are another problem. I caught Bugsie falling off the A-frame a couple of times, and banged myself up pretty badly as a result of one of those saves (Bugs was fine :) ). I wasn't able to catch Buffet falling off a dogwalk, which left her with a chronic, intermittent shoulder injury. :(
 
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