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We've just been doing restrained recalls with Cava for past practices with the idea that we want her driving to the tug without having to think about anything else. We've worked her with a variety of different dogs, sometimes side by side, sometimes running towards each other from the opposite direction, which simulates a passing situation.

Last weekend we decided to introduce her to jumps - first one, then two, then three. She thought this was great fun, but we did need to use gates to keep her in the lane. Our jump bases are only 6" high so she's not really jumping, it's more about learning to stay in the lane and figure out her striding. She did fine until we added the third jump, then this happened. Oops! :D She's a bit of a wrecking ball, lol.


For her last run of the day, we replaced the first jump with a stride bump, which is a piece of gutter on the ground so she just has to navigate the 2nd and 3rd jumps. She's still figuring it out, but what I love about this video is that she looks over at Spock in the other lane, then collects herself before taking off. She's clearly aware that she's racing him.


My teammate Mindie who was restraining Cava at the box, took this picture of us as I was bringing her back for the next run. It was late in the afternoon and there were some cool cloud formations going on. She loves her tug!

 

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SO much training, Magwart! Every little bit is trained separately and then the pieces are put together. We always start with restrained recalls on the flat (no jumps). From there we'll introduce other dogs on the field, often doing nothing at first then being more exciting and distracting. When we're ready for side by side recalls with another dog we use a quieter, lower energy dog, which is why we're working with Spock. We'll work up to louder, higher energy dogs as appropriate. And at first, the dogs are far apart and we stagger the releases. We work towards being able to reduce the distance between the dogs, and to release them at the same time.

Same thing with opposite direction flat recalls - lots of distance between them and a staggered release, sometimes with a gate between them as a physical barrier, sometimes we'll use human blockers as a precaution. We'll start to shrink the distance and reduce the stagger. With the jumps we backchain, doing just one, then two, then three, then four, using gates as necessary. We'll start with the green dog released slightly earlier, as in these videos, then at the same time, and then with the green dog after the experienced dog. So much of training is desensitizing dogs to running with a dog next to them without crossing over and chasing, and to running towards another dog and passing by them in close quarters.

And then there's the box turn, which I don't plan to start working on until she's about 15 months old. We do lots of drills at practice, even with experienced racers, much of it focused on maintaining a good box turn. A good swimmers turn is not only faster, it's also easier on the dog's body and safer.
 

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This is from September, the first time we did opposite direction flat recalls. As the gate was faded out she gave Bogie a hard look, then went towards him in the next run. For the last run, we put the gate back so she could finish on a good note. We pushed her pretty hard, this was a lot for her first time and I was pleased with how well she did even though it wasn't perfect. She really likes other dogs so I knew it would be a challenge for her.

 

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nice, I never knew how they taught this to dogs. Those videos are cool but for some reason the last one you posted made both of my dogs woof and bark.
 

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Of all the events, the Fly Ball dogs always seem to have the most fun. Someday I want to do it....someday.
That's what I love best about the sport, the dogs are having an absolute blast!
 

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A friend of mine just started Flyball this year with her Belgian Shepherd and has been posting her training videos on Instagram. It's so cool to watch a dog grow in a sport, even if it isn't yours! :grin2:


I love the photo! It looks like so much fun. Maybe someday I'll give it a try.
 
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Cool, do you know what team she races on?

Another thing I love about the sport is the cooperative nature of it. Not just within a club, but also with other clubs. Since it's a team sport, everyone is invested in making each other's dogs successful and we all work together at practice towards that goal. It doesn't matter how great your dog is if other dogs on the team keep messing up, or vice versa. None of you are going to win any points. Other people with experienced dogs helped me and Halo, and we helped other green dogs once she was racing full time.

It's also not unusual for clubs to be short a person or a dog, and require help from other clubs. Sometimes they need a box loader, or a pass caller, or they have an extra dog and need a handler to race it. And the Open division is for dogs from different clubs to race together on the same team, although they don't have to be from different clubs to be entered in Open. So if a club is short a dog for a full team lineup they can hook up with another club that has an extra dog that doesn't fit on one of their teams. It's a competitive sport, but in a pretty friendly way.
 

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That’s a lot of work getting her up to speed, but she really looks to be enjoying it all.

It's a deceptively simple sport compared to some others. The dogs are basically doing the same thing over and over again, unlike agility courses which are different every time, and there aren't a bunch of different obstacles for the dogs to master. But the training is much more involved than it may look. It can take a year or more to get a dog ready to race in tournaments, sometimes several years. Halo was less than that, about 8-1/2 months from the time we started taking classes with the first club I joined to her first tournament, but she was over 2-1/2 years old so there were no physical restrictions on what she could do, and she also had a lot of basic OB training and a solid retrieve prior to starting flyball. Cava will obviously take longer since I'm restricting what we do while her bones and joints develop.

She really is loving it so far, we just need to get that freight train under some semblance of control! :wild:
 
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