Flyball - Box Turns

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Postby maberi » March 9th, 2009, 10:24 am

Does anyone have any good online resources for how to train these?

Kayden's back at flyball and I want to work on this with him at home during the week. Right now he is hitting the box so hard on the way down that he is actually flipping over it which is kind of comical but not at all practical.

He ran a 4.5 last night after flipping over the box so I figure if I can get a box turn on him that should shave a bit of time off.
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 9th, 2009, 10:27 am

I've got to search for my links...I lost all of mine when my computer crashed. I'll post them when I get them.

I'm confused when you say he's flipping over it...how is he hitting it now...? What do you use to get him up on the box, or is he only hittting with two feet? Describe this more.
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Postby maberi » March 9th, 2009, 10:35 am

He is hitting the box head on at full speed with his two front feet which triggers the box but then because of the momentum, his rear is driving up into the air (picture a dog doing a handstand).

We don't really teach box turns so some of the dogs have actually developed natural box turns while others will slow down enough so that when they are actually at the box, they have come to a stop.

I've seen people practicing the turns at tournaments but I'm just not sure how to get started with it. I can borrow one of our boxes and work with Kayden at home but obviously would like to stop this current behavior ASAP.
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 9th, 2009, 10:40 am

Here's a good link with different methods posted...I use different things for different dogs, so I like this page!

http://www.squidoo.com/flyballboxturn#module8282925

I started with target training...targeting front feet to a piece of duct tape, and moved it on to the shoot...with a jump in front. Then clicked for getting all the way up to "touch". At the same time I was training the touch and on/off the shoot, I was working on the A-frame, steps, flyball box, shoot, etc...to reinforce an agility "two on/two off" (back feet on the surface). This really helped them understand that the back feet got the click/treat.

That's a really basic idea of what I did with my guys. I would highly recommend watching some Springloaded DVDs or get someone to come in and teach you all...via a workshop. It's much easier to see than to read. Come down this way sometime and do the sessions with Julie Jenkins...worth every penny. I'm not a big fan of the Robbins though...I think they were a waste of money.

As for what he's doing now...STOP right now. >( If you want a decent box turn, you CANNOT continue the way you are going. Letting the dog run willy nilly up the box and letting them work it out is dangerous and stupid. You're going to ruin your dog that way. UGH. :nono:

My dogs (team dogs) don't even start running to the box until their box turn is SOLID. Until then, they do recalls over the jumps and work on passing and stuff. Box work is separate until they are good and consistent on the box.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 9th, 2009, 10:47 am

"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby maberi » March 9th, 2009, 10:47 am

Well you bring up an interesting point Erin. From what I have been told actual box or swimmer's turns put more stress on the dog in the long run because of the force exerted when the dog pushes off with their back legs.

I know very little to nothing about it so I couldn't really agree or disagree
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Postby BullyLady » March 9th, 2009, 10:48 am

TheRedQueen wrote:As for what he's doing now...STOP right now. >( If you want a decent box turn, you CANNOT continue the way you are going. Letting the dog run willy nilly up the box and letting them work it out is dangerous and stupid. You're going to ruin your dog that way. UGH. :nono:


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Postby TheRedQueen » March 9th, 2009, 10:51 am

maberi wrote:Well you bring up an interesting point Erin. From what I have been told actual box or swimmer's turns put more stress on the dog in the long run because of the force exerted when the dog pushes off with their back legs.

I know very little to nothing about it so I couldn't really agree or disagree


Now who in the world told you that? :confused:

Why would the top teams all be training swimmers turns if they were dangerous? Why would every sports vet I know say that swimmers turns are the way to go if you want your dog to remain sound? Why would all my friends with ACL repair dogs say that their sports vets told them that their dog can return to flyball only if they have a good turn?
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby Hundilein » March 9th, 2009, 10:52 am

Ditto to what Erin said. Hannah was trained by letting her figure it out and her turn is crappy. I've retrained it, and it's much better, but still not great. I wish I had known what I was doing when I first started with her.

We start out with a ramp and get the dogs jumping over a jump board onto the ramp and back off. We start out with the ramp on a low angle and gradually move it up as the dog is getting it. Then we switch to the box. Once they are doing a nice turn on the box, we add the ball. And once they are catching the ball and doing a nice turn, then we add the jumps in.

With Hannah, I also used a cone to retrain her turn, and then faded it out to just a jump board. I started out shaping her walking around the cone, then put it closer and closer to the box until she had to put all four feet on the box to get around the cone. This is not my favorite method, but it helped with her. I sometimes just have the dog wrap around the handler's legs with dogs who are a bit tentative at first about touching the box. It takes some coordination, but can help a lot to get them going.
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Postby maberi » March 9th, 2009, 11:01 am

Again, I'm just reiterating what I was told, so right or wrong, that is all I have to go off of.

In the past I have always thought that swimmers turns where designed to allow the dogs to retain as much speed and momentum as possible thus reducing their times.

Our team is definitely not the most competitive team out there (we aren't that concerned with times as we are in having clean fun runs) so that might have something to do with us not focusing in on the turns :|
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 9th, 2009, 11:14 am

We're also a team that is concerned with having fun too...we've never broken 20 seconds (which is unheard of for most teams in our area)...because we make sure even our slow dogs get points and get to run.

But, we also want our dogs to be safe and have a long healthy flyball career. Considering how many Vets we have on our team right now, and how the dogs with box turns are holding up compared to the dogs with crappy turns...I only train box turns from now on.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo

"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby maberi » March 9th, 2009, 11:21 am

Interesting food for thought, thanks Erin
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Postby SvcDogSawyer » March 9th, 2009, 2:34 pm

I don't know if this helps, but a head on box turn is like jumping off something and landing without bending your knees to cushion the impact. Just think of everything that happens to your body during that impact...all your joints and spine compress for an instant. Now just imagine that impact over and over again. The dog is less likely to slip coming off he box with a swimmers turn and there is a lot less joint/spinal compression.

I know dogs aren't built the same as people, but I'm pretty sure that the impact & joint/spinal compression affects a dogs skeletal structure in a negitive way.
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