Saturday, September 8, 2012

Koira's Box Turns

Here is a video of Koira's box turns at flyball practice this week.


I wanted to reply to the first comment here, so others would be able to see my response.

First, yes, this is a big improvement over her turn this time last year. In fact, this upcoming tournament next weekend is the last tournament Koira ran in, afterwhich I pulled her from competition to retrain her box turn. At this point, there are things I would like to see better about her turn (her rear higher, no double hitting with her front feet). However, I would be perfectly happy if she kept this turn for the rest of her career in flyball, as long as it stuck once we start fading the props. The problem is, I don't think it will. Her rear is already pretty low, and I think that once we start fading the props, her rear is going to drop even more, and she will try to go back to a slam-and-grab where her back feet never come close to the box.

For the striding, its a little different. Generally, for most dogs in flyball, you want them to have three strides in and three strides out (between jump and box and jump). Dogs are faster on the ground than in the air, so when a dog takes two strides instead of three, they are losing time. Additionally, if a dog takes only two strides off the box, they often are launching themselves for the jump early, causing stretched out jumping, and increasing the risk of them slamming into one of the jumps. That said, it isn't something I am too worried about with Koira. I may see if a stride bump gives us three strides, and if that will stick, but to be honest, my main focus will be on getting her turn to remain high and tight, even when we start fading the props.

This entire year is one of the many reasons you should always be careful to train your dog right the first way, in anything. It takes way more time to retrain a proper behavior than it does to train the right behavior in the first place. Many people would probably have given up on changing Koira's turn and just let her run with it. I think she hits the box way too hard to make that a safe choice (though for a dog who doesn't run as fast or hit as hard, it would be something I would consider).


  1. Call me crazy, but this looks like an exceptional improvement from... last year when you filmed her turns? I would be so proud of her!

    How interesting that she's striding three times into the box and only two off it... can I ask why you want three? Maybe she doesn't need three strides because her box-launch is so powerful? She could be covering more ground just from the rebound itself. Is it better for her to collect that stride rather than bounce so far off the box for some reason?

  2. Huh, I've never paid any attention to how many strides Steve takes off the box. I do try to get three *to* the box because otherwise he takes off way too far away and hits too hard and too low.

    Steve had a beautiful box turn when we started. It's not as pretty now as it used to be....

  3. Hi Y'all!

    Just hoppin' by to say "hi".

    Have to admire y'all! I couldn't do it!

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  4. 3 strides from the box is optimal for most dogs because they travel faster running than leaping. It's really the only opportunity for the dog to efficiently accelerate on the ground.

    For larger dogs, it may not be optimal for them to get 3 out. I have a 55-pound male Malinois mix that can only take 3 out if his body is not horizontal on the box. So we've chosen to have a strong turn and have him do 2 strides out.

    Also, you see dogs that take 2, or even 1 stride, off the box and it messes with their striding on the entire return - most dogs in that case will double stride a jump to compensate and not crash a jump.