Flyball or CGC

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RockyCody

Completely Boxer Crazy
Trying to decide what class to sign Rocky up for. Part of me wants to do flyball - does anyone do this with their boxer? I just keep watching videos and it's all small dogs and border collies, kind of like agility was.

But then I'm like - well for 5 more bucks I could try the CGC class....he's a pretty good dog but very treat motivated. Not sure I could get him to past CGC without treats......he's 2.5


WHAT SHOULD I DO?!
 

johann

Boxer Insane
I got Johann through his CGC testing without treats and he passed. It was actually good for us because it forced me to stop luring and start rewarding the correct behavior instead.

Flyball does look like fun...they'd have to make big jumps for Rocky. :LOL:
 

Sansal

Boxer Insane
I did get both Happy and Sky through the cgc without treats. I honestly thought there is no way Happy would ever be able to do it. But she did! If you think you need to work or if you want to work on basic behavior I would take the cgc but if you just want to have fun, take the flyball class. I haven't taken one (not offered close enough to where I live) but it lookks like a super fun thing to do. Not sure what kind of skills you have to bring with you to do flyball, definitely the ability to work off leash I would think.
 

RockyCody

Completely Boxer Crazy
I am worried Rocky will get bored with the CGC class and then act like a puppy just out of frustration, you know?

He has done 3 agility classes, the last one was mostly off leash and he did pretty well so I'm not too worried about the off leash aspect of flyball. It would be SO fun :)

but I also want to get him certified...he's got a cute face and he's good with old people - was awesome with my grandpa before he passed away - in his wheelchair and with oxygen and it didn't even phase him!

Maybe I could do flyball now - and get Rocky CGC next year.....when he's a little 'older' and might do better :)

Ugh! don't nkow what to do! LOL
 

TwoDogs

Boxer Insane
I run my dogs in flyball and am the training director for my flyball team. Flyball is a great sport, but it is deceiving. It looks easy, but there is a fair amount of training that goes into it. Additionally, it is a team sport so once you have trained your dog and joined a team, you have a responibility to your teammates. Teams are 4 dog/handler pairs and you enter tournaments as a team. If you are unwilling to travel to tournaments, or your schedule doesn't allow it, then you aren't going to be much good to your team. There ARE clubs that are large and have many members so they are willing to have part-time members or accomodate members that can't compete frequently, but many clubs are smaller and rely on regular participation from all their members so that they can enter and compete in tournaments.

There are two sanctioning bodies for flyball, NAFA and UFli. NAFA tournaments are strictly teams of 4 dogs/handlers. UFli allows dogs to compete singly and in pairs, but you still need to belong to a registered club. There is probably more flexibility for part-time recreational competitors if the club is large and runs UFli.

As far as what foundation is needed before competing in flyball. Your dog needs to have an excellent recall in the face of lots of big distractions. Your dog needs to be relaxed around lots of other people and off leash dogs. Your dog needs to be able to be relaxed while crated for extended periods of time in a busy, loud venue. Being able to pass the CGC would give you a great foundation for flyball. We require that dogs have a basic obedience class under their belts, have a somewhat decent recall, not be dog aggressive, and have had a vet workup within the last year before we will accept them into our beginner classes.

That being said, flyball training can take a long time, so while you are working on specific flyball skills, you can also be working on all the stuff that your dog will need to be able to cope with and ignore when in the competition environment. We have a dog on our team that has been training for 2 years and she is just entering her first tournament. She had huge impulse control issues. She can play the sport perfectly if running by herself and has been doing so for the better part of a year in practice, but she couldn't cope with the environment and having other dogs running at the same time.

Flyball isn't like agility. You don't see "fun matches" at local facilities where people can experience running their dog outside of competition. Basically, you take a beginner class and if you are interested and your dog shows some promise you join a club and train your dog with the ultimate goal being to compete in tournaments on a team. There isn't really lots of opportunities to play flyball "just for fun" without traveling to tournaments.

Tournament entries can range from $120-$160 (US) for a two-day tournament. That is split between 4-6 dog/handler pairs. Entries are pretty affordable, but you will need to cover transportation costs and accomodations. My club is sending teams to at least 6 tournaments this year--maybe more if we attend any out-of-region tournaments. I'm in New England US so my travel isn't very far but I've gone to tourneys in Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, and Canada. Unlike other dog sports, flyball is a team sport and depends on the participation of an entire team. Our club only has 2 full teams to send, so if I don't travel, then other members miss out on a chance to play the game.

Feel free to ask any question you have about the sport. I'm more than happy to answer.
 

TwoDogs

Boxer Insane
Oh, and as for the size of the jumps, they are determined by the height of the smallest dog on your team. That's why alot of teams will run one little dog (Jack Russell Terriers are common) with 3 medium or large dogs so the jumps are low. The little dog is called the "height dog" because he sets the height of the jumps. Your dog has to be fine with and able to ignore little dogs running fast and yapping their heads off if you want to run flyball. If you have a fast, reliable height dog, you will be a valuable asset to your club.
 

whiskers

Boxer Insane
If you do want him to take the CGC you could just take the test without doing a class. It's only $10 so even if he doesn't pass, you'll at least get to see which things need work and which things he does well, without being out too much money. I would say that all the items on the CGC can pretty easily be taught at home anyway.... a dog that is well behaved and has good manners in public has a pretty good chance of passing.

However, the skills needed to pass the CGC are pretty basic, good foundation skills for any dog to have if they are going to be doing any sports... never a bad idea to brush up on obedience before taking "fun" classes.
 

RockyCody

Completely Boxer Crazy
Thank you all for the great information!

Rocky has done a puppy class, basic obedience, and 3 agility classes - the last one was a lot of work off leash while other dogs were worknig off leash and for the most part he was able to focus on me and follow what I was asking of him.

His recall is PRETTY good - even starting to come back to me at the dog park - so he's come a LONG way from that A.D.D. puppy at the park to actually looking and seeing where mama is - and coming when I yell ROCKY FRONT!

TwoDogs - the thing you mentioned about having a responsibility towards a team - that's what makes me a LITTLE nervous - i'd hate to let them down, you know? But Rocky LOVES tennis balls, LOVES running and jumping over stuff (our baby gates at home...anything that he can jump over he will) - so I'm hoping if I can get him to focus enough we may actually be able to join a team/club. I watched some youtube videos and it's a bit intense/scary.....I don't know if I could see him running past another dog who is on their way back...but I guess we could try the beginner class and see how he does and go from there.

I think we'd need SOME work on CGC test items- supervised seperation, and brushing - he HATES being brushed. always tries to eat the brush...so that would probably make him fail I guess. :( But the last few classes we've went to have been fun/interactive/obstacle agility classes and he LOVES to participate. He is used to sitting/laying in the crate with open door and staying there until I release - when we are talking in agility class or when it's another dog's turn. He developed that skill with the last two agility classes which was nice.

Ah - so torn. Not sure what to do.....flyball looks So fun though.

Not sure what way we are going to go yet....*sigh*
 

TwoDogs

Boxer Insane
TwoDogs - the thing you mentioned about having a responsibility towards a team - that's what makes me a LITTLE nervous - i'd hate to let them down, you know? But Rocky LOVES tennis balls, LOVES running and jumping over stuff (our baby gates at home...anything that he can jump over he will) - so I'm hoping if I can get him to focus enough we may actually be able to join a team/club. I watched some youtube videos and it's a bit intense/scary.....I don't know if I could see him running past another dog who is on their way back...but I guess we could try the beginner class and see how he does and go from there.

Don't worry about having to pass a dog right away, that will come much later. Even when a dog is ready for passing into another dog, it isn't unusual for the passes to be really wide until the dog is comfortable with passing. You will not be doing nose to nose passes at the line until your dog is reliable with all the other aspects of the game. Even then, there are plenty of dogs who never get comfortable with really tight passes and wind up running their entire flyball careers being released after the dog running ahead of them has passed completely by them. It doesn't make for the fastest team time, but it is done.

If you have done a couple of agility classes and you can maintain your dog's focus on you in the face of an average beginner/advanced beginner agility class then you will do fine in a beginner flyball class. Because of the nature of the game, dogs are often worked individually--most teams only have 1 or 2 sets of jumps anyway. There may be "stations" set up to work on different individual skills with helpers at each station to assist the students as they move through all the stations.

It is unlikely that you will even be doing full runs by the end of a 6-week beginner class anyway. If you are your dog is either an extremely talented and fast learner, or the club teaching the classes is not teaching proper technique. Take a look at how many of the club's dogs do a swimmer's turn on the box (leap with all four feet onto the box, grab the ball, and launch themselves back off the box into the middle of the lane). If the majority of the dogs don't have a swimmer's turn, I would consider training with a different club. If they let newly trained dogs run before they have trained a swimmer's turn, I would train with a different club.

Keep asking questions--flyball is my passion!
 

RockyCody

Completely Boxer Crazy
It is unlikely that you will even be doing full runs by the end of a 6-week beginner class anyway. If you are your dog is either an extremely talented and fast learner, or the club teaching the classes is not teaching proper technique. Take a look at how many of the club's dogs do a swimmer's turn on the box (leap with all four feet onto the box, grab the ball, and launch themselves back off the box into the middle of the lane). If the majority of the dogs don't have a swimmer's turn, I would consider training with a different club. If they let newly trained dogs run before they have trained a swimmer's turn, I would train with a different club.

Keep asking questions--flyball is my passion!

That seems interesting. I'll look for the swimmer's turn - thanks for the heads up! If Rocky ends up being really good at it I think I'd join a club - travel/compete, etc. but I'm mainly at this point looking for something new, interseting, and fun for him to do. I could also continue with agility - we'd be on the poles/jump grid classes OR the foundations III class. He's done 2 beginner classes - one was when he was just around 1 (too early - was very hard to keep focused) but I did the last two from about August-December of last year back to back and he did great. I was proud of him on several accounts. I like agility but I don't think I'd have the nerve to actually go run a trial or anything. So with Flyball I don't know if I watn to take it on seriously or just see what it is about in the beginner class.....

So how do you teach flyball? Station by station? I have a feeling that is how they do it at the facility I would be going to. Even with agility - we did certain obstacles at a time - never even did a full 'run' at all - the last few weeks we had them offleash and did 3-4 obstacles in a line - trying to get the dog to read the 'line' he needs to run. Rocky was pretty good! We did a lot of impulse control games - such as having them lay in the crate with door open and not move until release - lots of body awareness stuff - dyna disks, have him step all 4 paws into a landry basket....I got down to a little round laundry basket with Rocky! It was fun :)

Honestly - do you think I should give it a try? I'm worried about how HUGE rocky is - he's gonna be the biggest dog in the class and the jumps won't be a problem but he might be slower than the smaller dogs.....
 
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