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what it means (which is why Clean Run is doing this issue). Also, some breeders are
focused on producing dogs for the conformation ring or for a task unrelated to agility, like herding, so a dog's ability to locate a PVC bar on an agility course may be
completely irrelevant to them. This is fair.
If you are considering getting a dog from a breeder who mostly sells to the agility
market, they should be concerned about this issue, but it's unlikely that even every
agility breeder will be familiar with ETOs. However, if you ask a breeder of agility
dogs about ETOs and the response you get involves denying that ETOs are a heritable issue, that ETOs are a training issue, or that they are unconcerned about ETOs,
you may want to look elsewhere for a dog. Hopefully understanding of the hereditary
aspect of ETOs will grow among agility breeders and they will consider it as they
would any other heritable problem.
If you realize your dog has ETOs, you should let your breeder know this is the case.
Even if the dog was bred for conformation, for herding, or for another non-agility
purpose, the breeder should know that
a dog is unable to perform the agility
jumping task. This may save future potential puppy buyers from dealing with
the heartbreak of significant ETOs in an
In all these interactions please take care
to be kind.
Discussing ETOs is a delicate thing.
It's much like the difficulty of discussing when to retire a dog from agility.
To initiate the discussion you should
have a close personal relationship, or a
trusted professional relationship, with
the handler. D
Nancy Kemna has been involved in agility since 2005 when she took her first class with her Doberman, Cass. Nancy currently lives in Woodinville, Washington with her
partner Scott and their Border Collies: Ten, Ky, Rave, and Pointer.
"Diagnosis, acceptance, and evolution. If your dog has jumping issues, think back to other behaviors that might support ETOs
(not able to catch treats in the air, problems jumping into the car, problems with stairs, inability to read calming signals in other
dogs, etc.) and if you can, go to a ACVO board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist for diagnosis. If the issues continue or get
worse, accept it and don't push your dog. Dogs live long and healthy lives regardless of vision issues that plague them in agility.
It is very hard for us to accept that several years of foundation and trialing with a dog are out the window, but the dog didn't sign
up for agility, and as their advocates it's our job to not continue to support something that's not good for them (if they experience
crashes, stress, or lots of knocked bars). Finally, evolve! Some dogs can continue to 'play' at lower jump heights, so find a venue
that will allow your dog at those heights. Or, evolve into other sports like nose work, rally, or, depending on your breed, field
work or herding. If we are really on this journey with our canine companions, then we must bend and adapt for where that
journey takes us."
"When I stopped fighting for agility, life became so much better. But it was really hard to accept."
"ETOs can affect all kinds and sizes of dogs. ETOs are real. They are not the dog's fault. And a dog that is affected by ETOs cannot
be cured by jump drills. More can be accomplished through supportive conditioning, management, and handling."
"What I tell people... in many cases, if not most, you and your dog can still enjoy agility. Knocked bars are not the primary
symptom. There have been many very successful agility dogs with ETOs. This is not a training issue, but there are handling
choices that can help your teammate."
"I have been told to do jump grids to 'fix' the jumping. The jump grids make it worse, and the dog loses confidence."
"I would be rich if I got paid for the number of people who told me to do grids to fix both of my dogs' ETOs."
"I was told that ETOs were caused by my training and that jump grids would fix the problem. Unfortunately jump grids made it
way worse for my dog."
"Just because a dog has ETOs doesn't mean he can't be a champion."
"Contact obstacles were difficult because my dog couldn't distinguish between them. As her ETOs progressed, I let her play
the agility games she was comfortable with: Tunnelers, Weavers, Jumpers (yes, even though she stutter stepped). She still loved
"My dog and her littermate both have ETOs and I wish that I gave jumping ability a lot more consideration when I was looking
for my first performance dog. There is still some denial amongst some breeders that there may be a genetic component of ETOs."
November 17 | Clean Run
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - November 2017
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover1
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover2
Clean Run - November 2017 - Contents
Clean Run - November 2017 - 4
Clean Run - November 2017 - 5
Clean Run - November 2017 - 6
Clean Run - November 2017 - 7
Clean Run - November 2017 - 8
Clean Run - November 2017 - 9
Clean Run - November 2017 - 10
Clean Run - November 2017 - 11
Clean Run - November 2017 - 12
Clean Run - November 2017 - 13
Clean Run - November 2017 - 14
Clean Run - November 2017 - 15
Clean Run - November 2017 - 16
Clean Run - November 2017 - 17
Clean Run - November 2017 - 18
Clean Run - November 2017 - 19
Clean Run - November 2017 - 20
Clean Run - November 2017 - 21
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Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover3
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover4