With each passing year, I run fewer and fewer derbies. Lots of bad things for a young dog to learn in the derby, not that many good ones.
I have two dogs that I could run this year, but depending on how they look overall, may not run at all. Regardless of my intentions, I would be hard pressed to run a young dog until it hit 20 months of age.
The best dog that I have had - FC/AFC Freeridin Vampire Slayer (Buffy) - ran 6 or 7 derbies, won one. Won a Q in the Spring (April) right after she turned two. Put her back in training. Ran her again in September, got 4th in the Amateur.
Miss Kitty ran 2 or 3 derbies. Then won a Q and an Am right after she turned 2.
Competition does not build character - It reveals it.
Yup FC/AFC/CFC Yo You Kaytee KK won the Derby and got a second in the Amateur at the same trial at about 22 months old. I think she had 30 derby points as I recall and sold her just out of the derby. She ran her first derby at about 18 months and her last at two with 7 or 8 all age starts while in the Derby or just a short time out. She never developed line manner issues, but, was the exception with others I trained and sold. She was always trained with the all age in mind. If you are blessed with one of those great, otherwise take your time.
Listen to Breck. I had fun in the two derbys that I ran. I finished one (you would have thought I had a Blue ribbon) and went out on the third series of the other. He was young and had not seen too much techincal water. You can walk to line with leash which was a comfort to me. While I learned he was steady, he used the whole mat. I am reducing the size of his mat .
One good thing about going to observe is that you'll get a better idea of how you think your dog will cope with derby setups. I guess asking the age of the pup should have been the first thing to ask about, but no harm done. Go, watch, learn, and enjoy. I don't think it's necessary to wait until you think you can win it to enter, but you do want to be capable enough to get through it without embarassing yourself, LOL.
Sunshine Joliet Jake, "Jake," SH, WDX, RN, CGC
Roughwater Stacked & Packed, "Babe" JH, RN
Not sure whar Ted is saying. What "bad" things are learned in the Derby? If you have a genuine future FC-AFC candidate in training, on a proven program, Derby tests should fit in well with the normal training progresasion from 13-14 months and older. Maybe things have changed. Back in the late 70's and early 80's when derby entries were 40-60 dogs, triples were not that uncommon. Have Derbys regressed??
"Darla" AFC Candlewoods Lil Smokin Tequila (fondly remembered)
"Smoke" Smokin Auggies Menace, QAA
"Simba" Humewood Simba
Just for the record I have very fine dogs. Some of the best in the whole country....or at least on my own block anyhow.