Dutch and I just started flyball last week. We did Novice Agility in the summer and he seemed to enjoy it as something to do, but I thought he might prefer flyball because he is ball motivated. Boy was I right. The first night the instructor just had the dogs jumping hurdles, which he does in agility, but this week when she introduced the ball he went crazy... while we were waiting in line for our
turn(s), he was extremely excited and barked as if to say "Let me at it!". The instructor said that's exactly the attitude you want your dog to have.
I enrolled him in Novice Agility again because I didn't want him to fall behind...my sister and sister-in-law have their dogs in the class, and I didn't want them to improve their skills while Dutch was off taking flyball. I was concerned that two classes in one evening, only 45 minutes apart, would be too much for him...I shouldn't have worried about it - he has more than enough energy.
I wouldn't worry as much about energy - labs have a plenty - but more about concentration. Depending what kinds of things you are doing the dog may tire of the "thinking". Just watch out for that!
You must have some advanced flyball class! We STILL are not "sending" the dogs to the box as they are learning their turns. The turn takes forever to get.
Are you not working the turn? Meaning does the dog just put the front paws on teh box and swing back? Or did they just master the turn? (I get how he already knew teh jumps - those are nothing after doing some agility!)
As I mentioned, it was just the second night of the novice class. The instructor was trying to get the dogs to understand that there is a "prize" for jumping over the hurdles. The first few times each of the dogs ran, most of them weren't interested in the ball at all once they got to the box. The first three times, Dutch ran really fast to the end of the lane, stopped short, and licked the instructor who was at the box. About halfway into the class, she changed positions and actually started the dog, and the dog's handler crouched at the box...that's when things started to make more sense to the dogs.
The turn takes forever. I've been going once a week at least since may and he's now just doing it reliably (fingers crossed that he doesn't regress ... AGAIN). Now we're adding the ball.
Amazing how different the classes are! My teacher insists on teaching the proper turn. ANd will not move on to the ball until the dog has the proper turn (all four feet on box). She said it's for the dog's safety and for speed.
Like everything else there are lots of opinions on that. I like my teacher so I haven't moved to another club or class.
There are two ways to learn the "turn". One - using a cone you teach the dog to "go around". Taking baby steps from leading them wtih a treat to eventually back up and "sending them". Once they have that you put the cone in front of the box (but with lots of room). Send the dog until he's used to there being a box nearby. Then you move the cone back and back and back until it's right up to the box so he's going on the box to get around the cone.
If the dog isn't getting the back paws on the box then you have to lead them up with a treat in your hand (leaning up high on the box so they HAVE to move up).
Whenever the dog does what we want the to it's a big time party.
Are you just sending the dog over the jumps to the box in the first class! Wowzers that's such a different way of going about it!
Dutch finished his flyball class and the instructor gave him a "Top Dawg" award for second place in the class (there were 8 dogs). Since the next class through the Parks Department doesn't start until mid-January, I contacted a flyball club. They allowed me to bring him to a class they had in session, and said they would evaluate him, and if he showed potential they would let him come to their regular Tuesday night practices. He did well enough to be invited back, but had a hard time focusing due to the new surroundings...there were goats and pigs in nearby pens. The club members were REALLY interested in my sister's dog because she is small and they need small dogs.
Anyway, they have not introduced the ball yet either..they are working on the swimmers turn.
I would really like him to go to their weekly practice, but I need to find out what kind of commitment I will be making to competing in tournaments. We go to our house in the mountains every other weekend, so I'm not always available.