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Old 01-27-2013, 10:08 AM
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Cali Mae Cali Mae is offline
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Default What to practice in preparation for flyball?

We haven't heard back from the trainer yet, but we know she adopted a toddler from a neglectful situation a few years ago so we're assuming she's likely busy. He had been severely neglected and most of his time was spent in a high chair with very little interaction, so I can remember her being very busy with him and with therapists/doctors. We're hoping it's something minor though and that we'll be able to get a hold of her soon.

But until then, is there anything I might want to practice with Cali before we get started? I might start taking her to my aunt's and working on getting her to focus on me with other dogs trying to play with her, etc as well.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:47 AM
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Restrained recalls, striding over jumps, wall work, and dead retrieves were where we started.

Have a friend help get Cali comfortable with a stranger holding her back by the body and you will run away teasing her with a toy (or food), when she's amped and focused on getting to you and not other distractions, they will release. You will not stop until she catches you and then it's a celebration. Repeat with a variety of holders and in a variety of locations and distractions, use a long line in the public if you worry about her reliability.

Leave the striding for practice unless you know how to work with it.

Wall work is another I would leave but start looking at YouTube videos now to get a feel for it.

Dead retrieves are good for training the dog the ball has value even when it's not moving, the value is in the trade. Go out pick up dead ball, chase to mom, trade for reward and then repeat.

Does Cali tug? Will she retrieve in distraction? These can be worked on as well.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:31 PM
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I had practiced restrained recalls a fair bit in the summer but I'll have to start back up on those... as well as the tugging. She only likes to tug/play fetch on her own terms although usually if I get excited enough, she's happy to join in.

I have no sweet clue about wall work, or striding so I'll just watch videos as you suggested and wait for an actual practice with the trainer. She had told us to stop in last year to watch a practice and we did with Cali, and she gave Cali a little basic lesson on how to maneuver on the block to get the ball out... although it wasn't adjusted properly since the Aussies were currently practicing. I'm thinking Cali will really enjoy it, plus it'll give her an excuse to be around other dogs when she's not practicing.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali Mae View Post
I had practiced restrained recalls a fair bit in the summer but I'll have to start back up on those... as well as the tugging. She only likes to tug/play fetch on her own terms although usually if I get excited enough, she's happy to join in.
I would saying getting her more interested, more consistently in the tugging and bringing balls back to you (both thrown and "dead") would be the biggest priority to work on before flyball. Not because you have to have those things before starting but because things will go a lot easier if you do.

In our beginner flyball class, I teach the foundation portion and my flyball friend teaches the flyball portion. The things we work on in the foundation section are:

- Restrains: not restrained recalls (they do that in the flyball portion) but teaching the dog to pull into their harness/collar and get revved up when the owner gives the "ready???" cue. We usually do this to some sort of really high value treat in a bowl. Dogs who won't pull into a restrain at all start really close to the bowl and are release as soon as the handler feels any pressure. As they do better, the handler waits longer or moves further from the target (upping one thing at a time). The dogs who are already willing to pull into the restrain can do more distance or work on getting them more excited.

- Wrapping: circling around cones or jump uprights, first with the handler close by and helping and gradually getting further and further away and wrapping with speed. This is pretty much just like Silvia TRkman's early Cik and Cap training. Teaches the dog to learn how to use their body for making fast turns, to go away from you at speed and to go around objects at speed (cones or props may be used to help with box turns).

- Paw Targeting: taught mostly as a way to then get the dogs to interact with objects that make noise and/or move in a fun, positive way. Teach them to move skateboard, close cupboard doors, foot whack stuff that makes noise to help prepare them for the box (which both moves and makes noise).

- Four in/four on: get into a box, get on a box using increasingly smaller boxes over time. This is another thing that teaches dogs to interact with objects in different ways and as the boxes get smaller, it teaches them to have more awareness of their legs and encourages flexibility.

- Tricks: We work on other tricks that encourage balance, flexibility and coordination too. Sit up, stand on back legs, beginnings of a handstand, spin in both directions, back up, etc.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:38 AM
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Okay, thanks! I'll be sure to try all of those, likely a bit this afternoon.

As for tricks, she already will target things with her paw as long as I point and say "touch" but I'll try varying it up even more. Usually, I stick to small sized toys where she actually has to think about where she's putting her paw and I've also tried it with my nose, new objects, etc. She can spin to the right but I'll teach her to the left as well. I've actually been meaning to try and teach her how to do a hand stand, I know she can do it because if she gets too cold, she'll let me know by lifting both her hind legs off the ground. I'll have to google some videos on how to teach all of those things, it sounds like it'd be fun and I haven't taught her anything new for awhile.. although I started to teach her how to walk on her hind legs a little bit ago and spin around on her hind legs.

I'll try to find some boxes too, the issue with her is that she doesn't naturally want to jump in a box... I've tried before without success so I might need to start out with a really low-sided box and just start with her walking onto the surface.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:13 AM
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Yeah, having a dog who is willing to walk on strange surfaces is really nice when you're getting started. You don't want to waste half your class time convincing your dog that the box isn't going to kill her. Work on uneven surfaces, odd materials, different shapes and sizes, etc. Tricks will teach proprioception, which should also help build some confidence for working on novel surfaces.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:20 AM
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It sounds like the trainer only offers training classes in particular seasons... I think my mom had said she isn't starting flyball until later in spring, which is kind of a bummer. I have no clue if she offers any classes in winter but I might try to find out, or maybe if there is another club relatively close.

I started teaching Cali the "four on" yesterday. I just used a relatively short binder. It was just big enough for her to comfortably sit on, and was short enough for her to realize what I wanted her to do. She caught on fairly quick after she got over the "oh my gosh! I get rewarded for interacting with this?!?*continues to put two front paws on it and scratch at it while stopping to look up at me every three seconds wanting a reward*". Eventually though, she'd hop onto it after I pointed and said "go get on it", although there were times when she'd hop on really quick, hear the click, jump down, then lay down and wait for her reward.
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