Monday, March 03, 2008

Getting bigger ...


my girls
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants
The nail-biting has officially commenced ... Pinky has reached 15" at the shoulders and she's only six months old. Yikes. There are two things buoying my hopes: 1) Smaller dogs reach their adult height at an earlier age than bigger dogs. Lucy was very close to her full height at 6 months, and the rest of her growth was mostly filling out--her chest expanded a bit so she didn't look so gangly; and 2) Pinky's growth has definitely leveled off over the past two months. I now find myself wishing she would hurry up and go into heat so her growth plates will close sooner rather than later (Lucy had her first heat right at 6 months).

I know it won't be the end of the world if Pinky exceeds 16" because she is incredibly athletic and I think she will easily jump 22" (Lucy has no problem clearing 22" ... she actually went over a 26" triple once). I just like being in the 16" height class. It's not dominated by border collies. In fact, around here there is no single breed that dominates. The shelties are always very good, and there's that one mini--er, I mean very, very small--aussie that completely kicks butt, but I feel like Lucy can compete with all of them and I'm confident Pinky would be able to as well.

But border collies are the intimidators of agility--they seem unbeatable sometimes. Now I know perfectly well that they aren't, because the very speed and alacrity that makes them win spectacularly also very often sends them hurtling off course or causes them to obliterate jumps, miss up-contacts, etc. And who's to say that Pinky won't have speed and alacrity? She's got plenty of enthusiasm and loves to play and learn new stuff (she thinks tunnels are awesome!), so maybe I'll have the kind of nutso dog who can't be beat when she stays on course and keeps her bars up. I'd just rather she do it in the 16" class against the shelties and very tiny aussies ;-)

7 comments:

Johann The Dog said...

I remember Johann was measured once at 16.25 - so I worked with him to relax his shoulders with clicker training, just in case. But it turned out to be a fluke measurement, (cough, bad measurement). The worst after that was 15.75.

Since I didn't know squat about agility, what did I care when he was growing. Guess I lucked out...am sure you will too, keep the faith!

Lisa B. said...

I think I may have lucked out with Lucy in not spaying her until she was about 10 months old or so ... I'll keep hoping (and measuring!)

Pacco de Mongrel said...

will spaying early or later make any difference??...

Lisa B. said...

Ahh, that is the question!! It is likely that it does have some effect. One of the things that triggers growth plate closure are the reproductive hormones, and studies suggest that dogs who are spayed before sexual maturity often grow taller as a result of the growth plates staying open longer. There is a JAVMA article here that summarizes some of the possible health effects of early spay/neuter:
http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.231.11.1665

And canine sports vet Chris Zink advocates delaying spay/neuter on performance dogs until at least 14 months of age: http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

I am in the same boat as you! I have a 6.5mo old Sheltie who I am praying does not go over 22". I can't stand the idea of jumping him at 22" in USDAA, and my current dog (a 22"-jumping ESS) will be 'retiring' to 16" Performance soon, so running two very different dogs in 16" Performance together seems impossible.

We will be playing a lot of "relax under a wicket" games too! He was measured at 14-7/8" about a month ago so he's probably just under 15" now.

*crosses fingers with you!*

Lisa B. said...

I'll send tiny thoughts your way ;-)

I saw an awesome rat terrier who measured just over 16" at a trial once--he was really holding his own against the taller dogs, and I think he even won either Grand Prix or Steeplechase. So that gives me hope that even if Pinky gets a little tall she'll still be competitive.

Pacco de Mongrel said...

oh no wonder.....

i was spayed at 3 months old...n i look kinda like a stork sometimes...