Flyball dogs dragging handlers

Weight pull, Protection, Agility, Flyball... you name it!

Postby Hundilein » October 11th, 2009, 12:05 am

For those of you who play flyball, do you think it's possible to have a dog that is controlled until he gets into the ring (ie not dragging his handler into the building and to the ring) and then goes nuts and runs really well? If it is, do you think the dog runs slower because he's not allowed to act like a total fool on the way to the ring? Do you think letting the dog drag you into the ring and/or act like an idiot waiting to go into the ring makes them run faster? Does it tire them out before a race and actually make them slower?

I've heard a lot of people say that you can't do anything about dogs pulling on the way to the ring without ruining the dog's drive, but I've also seen fast dogs walk nicely (not completely calm and controlled, but not dragging their handlers either) into the ring and then do very well racing. Renee never gets excited at flyball. If letting her drag me into the ring would make her run under 6 seconds consistently, I'd probably do it. Hannah typically walked nicely with me because I had food, but I also just didn't let her drag me, even if we were on our way to a race. Partly because it's annoying to me when she pulls, partly because I have tendonitis in my elbow from walking dogs and her pulling aggravates it, and partly because I think it could tire her out before a race.
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Postby maberi » October 11th, 2009, 9:08 am

I think in any sport you can ask your dog to have some self control leading up to the competition (flyball included)

I HATE being dragged anywhere by my dogs but Earl certainly tries to do it with me in flyball. I've heard people say not to correct your dog in the agility ring, while tracking, during flyball etc... because you don't want to kill their drive. Maybe that is true with some very soft dogs, but most dogs if the sport is chosen correctly for them, LOVE what they are doing and no amount of corrections are going to override that drive for the sport. If you have a 15 lb Jack pulling you into the ring maybe it isn't a big deal, but when it is a 70 lb lab or 50 lb pit it is another story.

Look at the amazing obedience skills of the dogs in bitework. Their reward for all of that focus and heeling is the bite. I don't see why you can't ask your dog to give you a little focus and self control prior to you letting them go for the race and the ball. In each case the dog receives a reward for doing something.
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Postby maberi » October 11th, 2009, 10:26 am

PS - My statement "no amount of corrections are going to override that drive for the sport" is obviously not true in some circumstances
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Postby mnp13 » October 11th, 2009, 1:17 pm

I can't stand the way I've seen some people let their dogs act at flyball. Those damn flyball people are idiots. :wave2: hi Erin! :neener: oh yeah, and at agility, and at bitework, and at about any other sport where people say that if there is any obedience involved it "kills drive."

Frankly, I just plain, flat don't agree. Are we necessarily talking about precision, flashy, 200 point obedience? No. But I really don't see a need to have a dog in any activity acting like a complete uncontrollable moron. Excitement is one thing, but a dog can be excited and dancey and happy and still be obedient. Please don't get me wrong, my dogs do it too, but I'm working on it - I don't just shrug and excuse it.

I also think that basic obedience can be taught using positive methods - and when Erin was at my house in August, she said a phrase I had never heard before, and it totally changed my view of what she's been saying about training... "Positive does not mean permissive." And that is an interesting statement - you can keep a dog under control without squashing drive - because you can keep a dog under control without hammering the crap out of them.

Now, we all know that I believe in proofing with compulsion, :wink: and I'm not saying that I've changed that particular stance, but the topic here is basic control and manners and I think that is perfectly attainable without "ruining drive."

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Postby airwalk » October 11th, 2009, 3:03 pm

"Positive does not mean permissive."

That is superb!
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Postby Marinepits » October 11th, 2009, 5:28 pm

mnp13 wrote:But I really don't see a need to have a dog in any activity acting like a complete uncontrollable moron.


"Positive does not mean permissive."

Geeze, I know a few parents who need to learn what this means! :rolleyes2:
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 12th, 2009, 8:54 am

Score does NOT pull me into the ring...he acts like an idiot when I allow him to...because he likes to bark and intimidate the other team...and because that's part of flyball that I hapens. But he's not pulling me through the building with his toenails clawing the concrete like most border collies and mixes that we see on the "hard-body" teams. (our newly coined terms for the fast teams). I don't play that game. He walks nicely on a slip collar or harness (usually he's naked now except for his purple martingagle slip lead) and gets in the ring, I take off the leash and he turns right around and barks like an idiot at me until we're ready. He turns in some of the fastest times in our region...this past weekend, numerous 3.9s and 4.0s...highest was a 4.3. Then we put the leash back on, and walk politely out of the ring.

He got trained ringside from 9 weeks old, which is why he's the best at it...he learned to control himself in the environment FIRST. Sits, downs, etc ringside. THEN we worked on tugging and getting revved up ringside...and being able to calm down on cue...TUG-TUG-TUG...sit! (and no, there were never corrections...just click-treats).

As for the others, Inara does NOT pull me into the ring, and she turns in mid 4s...and can be a real bitch in the lane. Xander never pulled me into the ring, Ripley never did...Elwood did a little bit, but not like I think you're talking. Sawyer pulls into his bungee leash...but I allow that because it seems to help him stretch out his knees (he's got luxating patellas)...he's on a short bungee leash and pulls into it. But once he gets into the ring, and the leash comes off...he just stands there. He doesn't pull into his harness...though he creates the illusion of it, by leaning forward. People are always amazed when they run him because it looks like he'll pull you over. 8)

Do they walk along in heel, nah...they're out front on their leashes...they're allowed to move around freely, but they can't pull me...(partly because I'm often drunk...can't have a dog suddenly lunging on the end of my leash!)

And I never complain about time from my guys! lol Score beats all the start dogs usually...he beat every start dog he went up against at CanAm...he loves to race and beat the other dog...Sarah, you really would be impressed! He's truly amazing (yet, he doesn't claw his way into the ring! lol)
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