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In our practice last weekend we did some videotaping of the dogs' turns looking down from the box loader's perspective. I have two clips of Halo using two different props, and I made a video with each turn in real time and the slo-mo version at 10% speed right afterwards. It's pretty cool!

You can really see foot placement, especially in slow motion. One of my teammates is struggling with double hitting, (very experienced handler/trainer, young green dog) so it was nice to see Halo planting those feet, even if she could be more horizontal on the box:

 

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Nice :)
 

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Cool! Really nice!!

Can I ask you something about box work....do you care about where your dogs land in the lane coming off the box? I don't mean centered, but like how far off the box the dog is before her feet hit? Some of my team mates are obsessed with getting Nikon to come off the box faster, meaning hit the ground closer to the box. In theory I completely agree with this (less hang time on the box, dogs are faster running than jumping, yadda yadda), but the problem is that by now we've all conceded it's not possible for him to triple stride so why push his double stride farther back from the jump? In order to fit that triple stride some dogs have to be trained to get off the box sooner (like Indy, she's smaller but really leggy so we'll have to be careful to work in those three strides), but I guess I'm wondering...if the dog is not going to triple stride, what is the sense in doing all this work trying to get him to land within 6" of the edge of the box? That will pull his two strides forward which would make him launch earlier going back over the jumps which is what we *don't* want, right? Instead I've been working on getting Nikon to keep his head lower throughout the turn which also helps with less hang time on the box, but I don't know if I necessarily care to push him landing off the box quicker.
 

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That doesn't really make sense to me...don't you want them to use their rear to really push off the box?

This is a vid of a dog that is joining our team, I love her turn and she consistently runs low 3.7's. You can see in the video that she really pushes off the box and fully extends rather than just getting back on the ground ASAP.

 

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Can I ask you something about box work....do you care about where your dogs land in the lane coming off the box?
Yes, but. :D How close to the box they land obviously affects how many strides they take between the box and the jump. We look at where they land off the box in the context of the number of strides, not so much as its own separate thing. And with the larger dogs like Nikon and Halo, two strides are just more natural for them, so I would think it's less important that they land close to the box than a dog where you can use stride poles to manipulate them to get that extra stride in, and landing close to the box is the only way they'll have room to do it.

How he takes that first jump after the box affects how he goes over the other three jumps, as you said, so where they take off seems like it would be more important for the bigger dogs than where they land off the box. Two strides from close to the box could cause him to launch early and then land short over the rest of the jumps too. I wonder if they're just pushing for this because they're used to working with smaller dogs who they can get to take three strides and just haven't adjusted their thinking and training methods for a two stride dog?

When I'm running Halo at practice I'm not in on the conversation because I'm too far away to hear what everyone on the box end is saying. But when I'm doing the props, we are counting strides and noting where the dog lands off the box, or takes off over the jump, or both.
 

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OK, I think we are in agreement, I just wanted to make sure because I don't want to blindly trust their methods when our club is so small. I have the only GSDs (and Nikon is usually the only GSD in our local tournaments). We have people training with us now that have a few larger labs so I'm going to ask them as well. I suspect they work their labs the same way. I like to see all the ideas/props/possibilities, but I also don't want to spend weeks supposedly fixing something that isn't broken. Yes, I think that regardless of stride, the goal should be taking off as close as possible to the jump, so in Nikon's case with a double stride, that means focusing on balancing the two strides he has and not forcing him directly off the box. I would agree that they are stuck on this concept because they are working smaller dogs or dogs with completely different structure. To them if a Belgian can triple stride then Nikon should too. I have to constantly remind that their Belgian weighs *half* of Nikon, way less bone, and is a *square* dog whereas a GSD is bred to be rectangular in proportion and Nikon being a showline has a very "open" shoulder angle so naturally he has more reach in front. He wasn't bred to fit his strides into a flyball lane. If we added a few more feet between jumps and maybe 5 more feet in front of the box then he could triple stride and show complete extension over the jumps, but the reality is that the lane is the same for a 25lb Border Staffy as it is for a 70-80lb GSD.
 

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OK, I think we are in agreement, I just wanted to make sure because I don't want to blindly trust their methods when our club is so small. I have the only GSDs (and Nikon is usually the only GSD in our local tournaments). We have people training with us now that have a few larger labs so I'm going to ask them as well. I suspect they work their labs the same way. I like to see all the ideas/props/possibilities, but I also don't want to spend weeks supposedly fixing something that isn't broken. Yes, I think that regardless of stride, the goal should be taking off as close as possible to the jump, so in Nikon's case with a double stride, that means focusing on balancing the two strides he has and not forcing him directly off the box. I would agree that they are stuck on this concept because they are working smaller dogs or dogs with completely different structure. To them if a Belgian can triple stride then Nikon should too. I have to constantly remind that their Belgian weighs *half* of Nikon, way less bone, and is a *square* dog whereas a GSD is bred to be rectangular in proportion and Nikon being a showline has a very "open" shoulder angle so naturally he has more reach in front. He wasn't bred to fit his strides into a flyball lane. If we added a few more feet between jumps and maybe 5 more feet in front of the box then he could triple stride and show complete extension over the jumps, but the reality is that the lane is the same for a 25lb Border Staffy as it is for a 70-80lb GSD.
Yes, yes, and yes. :)
 

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Can you explain the props in your video? I have a similar setup for Nikon but my jump board is reversed (so he turns into the upright side, since he was coming a bit wide off the box last year) but I'm curious about other setups. Our team just got several more types of props to play with.
 

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Lies, in the second clip it's just a regular 6" high jump board with a 2" slat on top to make it 8" high. There's an upright on both sides, which you can't really see. There are also two "go bumps" - gutters on the ground for the go out to the box that are removed on the return from the box, and a side gutter (for rotation) that stays in place the whole time. We took a picture before we broke it down, this is what it looks like:



The one 6 feet from the box helps her not launch from too far away, so she doesn't hit the box too low. The angled one is to get the back end up higher. We just added that one recently.

The setup is the same in the first clip except for the jump board, it's our "itty bitty" prop instead. I don't think I have a picture of it anywhere, I can take one at our next practice. One of our teammates made it. It's a piece of wood that's 6" high and a few inches wider than the box, with legs that wrap around the sides of the box instead of uprights, and it's covered in white duct tape. We use it when we're fading out the props. We actually ended up duct taping a 2" slat to the top of the itty bitty prop last weekend to increase the height to 8", and really liked how it was working for all the dogs, so we may do a permanent fix to at least one of them (we have two).
 

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I got pics of the itty bitty prop today:





The 2" slat is duct taped to the top of the prop, an on the fly adaptation, making it 8" tall. Because we practice outdoors, the sides are green, to blend in with the grass.

This is what it looks like in front of the box:



And looking down from the boxloaders viewpoint, with Halo's prop setup:



This is how it looks to Halo:

 
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