First Club Practice!
Last night we got to meet the flyball club! I wasn't really sure what to expect for our first practice but I gotta say it was amazing meeting and helping out!
The club was really organized, after everyone helped to set up the flyball lanes, dogs were put into rotation using a whiteboard to list out names and orders.
Based on levels of experience, beginner dogs got to run in lanes by themselves while the more veteran dogs ran in pairs. Super distractable beginners, got a mini fence put in-between the lanes to help block the view of the other dog and lower the level of distraction.
Dante's first run was next to another beginning dog, a cute little Jack Russell who couldn't get her eyes off of him. They needed a fence. *Must be love..*
|Photo Credit - What is Flyball?|
So to warm up we began at the box, Dante wasn't so sure at first about a stranger restraining him but he quickly warmed up when he realized it's the same game we play at home.
Beginning at the box, the box loader held Dante back while I ran down the race lane - his goal was to successfully run the lane and take all four jumps ending with his reward at the start line.
One thing I learned in agility is where you position your body changes what your dog may choose to do. I wasn't sure Dante would complete all four jumps so I was baby stepping him by only asking him to do two jumps, this put me off to the side of the lane and so he veered and was not taking the jumps. Finally the loader suggested I go all the way to the end (start line), make direct eye contact and call him to me. It worked!! Dante took all four jumps!
After the warm up we began practicing our box turns and sequencing the jump to the box turn.
|Us practicing ball retrieval at home with Dante, his reward for bringing it back is that we'll play tug!|
Setting up for Success
Since it was our first practice in a new and very distracting setting, I wasn't asking for too much.
We started with just a couple box turns to remind him what he was supposed to be doing, then added in the ball retrieval. In case you don't remember, here is us practicing at home. At home we have been doing one jump, and using a prop which goes right in front of the box to teach the dogs to jump on the box. We need to start weaning out the use of the prop.
We then started backing up and adding in more distance. By the end of practice we were almost to the point of adding in a second jump!
I was surprised at how well Dante did! He's normally my space cadet who struggles to stay focused on me, but he did awesome! I'm a proud mama, he listened thought about taking off to say hi to another dog only once (I snagged him in time to remind him not to), and we accomplished more than I thought we would.
Ziva on the other hand, for being my confident agility girl was playing shy at practice. She was displaying a lot of her nervous behaviors, tail tucking, head down, slinking around looking at everything. She warmed up though! Her runaways were perfect, probably because she's my OCD princess (crazy story here), she veered once when she dropped the ball, self corrected, and still went over the proper jump! Love that brain of hers!
Her box turns though were sloppy and slow, unlike at home where slow is our only problem, but as we keep going her confidence will build so i'm not too worried. The whole club was wonderful and welcoming, like a big happy family! I never felt this way at agility practice so it's a refreshing change, probably because agility is such a solo sport though.
Box turns while weaning out the prop!
Continuing to practice Dante's dead ball retrievals.
Sending to the box from a further distance. Can't wait for next week! Sorry no pictures from practice last night.
|I call this one, "CHOMP!!"|