Jumpin' Jax Flyball Club

FLYBALL ....."24 seconds of blurry dog butts"

Training Help

Training Tips

Jumpin' Jax is always eager to learn new ways to train our dogs. We want to be able to share our knowledge with others in order to create happier, better behaved, well socialized dogs. A busy dog is a happy dog, and with some of the knowledge gained here, we hope that not only is your dog happier, but you, the owners, are too!

Focus Games

There are games you can play with your dog that will teach her to focus on you the handler. This is important for several reasons. A focused dog is easier to teach. He is not distracted by things going on around him. He is only interested in what his handler is asking him to do. A focused dog is not going to wander around ignoring its handler, greeting other dogs/people thus self rewarding.


Teaching focus games is easy and fun. You the handler should be more fun than anything else around you. Be exciting! Be loud! Be fun!

Dog Training Game to Encourage Focus

A brilliant game to encourage control and steady focus is based on reward. It is a simple game that can be carried out over a few minutes, a few times a day and will provide quick and effective results. You will need a reward that the dog likes and a clicker or word "yes" that ques the dog and tells her she is right.

Start by saying your dog's name. When she looks at you, reward her. When she looks away, say her name again, when she looks at you, click or say "yes", and reward her. Keep this up, asking her to look at you for longer and longer moments of time. Say her name, "Jo Jo!' in a fun, cheerful voice. When she looks at you, click or "yes", and reward. "Jo Jo!" when she looks, count One Mississipi, click or "yes" and reward! It's that easy! Keep the sessions short, especially with a puppy. The attention span of a dog varies just like the attention spans of people. Start with just a few minutes and work up to five and then maybe ten minutes with an adult dog. Puppies will usually lose interest faster so keep your puppy sessions shorter

 Another Training Game to Encourage Focus

This is a simple game that can be carried out over a few minutes, a few times a day and will provide quick and effective results. You will need a reward that the dog likes and a quick hand.

  • A food reward is probably best for this game, tiny pieces of something that the dog likes such as hotdog, or chicken will be easy to work with and encourage the dog to want more. Smaller frequent treats are very motivating.
  • Get your dog in a sit position (I assume that you have taught your dog to sit), and then drop a treat on the floor. What you will want to do at this point, is reward a good choice on your dog's part. If your dog lunges or tries to get to the treat, then immediately put your foot over the treat.
  • But on the other hand, if your dog is able to ignore the treat and looks at you, then give him another (and different) treat to reinforce this behavior.
  • When the game is over, you can tell him to "Get It!" so that he can get the treat on the floor, or pick it up and give it to him.
  • By proofing the command and lengthening the amount of time before rewarding, you are establishing focus and control and at the same time playing fun dog training games that allows your dog to think and gives your dog the opportunity to make a choice.
  • Try this with many different distractions, including toys, other people and even other dogs. As long as you have your dog on a leash and he can't leave you for the distraction, you should be able to reward the right choice.

When your dog knows to look to you before reacting to something, in this case his treat, he will eventually learn to do the same with other distractions. By employing this focus technique to all your dog training games you will obtain the best results.

This game teaches "Look at That", another focus game that helps keep your dog under the threshhold in different distractive circumstances:
This game teaches a proper "Heel". It shows how to keep your dog from pulling on the leash. It is very simple and easy to practice.

Teaching The Game of Flyball


  Power Point Introduction to Flyball Training 

Target Training

Daisy Target Training - This is the beginning of the box turn for Flyball. The dog should see the target as an "easy" button. He should attack it!


Trevor Target Work - Next we teach the dog to go up and touch the target on the wall above his head.


At this point, the trainer has determined that the dog will turn in the right hand direction. She places the target on the right hand corner of the board.


Digm learning a hit it board. The trainer uses body language and ques to get the dog up onto the board with all four feet. Notice she treats the dog on the floor in the center of the lane. This gets the dog to come down in the middle and eventually to "push" off of the box with his rear end.


Starting the Swimmer's Turn

 A good first step for training any method of a box turn is an over-and-back. Using a touch stick (or a motivator held in your hand), have a helper hold the dog on one side of the jump. Stand right next to the side of the jump your dog should be turning toward (I stand on the left, because my dogs turn left). Reach over the jump, have the helper release the dog, and use your hand/touch stick/motivator to lead the dog over the jump, then quickly back to the side it started on.

You want the dog to land-turn-return all in one smooth motion. It will take a few tries to get that smooth motion. This is duplicating the body motions the dog will be using once on the box, working the same muscles. It is a great starting point for any of the methods for training a box turn. 

Once your dog is doing over-and-backs smoothly, you can place a turning board on the ground in the area the dog lands. A turning board is just a piece of plywood or similar, covered with the same type of matting found on a flyball box. Some dogs don't like stepping on a new surface, so it helps to get them used to it flat on the ground first.

 Move your jump for the over-and-backs closer to a wall, and place the turning board between the jump and the wall. Using a 2x4, multiple 2x4s, or other sturdy blocks, slowly put the turning board at a low angle against the wall. (You can easily practice this part at home, even without owning a box.) Continue doing over-and-backs like this, until the dog is comfortable with the landing side being slanted. Place both jump and turning board in front of your box. Use the box to prop up the training board at increasing angles. Maintain your criteria for a good, fast, four footed turn with all four feet crossing the jump, landing, then returning smoothly. Over time, you will increase the angle of the turning board until it is the same as the angle of the front of the box, at which point you will move the jump in front of the box and take the turning board out.

Once you have a good turn, you add in the ball. It can be added in earlier, on velcro on the turning board, if you want. We normally will stop the box from firing, allowing the dog to "steal it" at first so that the dog learns where to place his mouth to catch the ball. Once the dog is comfortable and easily grabbing the ball, we allow the box to fire, slowly at first, gradually increasing the speed of the hole.

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