December 9, 2021

Episode 296: At What Age Should You Move to Preferred?

In this episode (34:06)

In this podcast Jennifer, Sarah, and Esteban answer your question “When do most people move their dog to preferred/performance/select for the lower jump height?”

You Will Learn

  • The most common reasons people move their dogs to a lower height class.
  • How your dog may benefit from jumping a lower height.
  • Factors to consider as your dog ages.


(gentle music) - [Host] Welcome to "Bad Dog Agility," (dog barking) a podcast helping you reach all of your dog-agility goals, whether it's competing under the bright lights of the televised finals at Westminster, or successfully navigating a homemade course in your own backyard. We'll bring you training tips, interviews, and news about the great sport of dog agility. Are you ready? - [Esteban] I'm ready. - [Jennifer] I'm ready. -

[Sarah] I'm ready. - [Host] The show starts with your host, Jennifer, Esteban, and Sarah. - I'm Jennifer. - I'm Esteban. - And I'm Sarah, and this is Episode 296. - [Host] Today's podcast is brought to you by and the Teeter TeachIt, an easy to use tool that controls the amount of tip on your teeter so you can introduce motion to your dog in a gradual way. Go

to for the new Teeter TeachIt and other training tools and toys. Use discount code BDA10 to get 10% off your order. That's Today, we're going to be talking about the preferred height class, and I think this would actually be relevant for any organization that has two different heights that dogs are allowed to run in, one being lower. What are some of the other names for preferred,

like UKI. - [Participant 1] UKI, it's called select. - [Host] Select, okay. - [Participant 1] And then in USDA it's performance. - [Host] Alright, perfect. Yes, exactly. So we're talking about preferred, performance, and select on this podcast. And this came to us from an email asking at what age do we generally see people moving from their normal height to their preferred heights? So we want us to get

into some of the things that go into that decision for people. But before we do that, Jennifer just came back from the AKC Tryouts for the European Open team. And before that, and since our last podcast, she was doing the US Open. So really quickly, we want to hear about those two events from Jennifer. - [Jennifer] They were both great events for me, the US Open down in

Florida, also the functions, not only as UKs national, but as the tryout event from WAO. And I was fortunate enough to win my way on that team with V, she won the pentathlon spot, which is cumulative score over the weekend. Also, she won the nationals, the final event on Sunday at 16 inches. And then they announced the team selection where I was selected with my 12 and Sheltie

Rio. So I'm actually on the WAO team with two dogs. And then this past weekend at EO, a grand finale to my 2021, Bee and I went four for four at European Open tryouts and won our way on that team as well. So super exciting last few weeks for me. - [Host] That's awesome. And tell us a little bit more about Bee, because she... - [Esteban] B? How

do you... She's young, B's two years - [Jennifer] She's not yet three, she will be three here soon. So she's two years old and she is a Swift daughter. So pre-COVID swift was one of my main dogs, went to AWC, went to EO and is nine years old. So now kind of passing the torch down to his daughter. So not only he's a Vietnam a dog, but definitely

pulls at my heart strings, being a Swift daughter as well. - [Host] That's right. - [Esteban] And so I want to know, is it B as in B-E-A or B like bumblebee, B-E-E? - [Jennifer] B-E-E, her registered name is apex meant to be, she actually was intended to not be kept in the United States. She was supposed to be traveling overseas to a different home and right at

the end, it fell through. And it was just one of those, like obviously she was meant to be. Wasn't meant to work out but she was to leave. So she is apex meant to be So of course, you're going to see a lot of bumblebee emojis and signs and decorations in my household for the next several years. - [Esteban] Nice, nice. Lots of bad puns from announces like

me already generating a lot of buzz. I just thought of that. - [Jennifer] I actually went to EO tryouts with her brother as well, and his name is sting, so, and then there's a brother named bus, so we call the three of them the beehive. - [Host] Nice, wonderful. Congratulations. That is awesome. Thank you And - [Host] We also wanted to announce on the podcast that our sponsored

athletes, Sarah Baker also made both the WAO team and the European open team with her dogs skeptic. So congratulations to both of you guys. - [Esteban] Yeah. That's remarkable. I just doing very quickly that Sarah Baker has a puppy class online that you can sign up for. It's always available year round and the puppy she walks you through with... - [Host] Is Skeptics - [Esteban] Is Skeptics. -

[Host] Yeah. So I'll put that in... - [Esteban] See how she did it. - [Host] I'll put that in the show notes page, a link to that course as well. All right. So now we're going to get back to preferred performance select dogs. And the question of "is there an age that we move people down?" And so I wanted to just kind of generally open this up to

talk more about the different reasons that people move their dog to prefer, because I think that age correlates to a lot of the reasons, but isn't the reason in and of itself for the majority of handlers. So I guess I'll just open it up to the group. Like what are the reasons we have moved our dogs at different times to preferred? - [Esteban] Yeah. Well, I'll say the

first obvious one for me is bar knocking. Yeah. Right. So at some point in a dog's career, I'm thinking of a border Collie. I think I had a border Collie. So maybe I was jumping or at 20th they should naturally measure into 16, but I did her career at 20. And then I was like, is she started knocking bars like every once in a while. And then I

think it was like, oh, her natural height is 16. And so then I moved her down to 16 and the bars went away. And so, yeah. Like I feel like you get another year out of the dog. And then if I had won it... I think from there I retired her from 16, but I suppose in theory, you could drop it again 12 inches. And it's not just

bars that might pop up toward the end of the dog's career. When maybe they can't quite jump as high. I can tell you that based on my human career trajectory and basketball, my ability to jump high has dramatically decreased, and recently fallen off a cliff, the slow steady decline. And then suddenly you don't feel very much like jumping at all, but you still want to play the game.

So I think for dogs, you want to want to play the game, keep them in the game, but you want to reduce the wear and tear on joints and things like that. But bars, bars is something. And since it's bars, it's one of those things where maybe if you're starting a dog out, you might have them at preferred a little bit, then move them up to the regular

class as they kind of get their footing. So, and some dogs, maybe they're always going to drop bars. So you move them down in preferred. They just look a lot more comfortable and then you keep them there, their whole career. So it doesn't have to be age dependent, but my first answer for myself, my own experience, it's gonna be bars. - [Host] Right. And I think that you

can kind of expand that to be just struggling with the height, for whatever reason, whether that is because they're not used to the height, like you were saying, you might start a novice dog in preferred so that you can get some ring experience they don't have. They're not as comfortable at the height yet. And then once they have confidence, you can move them up, right, or they've been

running full height for a while, and now you want to move them down because they're struggling. I think another corollary to bars and to just struggling with height in general, is the structure of the dog. So I will tell you as like a statistics person, that there are breeds that run in agility, where there are no dogs that run the regular class, because for that particular breed and

for that particular build, their shoulder height puts them in a jump height that is not very easy for them structurally. I just kind of look through and can tell you, I looked at all dogs running in 2019 and... - [Esteban] This is in the AKC - [Host] In the AKC in the masters class. And there were no dogs running in the regular class, but there were dogs running

in the preferred class, for bulldogs, bull Masters, Akitas, Basset hounds. So like when you picture those dogs, you can see that structurally, they may struggle with jumping that height. And so being able to still play the game at that lower height is something that they can do. Right. So that has nothing to do with age, right. That has everything to do with structure. So Jennifer, what are your

thoughts on moving to preferred? I'm sure you've been through this with yourself, but also with lots and lots and lots of students over the year. - [Jennifer] Yeah. Coincidentally enough, that actually came up this morning in a lesson, but I've had dogs that have gone down to preferred. I've had dogs that have retired out of regular. My most recent is my Sheltie Lucky, who stayed in regular until

he was eight. And then last year was my first national at preferred. And I moved him down for kind of two reasons, but one was just longevity on him. I was starting to notice like a lack of endurance without any decrease in what I was doing, like physically and strength, training and conditioning. Like it just got to the point where I would really see a decrease in speed

in the last third, or he wouldn't do as good on three or four runs in a day. And I would rather have more years running him at a lower height and make it easier on him than to have less years at 16. So I dropped him to 12 and he's doing great. And I'm really happy with that decision. Other dogs I've retired out of regular. And I think

it depends a little bit on maybe why you feel the need to go down as we're discussing, I'll use the example for swift, swift was a very hard dog on his body. He has since retired. And I felt that the obstacles that were hardest on him, where I would notice him kind of coming up. So was we falls an A-frame. well, going to preferred wasn't going affect A-frame's

names. There would still be weevils and A-frame was still going to be the same height. And so I felt like for him, the reason that the sport was so hard on him, wasn't the jumps. And so for him, I went straight to retirement. So there's a couple of factors going in there. I also think another common reason I will recommend dogs at preferred. And as this is a

long with the jumping, Esteban mentioned, the knock bars, but dogs have potential vision issues. So we know we've talked about ETO. A lot of people in the sport are familiar with ETO and sometimes a lower jump height just makes that so much easier and frankly so much safer. So I think looking at that, that would be kind of like a physical issue. That's not quite structure, right. But

it's more than training too. So it kind of falls into that category. So I think that's a reason. But the first one I was working with today, actually, you already mentioned it started in preferred, because it wanted to do the lower height. The dog had had some issues when it was younger. And the instructor said, "Dogs really looking good at 20." Whilst you try bumping up to regular

24, She did. And now she's restarting over in regular. And the dog looked great at 24. So kind of what you mentioned, starting out at the lower height to really focus on the handling and the dog reading the cues and the turn. And now that the dog was ordering and feeling comfortable with those went back up to 24. And I think that was a great idea. So as

you mentioned, there's a lot of different things to take into account. - [Host] Yeah. I was going to absolutely mention ETO too, because I think it's a little bit different than the bar knocking that Esteban was talking about in that like an ATO dog can just, it can just be so frustrating for the handler, I think, When you have an ETO dog. And it is not in my

opinion, the handler's fault, and it's not in my opinion, the dog's fault when they have ETO that they are knocking those bars, but it can be so frustrating to go and just in queue run after run, after run, and for some dogs, reducing the jump height by four inches, they go from three bars, a run, to one bar, every couple of runs and the sport becomes enjoyable for

the handler again. And so you think that one thing that I want to emphasize is that this sport should be enjoyable for you and your dog. And that should be kind of the overriding issue. And there's a lot that goes into enjoyment and it's different for every dog and handler team. So as long as the dog is physically capable, I have no problem with people jumping regular height

versus preferred. Even if the dog is older. even if... Oh, here's one we haven't mentioned yet, an under sized dog, right. So a dog that is undersized relative to their height. And by that, I mean, they are just barely in a height class. Right. And so they are like the smallest dog jumping 20. I think that's a situation where a lot of people, like their dogs, technically their

dogs is 20, but they look more like a 16 and sometimes they feel pressure from other people. Why are you jumping that little bitty dog 20, even though it is technically the dog's jump height. And I would say if the dog's sound, if the dog's healthy, I have no problem with small dogs jumping big Heights, especially when it's their measured height. And we had a dog that was

undersized for their height class. It was 17 and seven eighths border Collie. And we wanted to do international. Will 17 and seven, eight, put her in the 26 inch height class at the time, it wasn't even 24. And she was physically capable of doing that. She looked beautiful at 26. - Yeah, never dropped a bar. - [Host] Right. Never dropped a bar. Right. So I'm never going to

tell people that they should do preferred with the dog that looks sound and is enjoying themselves. And the handler is enjoying themselves. I think, no matter how old the dog is, if the dog is struggling, if the dog doesn't look right, that's where you really have an obligation to consider preferred. But as Jennifer said, even then, it may not address the issues, right. If a dog isn't sound

jumping lower, is it necessarily going to mean that they are now okay. If we've posed her in an A-framer, a problem, like you've mentioned, it's not going to address that. So we always want to make sure at whatever height that our dogs are healthy. Right. Okay. So we talked about undersized. We talked about structure, age and bar knocking. I think another one that is absolutely reasonable is that

you've met the goal that you've set. Right. And I think not everybody needs to go. Well, I'm thinking like, let's say you have a dog and they're in the regular class. Maybe they're this undersized dog. They're in the regular class. They get their mock. Right. And you're like, I got my mock, I'm really happy with that. I'm going to go ahead and move down. Like I've met the

goal. I have no reason to stay in this jump height. Right. I can go ahead and move down. So I think that's fine. And it kind of speaks to what Jennifer was talking about, about how sometimes you go from regular to retired, because you've met the goals that you have, maybe preferred isn't part of your goals, right. You as a competitor, again, I have no problem with people

competing in preferred. I think that's great, but I also have no problem with people who don't derive the same satisfaction running preferred as they do regular. Right. They want to compete at the highest level at the big events and win. Right. And when the dog starts to slow up due to age and stuff, they'd be just as happy playing with their dog in the backyard, doing fitness, trying

another sport, rather than going from regular to preferred. So I feel like you don't have to go to preferred. You don't have to do agility. There's lots of other things that you can do with your dog. - [Esteban] Yeah. And I think that gives you a nice segue to national events, because I think there are a lot of big events in every organization, but in particular, the AKC

where they accommodate these classes, the preferred classes, right. So you can be in preferred and make the finals that say "Westminster." And here, I'm going to have to bring in Jennifer because I'm sure it's fresher in her head than in mine. It's been so many years since I've been to Westminster, and AKC nationals, Of course. The invitation of course. I think that is the big three core events

for the American kennel club, which is the largest agility orientation here in the United States. And Jennifer, this does not apply to European open team trial to Rally world championship team tryouts. Their dogs have to jump not only their natural measured height, but whatever the standard is in Europe, which is different from here in the United States. So as we mentioned, we had a little border Collie, 17,

7, 8 had to jump 26 inches way back in the day. Jennifer, can you tell us a little bit about your thoughts on running preferred dogs, with regular dogs how the different events do it in the finals. - [Jennifer] So at the AKC nationals, the agility nationals, the preferred has their own division. So you're going to have your regular eight inch, 12 inch 16, 20, 24 and 24

seat champions. But as it completely separate division, you also have the preferred toolkit. So all of the preferred four-inch dogs compete against one another to have a preferred four inch champion, 12, 16, 20. What's different about that event compared to Westminster and invitational, at Westminster and invitational, there is not a separate preferred division. So how it works is that if you enter preferred, and if you choose to

jump one height lower, you are still scored against the regular height equivalent of your jump height. So for example, if you are regular 16, your preferred would be 12. The preferred 12s are still going to be scored against the sixteens. So yes, you're jumping a height lower, but you are still going to be scored against championship or regular division dogs, which is different than nationals. And that's where

things get tweaked a little bit, because at AKC nationals, I tend to find that a lot of the preferred dogs are older. Their times are going to be slower. So to compare them against the equivalent height and regular seems very far off. But when you go to the invitational on the Westminster, they are still being compared. So it's a little bit different across the two organs, there are

the two events. Right. The different event. - [Host] I think that the Westminster and the invitational, I think the thought process is probably that dogs that typically run preferred, they have a reason to be there, right. And they are not quite as competitive speed-wise as the rest of the class. So if they happen to work their way up into the top, because they are consistent or the rest

of the class faults or whatever you let them be there. And I think for the most part, that is how it plays out. But according to the rules, somebody, someday could decide, I really really want to win Westminster. I'm going to enter my three-year-old prime of life, border Collie in preferred, when all the things right. Be the grand champion. And then I'll have gotten that award. Right. And

so I think that... - [Esteban] And then they can move them up in height. And then they can move them up - And so they can just - [Esteban] Basically dedicate a year and say, "okay, we're just going to do everything preferred, doing this height, and then I'll move them up." - [Host] So I think that maybe if that happened and maybe these events might think about how

they're doing it, I understand like they basically want to have preferred in it, but they don't want to double the size of their event by having an entire regular and entire preferred. And that's why they're doing this. But I'm kind of the opinion that you can't really compare regular to preferred because they're running different Heights. - [Esteban] Right, this is what led me down the road years ago

to thinking, for an event like Westminster, and I'm going to say upfront, I'm a big proponent of preferred classes in general and agility, but maybe a Westminster, you shouldn't have a preferred class. But the thing that brought me off of that was there was this dog, this amazing dog, right. - [Host] I know who it was. - [Esteban] Went viral and, you know I'm partial to these kinds

of dogs, anyway. And so Rudy was remarkable and they jumped in preferred. That was her jump height and... - [Host] Rudy the bulldog. So this is a bulldog, and there's no bulldogs running regular. - [Esteban] Right, right. So bulldogs simply, they just don't, they don't run regular. They just run preferred. It's part of the culture of the breed in the American kennel club. And to watch this dog

run is amazing, right. It's like reminded me of my Rottweiler so much. And so that you would lose dogs like that and you would lose these rarer, super interesting breeds, where even if they weren't great at agility, it's pretty cool to watch them run. But when you... Like the first time I ever saw an Afghan hound weaving, and the coaches shimmers. Right. But it's every once in a

while, you're going to get a dog like Rudy, where not only are they... Well, they're that dog doing it. They're the rare dog it. They're the rare dog doing it at a very high level or with an amazing amount of speed. And then you're like, man, it's like all I remember about that. I couldn't tell you who won that year. But I remember that Rudy was there. And

so I think you wouldn't lose that. So somewhere, I think there some balance, but there's, I don't know, what do you think Jennifer? - [Jennifer] Well, the way the current rules are, I think what's helping to protect that is that you have to have the pog. So you're not going to as likely get the dog who just comes in, does a few shows at preferred gets Westminster and

wins, and then you saw, because they have to commit to the pog They have to commit to preferred. So I think in the case of Westminster, hopefully what's helping to preserve that with the current rules as the POG. And in the case of the invitational in the regular division, they take top five, but in preferred, they only take the top one. So it's actually can be a little

bit more competitive to be the top preferred dog of your height. So I'm thinking that maybe those two rules sort of protect the idea of somebody just sweeping in and trying to cheat the system and actually genuinely rewarding the people that have committed to prefer the dogs like Rudy, the older dogs that have been there, are there and are going to be there for an entirety of their

career. - [Host] Right. Yeah. it's interesting because I think that basically what this highlights is that like every rule made by an organization, has like a purpose to it. And it has a pro and a con and it moves things one way. - [Esteban] It tries to address a problem. So if you look at the rules and you're like, why did they come up with all these rules

often like patches, some specific issues. - [Host] Right. And I think for the most part, they do exactly what they're intended to do. Now, if there's ever a million dollar prize to the winner of Westminster, watch out. Every single person is like, there's going to be no regular class left in AKC, because everybody's going to move their dog down to preferred, get a puck and go compete for

a million dollars, as long as that's not the case. I think that the rules are set, are doing a good job. - [Esteban] The social pressure too, right. You don't want people looking at you like... - [Host] Yeah I prefer a million dollars. - [Esteban] Oh, well of course some people would do it for ribbon, right. - [Host] Right, right. - [Esteban] But I think a more legitimate

where you're not trying to game the system, but you may end up in that situation. And winning is if you're one of the rare people who have a super elite fast dog. I'm not talking about a regular fast dog. I'm talking about like, you have one of the, I don't know, three fastest dogs in your height, right. And now your dog is like nine or 10, and they've

lost a lot of speed. It is perfectly reasonable to drop down in prefer. But at that reduce height, they're very close to their peak speed and they're better. So typically this is going to be a 20 inch border Collie that gets moved down to 16 inch preferred. And now the 16 inch preferred former best of the best is better than a very good 20 inch border Collie. Or

let's say it's a year where the 20 inch border Collie faults. And like the next fastest dog is like one or two seconds slower. And now you get picked off by the 16 inch. So I think that's the more likely scenario where it would happen specifically at Winsmester. - [Host] I think another kind of category of preferred that we haven't touched on, we absolutely should is dogs coming

back from injury. That was an obvious one that we talked about before, but I don't think we actually mentioned on the podcast yet. I think that it's very reasonable to move a dog that has been off for a while due to injury. And now they're coming back to the sport and having several shows at preferred before you move them back up. And that's why I think we can

never fault people for deciding to do preferred. I think that there is... Like you were mentioning social pressure. I think there is social pressure. People look down specifically on really competitive dogs that moved down, right. Like why are you taking our ribbons? Right. You were already winning all the things at 20. Why... - [Esteban] Yeah. We had that tiny border Collie at a time where border collies were

just starting to really show up in the 16 inch class. Like it was right before that era. I never had any thought of running at 16, I was like whatever measurement is at 16, Okay, that's fine. I'm gonna run it at 20. Like it never even occurred to me, but yeah, there were Sheltie people. I don't want to point fingers at Jennifer. I'm not talking about Jennifer. But

there are people who are like, "I don't want to see your boarder Collie in my 16 inch class." - Right. Until basically Until there were too many. - [Host] Well, and until the rule changed where you had to jump your natural height at nationals. She had a career both before and after that. And before that rule, people would give you the stink-eye for being at 16, even though

you measured it to 16. - [Esteban] So it's good that AKC made that change because it took out some of the gamesmanship and it protected people who were supposed to be in that high. Like sorry I have a border collies, She's already faster than your dog. But it's life, get over it. - [Host] All right. And then I think the last reason, and I think it's a combination

of several things that we've already talked about, but I think sometimes people move. I think we talked about this without succinctly making it a one-line bullet, which is you're no longer competitive at full height. So you have a dog that's been in shows, runs at a certain speed and you start to notice that they're not as fast as they used to be. - [Esteban] And when you say

competitive, you're meaning competitive to your own goals, right? - Right, to your own goals So one person - [Esteban] May be like, they're not going to move their dog down until their dog like slows way down. Someone else will be like, they see the drop and they're like, I'm going to go and move you down. And maybe this will translate to an extra eight months of trialing at

the end of your career or something. - [Host] Right. And I think that even there, there can be different motivations. It could be that you move down because you want to keep... - You want to keep being with I just want to clarify that - [Host] I'm saying some people, it's like, why am I showing up at show after show? And... - [Esteban] But if you move down

in preferred, you're the only preferred dog. It's always blue. Nice, nice. I should have thought of that. - [Host] But I think there's also people that when they're no longer competitive at their height, they're also seeing kind of the writing on the wall. Right. And so they want to get ahead of... You don't want to wait until the dog like, looks bad at their height. They want to

get ahead of it. So to everybody else's eyes. - [Esteban] Man, this is like talking about professional athletes. Like quarterback should retire - Right many people should retire - Yeah. - [Esteban] From basketball. When the superstar goes and does the farewell tour and you have some superstars who are like, I'm going to play until they're carrying me off in a wheelchair. And the other guy's like, I'm going

to play like my last good season while I'm a starter. I'm never going to come off the bench. I will never bear that Shame of coming off the bench. - [Host] Yeah. I think that's exactly the kind of thing. And I think one last point that I wanted to make on this because there's been, I think even we on this podcast have said things like we can maybe

link them their career, maybe it's less wear and tear on their body. The one thing that I want to say is we don't necessarily know that that's true. It seems true that jumping four inches less would be easier on the dog. And it probably is true for the majority of dogs, but I bet you that if you tested it, there are some dogs where it's actually harder because

they themselves go faster and hurt themselves at the lower height. Right. So you can't just say, just because it's lower, it's easier. - [Esteban] Or is it there would be no difference. - [Host] Or that there would be no difference at all. In effort, performance - Right. - [Host] Until it is studied. Right. We can't say that it's true. And that's why I don't like people to push

people, to move their dogs down. When the dogs look, sound right. To say to the person that has the undersized dog, you shouldn't be jumping on that high. I know they measure that, but why don't you just do preferred instead, right. If the dog looks fine, I think that's fine. And part of that comes from until... We have studies, like we can't make assumptions. - [Esteban] Well, I

mean, yeah. I mean, gosh, that could be a whole another podcast because I remember, did she's natural height as a golden retriever is 20 inches. some of the larger Golden's confirmation lines will be 24 males typically can be in 24 inches, but as a small field line, female, right. 20 inches. And so to try out for all these world teams and whatnot, yet you can do 24 inches,

right. And 26 inches at the start of her career in 26 inches and then golden people sometimes would be like, why are you doing that? Like, why do that when she doesn't have to do that and just jump right at 20 inches. you're like, well, I want to go try and compete overseas. I want to do these kinds of courses. - [Host] I want my timing to be

right. - [Esteban] I would like to go to these tryouts and things like that. And you have to practice or compete at this particular height. So, yeah. Interesting. Interesting. - [ Host] All right. Well, I think that's the reasons that we got on lots of tangents there, but I think it was a great discussion. And I think that the answer to the question, "at what age do you

generally see people moving?" Is that age is really not the answer. Right? It's all... - [Esteban] But if you have a given number... - [Host] Okay. I have a number in my head... - [Esteban] Okay. Wait, I have a number in my head, Jennifer think of, wait. - I also have a number - [Esteban] Jennifer, think of a number, think of a number. And then I don't trust

either of you. I'm going to make you both go first and then you're going to change your numbers. - [Host] I'm not going to change my number, I am going to write my number down. - [Esteban] Oh, you're going to write down? Okay. Then I'm going to make Jennifer go first, give your number. It has to be a whole number. It cannot be like 4.6, eight, five. it's

got to be one whole number. Okay. Jennifer , go. - [Jennifer] Four Shelties, eight to nine. - [Esteban] Okay. - [Jennifer] That's My breed. And that's very specific my breed. - [Esteban] Interesting. Okay. Sarah - [Sarah] I was going to say eight. - [Esteban] I was gonna say eight as well. - [Sarah] And I'm thinking of like 16 inches, right. So I'm thinking about dogs that are 16

to 24. I'm going to say eight, maybe even like seven, by the time you get to the 24s and for the little dogs, I think I would say something like nine or 10. - [Jennifer] I'm with you, Sarah, that scale slides. - [Esteban] For a little dog. I agree. I agree. - And I think that's born out by years, between all of this decades of watching dogs running

in agility, and you kind of see how they do it then to their careers. And I do think there is a very strong correlation with a size. - [Host] Yeah, absolutely. - [Esteban] Interesting. - [Host] All right. But the theme of the thing is it's not about age. It's not about how they look. And if you want to start in preferred from day one, go for it. If

you want to retire them out of agility, having never done a single run in preferred, sounds great. Totally your choice. And that's it for this week's podcast. We'd like to thank our sponsor, Happy training. (gentle music) - Thank you for listening to Bad Dog Agility. We hope you enjoy today's episode. For more information, updates and links to all our socials. Just check out our website, If

you haven't already signed up for our email subscription, we would love to have you join the BDA community. Until next time, take care.

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