Racing Ourselves

Back Yard

Well, tomorrow I leave for the flyball tournament. I’ve been having vertico for the last week, and accompanying nausea, and I’m not really feeling much better, so I hope I don’t just hate the whole weekend. I usually can push my discomfort to the back of my mind and body well enough to function, and possibly even enjoy myself, so I hope I can do that this weekend too. (Doc says I probably have a virus in my ear, whatever.)

We are racing three teams, two singles and a pairs this weekend, so I am going to be on my feet almost constantly for both days. Which is, actually, how I prefer a trial or tournament. I can’t stand sitting around, so I work. But then I get pretty tired the entire following week. Oh well. One bad thing is that two of our teams are in the same division. And both my dogs, Jet and Chase, are on each of those teams. Soooo… I’m going to have to ask someone to race Chase. He’ll race for just about anyone, as long as there’s a tug at the end of the game. Jet is more sensitive and he’ll probalby only race for me. Plus, it’s his first team so I want to know how he’s doing.

I hope the four to five hour drive is okay, and we don’t hit any bad weather. Supposed to rain all weekend, which sucks, though the tournament is indoors so that’s good. Hopefully I won’t need any cheap auto insurance, the stuff I have should hold me over!

Flyball Box Turn in Practice

And so for my ongoing quest to get Jet to have a good Flyball Box Turn, with some unconventional training, here are some more videos. 🙂

I took these last weekend at practice. I still like the idea of the bar on the box, or close to the box, for him to get up and get all four feet on the box. However, his rear end behavior still isn’t solid enough without some kind of help for him.

But he’s in a tournament next weekend, so I’ll practice with him as much as possible this week, and then next week, well, we trust in our training. 🙂

Some Box Work:

Jet Racing:

So, now it’s just up to love, luck, and training. 🙂

Innovative Flyball Box Turn Training

On my continuing quest to get Jet a better box turn, I had a new idea. Well, maybe it’s not really that new, since people use props and hovering sticks all the time. But I haven’t seen anyone put a bar directly on the box before. So this is my next attempt to get Jet to catch the ball, and use his rear on the box as well.

I like how this is working so far. I see success with him pushing off with his rear when he’s getting the ball. I think I’m going to stick with this method for a while and see what we get. I did take him to training, and I’ll get that video up too. I’m not convinced this method is holding over to the training place, but maybe if I work it every day, it’ll get stronger.

Unconventional Flyball Box Training

Well my experiment continues. I’m having fun trying different things with Jet’s flyball box. My concern is to get his rear up on the box, and pushing off the box, while the ball is in play. He has a great flyball box turn when there is no ball. But once the ball is in play, he forgets he has a rear and doesn’t use it to push off the box.

The below is a continuation of my idea… this time with a ramp. We did this training on March 11, 2011.

My husband helped me build this ramp and so far, so good. Here’s more training from the following day, March 12, 2011.

The videos are rather self explanatory I think, I’ve put text on them with my thoughts about what I’m doing.

I’ve modified the method a bit and I’ll post that up next. I wish I had some outdoor lighting fixtures so that I could train outdoors. But then, the weather needs to warm up too!

Flyball Box Training

Last night I was able to go home and work Jet on my new ideas of flyball box training. The more I think about it, the more I think that this method that I’ve come up with is not really anything new. Instead it’s basically just using a really high prop so that the dog is forced to bring his whole body over the prop, onto the box to get the ball, and back over the prop again, using his rear to push off in both directions (especially pushing off the box).

I started just with an agility jump, because that’s all I have at home right now. I can pick up my home made prop from practice next Sunday. But I kinda like the agility jump because I can set the bar as high as I like. I didn’t like that the bar was dropping, so I think next time I’ll tape the bar onto the stanchion with some duct tape or something to get it to temporarily stay in place.

As you’ll see in the video, I put the ball on the other side of the jump, rather close to the jump. The first couple of times Jet had to figure out that the ball (one of his favorite toys) was close to the jump. After a couple of times it seemed like his rear was too far away from the jump, so I put a chair behind it so he’d have to coordinate himself to land square and avoid the chair.

He did go around the jump to come back to me a couple of times, so I put up another barrier so he had to jump over, get the ball, and jump back to bring it back to me.

After a bit I introduced the clicker, and tried to reward using the click/ball. But he was really looking for a treat once he heard the click. So I also brought treats, but then he kinda lost his head for a bit until we worked out that he had to jump, get the ball, jump back, and then he’d get a click and a treat.

I’m not certain I’m going to keep using the clicker. I wanted to mark his correct behavior, but playing with the ball may really just be enough. The clicker might be too much for him to think about the jump, but we’ll see how it goes.

All in all I was pretty pleased with the progress he made. From our seminar with Touch N Go that I went to back in, oh, 2008, they really emphasized that, for dogs having a hard time with the box and getting all four feet on, to build a really tall prop, even tower-like, if necessary. I’m thinking that this jump style is really similar. But instead of getting the prop in front of the box, I’m just using a dead-retrieve ball on the other side of the jump. He still has to pull his entire body over the jump, get the ball, then pull his body back over the jump to get back to me. What I will probably do is build the ramp I want to build (see prior post) and also use this high jump/prop method to get him to pull all his feet over and back on the box. And still include the ball, because it’s when the ball is introduced that his box turn disintegrates.

So this is the theory, anyway. 🙂 I’ll keep taking videos and posting about how it works. I am thinking about it a lot, and I think it’s going to work well, but you never know what a dog will pull out of his doggie-hat and do to make things more complicated. So I’m keeping my eyes and mind open for variations if needed!

I’ve tagged this post, and will tag the others, with the “Flyball Box Training” tag if you want to follow along easily.