Part 2. - Wall Turns
We've been practicing our flyball wall turns almost daily, and if possible at multiple random intervals during the day (usually morning and evening since our afternoons have been blazing hot!).
We've had a few hiccups in our daily practice due to things breaking, our fridge/freezer unit decided to go on the fritz...nice of it to do that at the same time a water sprinkler pipe decided to break, and my car window motor possibly went out.... It will no longer roll up for me.
When it rains it pours right?
Dante is starting to get his wall turns! They're becoming much more consistent than when we first started, the ball is slowly increasing in value but he's learning that a tennis ball is a pretty fun toy too, what's really funny is that he can easily fit the whole ball in his mouth and it just disappears beneath his floppy chocolate face flaps of lovable squishiness. To make the ball a higher value and to get him to bring it all the way back to me we've found a way to incorporate tug into our training practice time. Dante loves to tug, it's his favorite game ever! So what we did was - when he brings the ball back I reach carefully into his mouth and we play tug! I know it sounds kind of crazy, but he really is VERY gentle with his mouth so I'm pretty comfortable grabbing onto the tennis ball with a couple fingers and tugging with him for it.
One thing that is super important in flyball is the turn off of the flyball box, now we don't have a flyball box to practice with but our trainer was kind enough to lend us some equipment to practice with until I can get my own. One way to teach a flyball box turn is to practice the mechanics of the turn on a wall, HERE is an awesome post by our trainer over at So Fly about proper box turns.
We've been practicing most of the time using a jump and the padded vertical board, but recently I saw a video where the trainer was teaching her dog to do the turn by jumping over the trainers knee. We decided to give it a go with Dante and he took to the method really quickly! After a few quick repetitions I was able to back away from the board a little bit and his turns were staying pretty high and tight which is what you want in a wall turn or "swimmers turn" as some people call it.
Ultimately what we are looking for is for Dante to land high with his front feet, followed by his back feet, and for his back to be horizontal when he's on the wall.
We're slowly getting it! We're also practicing him jumping quickly back and forth over a short jump, and nose touches to the end of a stick so that I can step further away from obstacles when training.
Happy Fit Dog Friday!
If you have a fast pup who loves to bounce and tug, you should consider flyball! There are no breed or size restrictions in flyball, your dog just needs to be good off-leash and friendly towards other dogs since they run on teams.
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