Flyball Box Training Push with the Rear

Flyball Box Training Ramp
Well, our next dog sport activity will be flyball at the end of this month. And so now I’m trying to focus on Jet’s box turn. And I’m not really happy with it at the moment.

When the ball goes into the box, he forgets about his rear. If there is no ball in the box, he has a nice swimmer’s turn. I need to get some more video and post it up. I’ve loaned the practice box I had to another person learning flyball and so now I’m thinking I need something for Jet to practice on. I hope to build a ramp like the one in this picture.

But seriously I want Jet to understand his rear end and how he should push off the box with his rear once the ball is in his mouth. So I’m brain-storming ideas of how to do this. Very unconventional ideas, of course, because that’s how all my flyball and agility training seems to be anymore. I’m sure, for some dogs, it’s like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time. Rather tricky to coordinate the two. While Jet is a good catch of food and balls, sometimes he’s a bit awkward with various parts of his body.

So I’m trying to clicker train him to have a push with his rear legs. How’s that for unique? He actually has really nice rear-end awareness when it comes to agility and contacts. He has a nice 2o2o and he’ll back up onto a contact and feel the board with his feet. So he knows he has a rear. He also has nice rear-end awareness when it comes to moving his rear in for obedience heeling. When I make a left turn, his rear swings in really nicely. And he holds his heeling position too. I started that using a perch box where when he put his front feet on the box and when he moved his rear end I’d click/treat. And he’s stellar with that too.

So the theory now is to get him to put a back foot into the palm of my hand and click/treat for it. He’s doing okay but he steps backward when he does it (he has a super nice back-up too). So when his foot goes into my hand I C/T. I hope to move this into a form of push off my hand with his foot, and then move that to a push off this new fancy schmancy flyball ramp I’m going to build.

I figure I’ll probably Velcro a ball onto the ramp once it’s done, and after he really gets that rear end push movement going. So far, we are taking baby steps and he’s just putting a rear foot in my palm. Which, I figure, will be a cute trick anyway even if this doesn’t work out as a new fangled off-the-wall rear-end flyball box turning training adventure. 🙂

Clicker Training is breaking behaviors down into their very minimalistic parts. So I’m trying to do that with this and see what we get! Once this is complete and perfected I’ll treat us to some Outer Banks vacation homes for a vacation!

edit later —-
I’ve been thinking about this more and I’m thinking now… maybe I’ll have a jump, or a prop (long jump) and put a ball really close to the far side of the prop. Release Jet, have him jump over the prop, grab the ball, then jump back over to get back to me. Thus a really basic on-the-floor ball-turn sans box. Hrm… I’m going to have to go home and try this tonight. Maybe this will help him jump back over with his rear, and have the ball in his mouth. I’ll try to get some video. Then I can start putting the ball up on a ramp and get it higher and higher until it’s angled the same as the real box. Hmmm… the wheels are spinning!

Jet’s Flyball Box

Danish-Swedish Farmdog Beach
Dog Beach
Well I have to say that Jet’s flyball box turn is coming along really well! Putting wraps on his back feet are helping him to get those rear feet up on the box when he’s grabbing the ball. So now he’s grabbing the ball more times than he is fumbling it, and he’s also getting his rear feet up and pushing off with them. He’s starting to get a good flyball box swimmers turn!

He is such a goof. He’s also learning to pass. Yesterday at flyball practice he was behind Fred, a Cattledog on our team. And when I released Jet he would lean over to Fred and snark at him, but just to play. So when he did that I gave him a but UH-UH! Oh boy, the look Jet gave me was like he was going to cry. He gave me the most sad, miserable look in the world. This little Danish-Swedish Farmdog boy sure is sensitive! But he was good the next time he passed Fred! (I won’t mention the part where I kneeled on his toe and made him whine… ooops).

So Jet’s flyball is coming along nicely! I think he’ll be ready for the March tournament. I’ll put him in singles and pairs for sure. Maybe he’ll be ready for a team, we’ll have to see. Not sure if he should be relied upon as height dog quite yet, but he’s getting close!

I do need to find some cutting tools so I can make a 14″ prop at home to practice. I put up the agility jump and it seems a 14″ prop gets him to get his four feet on the box quite well. I don’t want to rely on a prop, but hopefully he won’t need it after a while. We’ll see!

Jet’s Singles Race

Jet Singles
Jet Singles

Well I finally went to the U-FLI website to check out Jet’s scores, and they are there! I just love seeing the numbers on the web sites. 🙂 Jet’s Singles Races are up. His fastest time was 5.193. That’s not really very fast but I think he’ll speed up once he gets the hang of it.

I’m so pleased with my goofy boy. He’s so smart, and he’s doing so well. I’m probably going to enter him in Wildcard Obedience this Saturday too. Even though I still don’t really get Wildcard Obedience… LOL he’s not ready for the real thing yet, but this will give me an idea of what he is ready for and what needs works. I hope to get video of him, too. I know he needs Stand for Exam work. He wants to watch me walk behind him, so he flips his head. And he doesn’t understand that his four feet are supposed to remain stationary and not move. But we’ll figure out how to tell him that’s what we are asking for. He just doesn’t understand yet, but he tries really hard.

Maybe they will have some Casablanca ceiling fans at the trial site… though we won’t need it to be cooled down, since it’s going to be nice and cool outside. Fortunately the show is inside. 🙂

Jet’s First Flyball!

Okay yeah I’m a nut. 🙂 Jet is not ready to be racing in Flyball… but I’ve been itching to enter him in something. LOL. So on Friday, a fun surprise happened, and they were accepting day of show entries for Singles and Pairs at the U-FLI Flyball Tournament!

Well of course I had to enter him. LOL

So now I’m watching the video and I’m thinking that he’s really hitting the box with his shoulders, and he’s not hitting it with all four feet. So I’m coming up with plans about how to get him to hit with all four feet.

See I’m a strange trainer in that I don’t want a dog super high to do flyball. Nope. I have worked very hard at Jet’s drive shaping and I want him to be able to do a controlled box turn before he gets into high drive to do it. I’m not going to get into that in this post, though. But I may put in some stride regulators, and take out the ball so he get’s more muscle memory of just doing his feet before he combines it with the ball. I plan on setting something up in the back yard and doing some video to see what I can do with him. Hopefully the husband will help.

Anyway the tournament was fun. Chase did awesome and ran fast, he got below a 4.5 seconds heat and I was thrilled. He was start dog. We didn’t get any 000 starts but that’s okay, we got pretty close. 🙂 I love running start dog. Not only does it make me feel special… LOL, I think it’s way easier than passing. Plus you get a really accurate time on your run.

I sure don’t need any after this weekend, since I was on my feet the whole time. I just need a few days to sleep now!


A Weekend with the Boys

Silly Jet
Silly Jet

A weekend with the boys is awesome. I do wish that I could bring Levi too… and even Tatum, because they love to travel and the do so good at it. But the van is only so big and so some have to stay home.

As this posts I am still, yet again, at flyball. But I love spending time with Jet and Chase and having a stress-free competition weekend. I don’t stress at flyball. Not like agility or obedience. Flyball is just for fun. If we win, great. If we don’t. oh well. It’s fun to get a placement but the only things that counts for titles is points. And if you run below 24 seconds, you get points. yay for points. 🙂

And soon the weather will turn cold and we won’t have the nice green grass to spend time on. Ugh. I will miss the green grass and the outdoor training. We have plans for indoor training, for sure, but I just love the outdoor training so much better.

When I get back from the tournament it’ll be time to go Christmas shopping. Maybe I’ll check out some amazon gift cards and see if those would be good, easy presents. I really do like easy! 🙂