Pictures and Information on Additional Turn Training Techniques

Courtesy of Jayne McQuillen and the Jammin' K9's Team

By Jayne McQuillen 

Photos by Steve Branin


First, all the dog owners were cool with these pictures being posted to help others.  I want to make it clear that I am not the person who thought this up.  We use a 3 hole box, not sure who's design it is, but it's been around a while.  Unlike the instructions said, (Posted by Lisa Brockmeyer, turns) we found we didn't need to have a person standing at the end of the board to do this drill.

Here's some background on what you see here.  First these are all experienced dogs, 3 have FM's the other two are 1/2 way to their FM's.  I'd certainly want dogs to be comfortable with getting the ball out of the box before trying this.  Second, we've been trying several methods in the last month with these dogs by having an informal "box work" practice in our garage once a week.  We all wanted to work on it, but it's hard to get the mats, the box, and the extra hands all together at the same time.  So we do this at 9pm Thursday nights, we keep each dog's turn pretty brief, around 10-15 minutes and rotate through all the dogs about twice.  Each dog is the only one in the garage so distractions are pretty limited unless the dog likes lawnmowers or bicycles too much :).  We only have about 15 feet of space between the garage door & the box, so the dogs are not at full speed.  When we go to real practice we see the dogs making a bit more errors as they adjust to these exercises at full speed.

We try lots of different things for each dog & see what works best for each one, hence you'll see 2 methods pictured.  We tweak all the set ups for each dog.  Taking digital pics was helpful so we could see that this placement or technique worked better than another, but a video camera would probably be more helpful.  We had a lot of pics of the boxloader's knees!

Jayne McQuillen (,  Jammn K9's


Above, Zoe owned by Jayne McQuillen (me), she's an Australian Cattle Dog/English Shepherd mix, not a speedy border collie, she's 17".  If you've seen her race, she barks the whole way down the lane, executes a nice turn and gives about 60% effort returning to me.  Zoe has had a nice natural swimmers turn since her first practice, no idea why, we are now working on getting her to use that turn to power back faster.  Box turn isn't a high priority, but since we have it set up at our house we bring her out.  It's increased her enthusiasm and reinforced her natural turn.  This is at the start of practice, just to see how she's turning normally.  See the pic to the left for her turn with the boards in place.


Above, Zoe again, much higher with the crossed jump method. 








Above, June is owned by Corey & Nami Stone.  She is a smaller dog, 15", the cone & board method has worked best for her, we found it by accident.  She likes running around the cone, she liked running with a board flat in front of the box, but she's jumping over the board & around the cone altogether so it works well.  We refer to this as her flypaper turn!

Above, June after some "cone on board" practice doing a high turn.  As she gets tired she'll come down lower on the box.



Above, Rocky, owned by Craig Chappen, has had a nose first box dive, as he has improved in speed his box crashing style has become worse.  He's a North American Shepherd, standing just over 17" and this isn't the best picture of his work for the night. 


Belle, owned by Bekka Borg, a 18" aussie also fast, has had a similar turn to Ruby.  Both methods worked well for her.



Ruby owned by Steve Branin.  Ruby's an aussie, she's a fast dog, around 20".  She hits with two paws, pivots, and then pushes off with her back feet on the ground.  She's had trouble with all the other method's we've tried besides the crossed jump method pictured, she would simply screech to a halt and tiptoe around or over other obstacles to the box.  She really liked this method.  This is one of her first ever four paw turns.