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Flyball: a calmer approach?j


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We just went to our first flyball class and I'm a bit worried about restrained recalls. Are they very important? I don't like the way my dog got so worked up when I ran away from him, is there a different exercised. He's had bad sepration anxiety problems, and I just don't feel comfortable abot the way he's reacting. I don't want the crazy to spill over in "normal" life.

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You've only been to the one class? Honestly, I'd ask you to give it a few more classes before you make any sort of judgment. Of course, it's your dog, and you have the right to object to the exercise, but don't be surprised if the instructor disagrees with you. Restrained recalls are a big part of flyball.

 

At our club, we always start with restrained recalls. In every class, in every practice. Every tournament, most teams warm up before races with quick restrained recalls. For beginner dogs, maybe it takes a time or two to get used to it, but I don't think the dogs are seriously bothered by being held back from their owners. Most do bark and strain to run, but that's what we want. We're trying to build a strong drive for the dog to want to run back to it's owner as fast as possible. The game is all about speed, after all. :rolleyes: Excitement for the dog to run directly back to the owner is essential. Not only does it mean a faster dog, it means a dog who is not interested in running after the dog in the other lane, or getting otherwise distracted on the runback. Give it a few more classes and I bet you may get a sense that Jude isn't whining/barking out of worry, but rather just out of the excitement of it all.

 

To answer your last questions, yes, if Jude were in my flyball class, I would want him to do restrained recalls. As for disagreements with the instructor, we're always open to listen to what an owner has to say, sometimes we can accomodate what they want, others we have to say "this is the way we do it" and they can take it or leave it. If you truly feel you want a calmer, quieter flyball dog, I guess you could ask to leave him in a stay and then release him with a come command, but that sounds like an obedience recall, not a flyball recall. Just sayin'. :D If your instructor is OK with it, try it. However, don't be surprised if he does not have as fast as runback to you as you'd like later on down the line.

 

This is kind of a rushed response, I've got to get to work, but if I can think of more to add later, I will.

 

ETA to a few more random thoughts after I got to work.

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Restrained recalls are definitely a big part of flyball. If you want to think about it as an obedience exercise think of it as creating a better recall to you and normally this also creates a faster recall even outside flyball. The exercise is basically a chase game. The dog is to chase you as fast as possible. Depending on the club's training methods, the next step could be to add one jump into the mix, then 2, etc... a lot depends on the training by the club and the dog itself. Another aspect of the restrained recalls is teaching the dog to come to YOU and not visit with other people and other dogs. I promote the teasing for lesser drive dogs. For high drive dogs that don't need the extra motivation, I don't worry so much about the teasing. I will have the Owner/Handler take off running and as they are running, I will have them call the dog and release immediately. The exercise can be done in different ways.

 

If your dog is going bonkers and you are afraid of messing up the recall command, choose a different command to use in flyball.

 

We have a lady on the club with border collies. She shows the dogs and does competition obedience. She does NOT allow barking, whining, etc... Her dogs do not make sounds EXCEPT in flyball. She decided to allow them to bark some but not constant barking. She considerd flyball a release for her dogs and they know the difference beween being in flyball and being outside of flyball and how they must act.

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Makes sense guys, I'm jut being a worry wort here. I think I will talk to the instrutor an see if she'll release him a bit faster as that was definetely an anxious bark as opposed to a fun one from him. But I'll give itmore time to see if he kerns to accept it a bit more. He's already a very me ( and more so me with ball) focused dog, and a quick hello to other dogs (accomplished in the two minutes before a class) and then he acts as if they aren't even around, lol. Typical bc snob.

 

He's grown so much from when he used to have a pretty bad seperation issue from me (horrendous barking and howling) and he's such a calmer mature dog these days that I jut hope this doesn't I duuno revert back to that state. I hope he distinguishes quickly as it's own exercise.

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I would explain to the instructor that he has separation anxiety and you have worked hard to get it under control and that you would like them to release him sooner before he gets to the point of anxious barking. They may not realize that was what he was doing. You would be amazed at the different sounds that come from the dogs so since they do not know your dog then they don't know he has had some problems in the past. Then again, if you are being a worry-wort then you may be misconstruing his barking thinking it was an anxious but when it was really an overly excited bark. It is hard to tell sometimes but you know your dog.

 

Most instructors are willing to listen BUT the students have to be willing to talk to us. Yes I am the trainer for my club. I have students that will talk a lot, some hardly at all and some who just won't listen. I would prefer a student to ask for their dog to be trained a little different than for the student to give up before giving me a chance to find a better way. No 2 dogs can be trained the same. You will always have to alter your methods even if slightly to get different dogs trained.

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If it makes you more comfortable, ask the holder to release your dog a little sooner. I have to say I only know a little about seperation anxiety, but I don't think you can compare a dog who is anxious when left alone, to a dog that can still see his owner, who is within, what, 100 feet of him? It just doesn't seem like the same issue, so I doubt he'd revert back. I don't want to sound condescending, and I realize I'm not there to see it, but it does seem like maybe you're being a bit of a worry-wart (I understand, really! :rolleyes: ). That's why I think I'd give it another class or two before you made a judgment that the exercise is not good (as is) for Jude. You may realize that what you think is worried barking, is him getting reved up to run/chase after you.

 

For most dogs, the restrained recall ends up being the funnest part of training!

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Very good replies. ^^^^^

 

I am not as familiar with flyball, but I know that one of the top agility trainers, Susan Garrett in Canada, recommends and teaches restrained recalls -- mainly as a tool to get 100% recall success. Important mainly for everyday life skills.

 

I prefer that my dog have a great recall -- even if he has to turn in mid-stride while chasing a deer. I think that restrained recalls have helped. I don't care if he watches me (a la obedience dogs), but he does have to be tuned into my verbals.

 

Jovi

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I have 2 dogs that both took a few times to understand the restrained recall game. My little dog Poe has some major impulse control issues and would get very very frustrated waiting for the release. It took her a few times to really trust that the handler would release her and that she would actually get her treat at the end. I do a restrained recall before every race during a tournament and she is really calm about them now and gets excited to see her friends when I hand her off at the box.

 

Jackson is an older wild stray that is EXTREMELY focused on me. He's just started doing a little training at practice and at first he was similar. He would lean away from the holder, seemed anxious, didn't like being handled. I just found a few teammates that he knew from disc (he has a core group of "safe" people from our disc dog club) and explained that they couldn't physically move him into position and he really has gotten into it. The exercise has really helped with his anxiety over being handled by other people, has improved his confidence at a distance, and has really made a difference with his speed. I have a basic recall in disc and he is pretty slow coming back. But just the few months of restrained recalls and training for flyball has really helped him have a more balanced run out and run back. Now my big quirky boy is doing restrained recalls to other team mates and really loving the game. Just a little relaxing on my part and modifying recalls to suit my dog have been a big help.

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If you truly feel you want a calmer, quieter flyball dog, I guess you could ask to leave him in a stay and then release him with a come command, but that sounds like an obedience recall, not a flyball recall. Just sayin'. :rolleyes:

 

 

Hi,

 

Like others have suggested, talk to your instructor. It's important to communicate with him/her.

 

We do restrained recalls all the time with our obedience dogs and the dogs love doing them! We want our obedience dogs doing fast, focused, committed realls too=)

 

Happy Training~

 

Janet

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I have 2 dogs that both took a few times to understand the restrained recall game. My little dog Poe has some major impulse control issues and would get very very frustrated waiting for the release. It took her a few times to really trust that the handler would release her and that she would actually get her treat at the end. I do a restrained recall before every race during a tournament and she is really calm about them now and gets excited to see her friends when I hand her off at the box.

 

Jackson is an older wild stray that is EXTREMELY focused on me. He's just started doing a little training at practice and at first he was similar. He would lean away from the holder, seemed anxious, didn't like being handled. I just found a few teammates that he knew from disc (he has a core group of "safe" people from our disc dog club) and explained that they couldn't physically move him into position and he really has gotten into it. The exercise has really helped with his anxiety over being handled by other people, has improved his confidence at a distance, and has really made a difference with his speed. I have a basic recall in disc and he is pretty slow coming back. But just the few months of restrained recalls and training for flyball has really helped him have a more balanced run out and run back. Now my big quirky boy is doing restrained recalls to other team mates and really loving the game. Just a little relaxing on my part and modifying recalls to suit my dog have been a big help.

 

Is this Poe from 4DN. I never realized it. This is Kim from FBI.

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I can't speak for Flyball, but we have used restrained recalls with Dean in Agility. One thing that sounds different from what you are doing - and maybe your instructor would be open to trying this - is that the instant I called "OK!", the instructor let go of him. As I was running away, the instructor revved him up with "reeeeady . . . reeeeeeeady!" but once the release was given, the instructor let him go.

 

I'm with you on one thing. When I call a release or the dog's name, it is time to let the dog go so he can respond immediately. The point is not to frustrate the dog, but to get the excitement level high. Dean would have gotten extremely frustrated if he had not been able to release when I gave the release.

 

Again, I'm not in Flyball, but Agility, so there could be some difference there. But in terms of what is good for my dog mentally, I would not allow someone to continue to hold him after the release was given, even if I had to give up the sport. I have no problem calling out revvy things like "reeeeady" but a release is a release for my dogs and I don't want my dogs to learn that they might be held back upon release.

 

Interestingly, Dean got to a point where he got very annoyed with the restrained recall and he would try to bypass the restrained part when we went to set him up for it. At that point, we abandoned it and started setting him up in a start line stay. I'm not sure if he was uncomfortable with the level of excitement that he was feeling with the restraint (entirely possible with Dean) or if he just felt ready to do it on his own. In any case, he was ready by then to start going back to an independent start line stay and since that's the ultimate goal, we moved to that. Again, though, that is Agility.

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I can't speak for Flyball, but we have used restrained recalls with Dean in Agility. One thing that sounds different from what you are doing - and maybe your instructor would be open to trying this - is that the instant I called "OK!", the instructor let go of him. As I was running away, the instructor revved him up with "reeeeady . . . reeeeeeeady!" but once the release was given, the instructor let him go.

 

I'm with you on one thing. When I call a release or the dog's name, it is time to let the dog go so he can respond immediately. The point is not to frustrate the dog, but to get the excitement level high. Dean would have gotten extremely frustrated if he had not been able to release when I gave the release.

 

I can't speak for everyone, but when we do restrained recalls in flyball, there is not really a release given by the handler. It works as you described the agility restrained recalls, with the holder reving the dog up "reaaaaddy, set, GO!", but the dog is released on the holder's "GO!", not from the owner, who is supposed to be running like crazy away from the dog, calling their name, dragging the tug, etc.

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There are a number of beneficial reasons to do a restrained recall, most of which have already been mentioned. As your dog gets accustomed to this exercise, any anxiety on his and your part should subside. You can also practice the restrained recall game with a friend or family member in a local park or your backyard. It's just that - a game.

 

Besides helping to build drive and therefore speed, holding a dog for a recall lets him focus on the task at hand - running to you. The dog shouldn't have to be worrying about holding a stay amidst extreme distractions. The game isn't about a stay, it's about running. There's no release word on a restrained recall.

 

About the "safety" issue, any instructor should ask if all dogs are ok being held by strangers before any recalls begin. I've had some who weren't ok with this, so we used alternate methods (stay, long line, family member, etc).

 

Good luck with the game and ask questions in class if you don't understand the reasons for something.

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I can't speak for everyone, but when we do restrained recalls in flyball, there is not really a release given by the handler. It works as you described the agility restrained recalls, with the holder reving the dog up "reaaaaddy, set, GO!", but the dog is released on the holder's "GO!", not from the owner, who is supposed to be running like crazy away from the dog, calling their name, dragging the tug, etc.

 

In that example, what I would not do is call the dog's name. I would run, drag the tug, or call nonsense (woohoo, for instance). But I treat my dog's name the same as a release. If I call the dog's name, the dog is to come.

 

That's a personal preference thing. I do use my dog's name as a release, which not everyone does. I know this might seem nitpicky, but it's all about being consistent and clear. :rolleyes:

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In that example, what I would not do is call the dog's name. I would run, drag the tug, or call nonsense (woohoo, for instance). But I treat my dog's name the same as a release. If I call the dog's name, the dog is to come.

 

That's a personal preference thing. I do use my dog's name as a release, which not everyone does. I know this might seem nitpicky, but it's all about being consistent and clear. :rolleyes:

 

Oh, ok. You mentioned saying "OK!" earlier, so I thought that would be the release. I'm sure woo hooing or whatever would work just as well. :D

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For me I don't use restrained recalls at all. I don't see anything wrong with them but my dogs have a speedy recall anyway and if it isn't I can amp it up without a restrained recall. I was also told to always sound excited but it doesn't work for me. I just ask my dog if she is ready and she will reply, then I know she is. Squealing at her will not do any good. She is a talker and I have learnt to accept that as long as it doesn't interfere with any commands, I just see it as her way of telling me she is rearing to go and for a dog that had motivational issues I am more than happy with that. My puppy on the other hand is the deadly silent kind. She doesn't look ready and is busy right up until I bring her into the ring trying to smooch kisses off everyone but when I lead out she has a devil look in her eyes and rips around at warp speed. Then is back to kissy girl the second we finish.

 

As for the recalls I have never and probably will never use my dogs name as a recall. Mainly because If I need to get my dogs attention I will say their name but expect them to stay. In a restrained recall I would just amp them up saying "you ready, you ready you ready" then release with their release word. I would expect the holder to let go instantly when I release them. I don't see how it can mess up their release word.

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