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Old 02-18-2013, 10:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Speeding him Up?

Ozzy runs between 6.1 - 6.3 pretty consistently in flyball. His fastest recorded time was 5.9.
Although that's not bad, I'd like to speed him up.

He HAULS it on the way to the box, but definitely slows down on the way back. What are some ways I can speed him up on the return?

Any fun recall games you guys can suggest for me? He has zero tug drive if there's a ball anywhere, and on the way back, he's already got his ball (obviously). I tried using another ball, but that would make him drop the ball he had, which is a big no-no. I've never had an issue with him dropping his ball, and I don't want that to become a habit. (Needless to say, I quit trying with the second ball).

I was wondering if putting a little vest with light weights (since he only weighs 13 lbs) and having him run during practices wearing the weighted vest would help build muscle and speed him up? Kind of like how big-league sports teams will train in high altitudes where it's difficult, then when they play in regular altitudes, it's easier?

My ULTIMATE goal is to make him the fastest Pomeranian, but I'd have to get him to speed up by almost an entire second (since right now, the fastest one is at 5.2), which will be difficult, if he can do it at all. If not, that's absolutely okay too, but if I can speed him up, I definitely want to at least try.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you can you ,reward him with a high value treat - his absolute favorite - but just a small piece when he brings the ball back. Only give that treat for bringing the ball back - no other time. Also shorten the practice - if he does it once real fast - that's - treat time and he can do what he wants.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you can you ,reward him with a high value treat - his absolute favorite - but just a small piece when he brings the ball back. Only give that treat for bringing the ball back - no other time. Also shorten the practice - if he does it once real fast - that's - treat time and he can do what he wants.
I've tried that. Puperoni, Beggin' strips, home made chicken jerky, raw chicken.... NOTHING is better than his ball.... Once he's got that ball, he's pretty much like, "Okay. Got what I want, I'll take my time now."
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If he has done a good run and brings the ball back. Then reward with the ball. It get to keep his prey for awhile. Also train when he is hungry.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Is he really obsessed with you? If so could you do some separation right before his turn at practice? For example I had a friend who ran a dog in agility that she would hand off to me or someone else for ten minutes before their run. I would actually wait in the line to enter the ring and the handler didn't step in until the leash was coming off. The dog would be so revved to see her again he would run faster.

I'm trying to speed up Nikon but I need speed into the box. He hauls butt back to me but he loves tugging and the sight of me sprinting *away* from him is all he really needs (love GSDs!!).

How is your turn? Do you have any video? For me I always look at that first since it's something I can clean up at home without needing space or extra help like I would for separation or restrained recalled. I would say Nikon is about a 6/10 speed-wise through the jumps both ways but because he has such a clean, fast turn and comes off the box straight that helps his time.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Have you tried running away from him?

My terrier Pooch was ball obsessed, and one thing I found was he had a toy value system, like one type of toy or ball was a higher value than another. For Pooch a squeaky vinyl ball was always better than a tennis ball so if I wanted him to trade for example I'd have to offer him something better than what he had, or he wouldn't give up the toy he had.
So if it was him I would have tried rewarding him with a higher value ball when he got back to me (after he got past the line, so he wouldn't drop the tennis ball). I don't know if your dog has a similar system though.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The only problem with the squeak toys is that in some places there's sort of an unwritten rule that you don't use them for tournaments. They just make some dogs lose their minds. When my sis and I adopted a JRT she was obsessed with them and would certainly do flyball for them but we had to wean her off of that right away.

If Ozzy really does love balls I don't see why you can't use that? Both my GSDs were trained to come back for balls and several people in my club use a ball reward. Making sure the dog carries the loaded ball across the line is just part of training and I've seen people struggle with that regardless of the reward. Nikon only *just* switched to a tug reward (actually a tug with a BALL on the end of it) and he's never early dropped a ball in a race.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Have you tried running away from him?
I would think so, that's pretty standard flyball training. In fact, it's actually the very FIRST thing we do with new dogs - restrained recalls where someone holds the dog back while the owner revs them up and runs away. The dog is released, and usually bolts to the owner for whatever reward best floats their boat.

Sending dogs TO the box comes much later, at least the way my club trains, and by then the run back already has a strong foundation of training behind it, so it's not unusual for dogs to run back faster than they run to the box. It's less common the other way around. Other than one club member who has physical limitations, we all run away from our dogs as soon as we see they've triggered the box and have the ball and are on their way back over the jumps, and sometimes even earlier - we want our dogs to see our backs, running away, as they race back down the lane.

How much of that kind of thing are you doing with Ozzy at practice? How often does your club train? Sometimes if you don't show the dog the toy reward until after they're across the finish line they won't spit the ball early. Knowing you have it might be enough to get him to speed up, and then you can show it to him once he's crossed the line.

If you're not doing restrained recalls off the box at every practice, I'd ask your club to schedule some time in for him. We do it side by side, with a dog in each lane - the restrainer sits on the box and holds the dog with their back feet up on the box to push off of.

We also do power jumping where we remove the boxes and put 8 jumps in a row instead of 4. If we have enough dogs and people we'll set up two lanes and run two dogs side by side, or sometimes we do chase power jumping where we'll have two dogs in the same lane at the same time, with the starts staggered, so that one is a few feet behind the other, racing against two dogs in the other lane if we have the dogs and people to do it that way.

All our dogs just LOVE these exercises, and it's good for working on striding over the jumps as well as building drive on the run back. I don't think loading him up with weights is the way to go, I see this as a drive issue, not a speed issue because he's already running fast to the box. If you increase his drive, the speed will come.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I didn't necessarily mean to use a squeaky ball, I was just giving it as an example of my own dog's preferences. Although actually for my dog, a broken squeaky ball (on that no longer squeaked) was higher value than a tennis ball.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagocanine View Post
I didn't necessarily mean to use a squeaky ball, I was just giving it as an example of my own dog's preferences. Although actually for my dog, a broken squeaky ball (on that no longer squeaked) was higher value than a tennis ball.
We have a dog who will ONLY run for one of those, everything else he'll just spit out! We have regular tennis balls, those formerly squeaky Kong tennis balls, and then compression balls. Boxloading gets complicated with 4 different kinds of balls, 3 of them tennis balls. We did have 5 different balls, but we recently switched one of the little dogs to a squishy pool ball.
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