So, not sure if anyone will even understand this, but Koira made an awesome breakthrough today at Flyball practice.
Edited to add some pictures (taken a couple weeks ago)
Koira's turns have been decent with a prop in front of the box. She gets four feet on the box, doesn't do any double hitting (none of her feet hit the box more than once), and she pushes off strongly with her back legs. I have been rewarding this type of turn heavily with her, emphasizing her high foot placement on the box.
Today, I saw what her turns can look like. Instead of hitting the box front feet first, then bending her body around and allowing her rear feet to follow, then pushing off the box, she did something I didn't even realize I wanted her to do, before.
Koira jumped toward the box, then did a sort of mid-air twist thing, hit the box with all for feet, then rocketed off. It sounds weird when I say it like that, and I don't even know if even the flyball people will get what I mean when I say it. But, you know how those super fast dogs, like the ones Touch N Go runs, seem to just leap into the air straight toward the box, then miraculously manage to turn in mid air, landing with all four feet properly placed on the box, with the hind feet hitting almost the same time as the front, then have a good, strong, push off with all four feet? That's what I saw Koira do for the first time today.
The first time she did it was in our first session at practice. It was her 6th turn or so, and when I saw that awesomeness, I could tell it was the turn I wanted but didn't know how to get. I quit there, giving her a big game of tug and a release to get some water.
When we came in for our second session (we work all our dogs twice, for shorter sessions, for best results), she did it again. The mid-air rotation was actually so much there that she got her back feet too high and missed the face of the box with one of them. We put in a slightly shorter PVC jump prop in (we had a triple gutter and a PVC jump as props) to not push her so high. And, her rotation was amazing.
The last two turns she did were a bit sloppy. One foot was low on the box, and she had trouble getting the ball fully in her mouth. But, those last sloppy turns still seemed better than the fast turns she started with at the beginning of the first session. Because, instead of hitting with her front feet, then her back, she was still doing a really good mid-air rotation.
I am super hopeful that with more practicing, she will keep this up. By learning this rotation type turn, I think the turn will stick with her a lot longer and better than her old turning style. Frankly, the turns she gave me today were even better than any turn I've ever seen from Pallo, and I have always loved his turns (and been complimented on them a lot at tournaments, so its not just me).