Last night was Ezri's second flyball practice, and she learned more new stuff this week to build on what she started last week. We have a set of "puppy jumps" which are flyball baseboards cut down to 3", which is below the elbow height of most puppies (including Ezri). We also have a training board (flat board the size of the box pedal, covered in matting and tape to match the box), extra jump slats, and a training platform (large fixed-angle immovable box-like object with velcro to hold balls), all of which are used in various phases of flyball training.
Ezri's first week of flyball was spent doing two things - learning restrained recalls and learning how to go over a puppy jump. She did very well with the former, although she is more interested in squeaky toys all of a sudden rather than her tug, and thought the latter was pretty fun as well. Her shining moment was picking up a loose ball as she ran back to me and over the jump! The short video I put together of her first practice is up on YouTube.
So last night I started reinforcing the basics and building on them, after a short play session in the puppy room with her buddy Riker (6-month-old rat terrier). We worked on restrained recalls over one jump, then used treats and back-and-forth with another club member to work her up to two and then three jumps. Next up was starting to use the training board flat on the floor to learn the snappy u-motion that will turn into a swimmers' turn off the box later, which I am teaching with a treat lure onto the board and then quickly swung around off the board. Jeff added a small taped-together stack of 1" slats to give her a tiny little barrier in front of the board to get a "hop" on and off the board, and that worked quite well. Ezri quickly got the hang of this and was moving very nicely in a snappy u-turn for her cookies, but wasn't interested in following a ball for the same motion. Finally, we did some more restrained recalls over the jumps, and she's already faster than I am (!) so I have to have enough of a head start to beat her past the last jump or she'll blow around it to get to me faster.
Sadly, this morning was the same as last Monday morning with a unhappy puppy who had messed her crate badly. I am wondering if this has to do with the cookies and excitement/exercise of flyball, since this is two weeks running. She has been really good about crying to be let out for both potty needs, so I'm guessing this was a surprise to her both times. I still wish she would cry, though, maybe I could save having to give her a full bath and hose out the crate later...