If you haven’t already heard of Flyball, you need to know what you have been missing. Flyball is a fun and challenging sport that all doggies can participate in. If you find that your pup gets a bit bored with the monotonous fetch and play, but loves tennis balls and the occasional run, Flyball is a hobby you should consider.
Starting in the late 1960s to early 70s, this relay sport has grown exponentially over the years. Flyball is an exciting high-speed relay sport for dogs, in which two teams of four compete against each other through a number of obstacles.
The Rules and Regulations of Flyball
Flyball takes a lot of patience, agility, and training. The relay consists of two teams of four (with two substitutes if needed). Each team races side by side down a 51-foot long course. The dog must make its way over the four jumps, trigger the flybox to retrieve the tennis ball, and jump back over the hurdles to the handler before the next dog is allowed to go.
If a dog makes a mistake by missing a jump, missing the ball, or passing another dog too early, it will result in a flag and the dog will have to rerun the course. This sport really does rely on the team as a whole. If a handler or box loader makes a mistake, the team will also get flagged. Penalties include forgetting to load a ball into the flybox or releasing the dog before the race starts. Talk about pressure!
What Dogs Can Participate in Flyball?
The great thing about Flyball is that it is a sport for all dogs – small, medium, or large. The height of the hurdles on a flyball course is decided according to the shortest dog on the team, known as the “height dog.” While some breeds present an advantage over others with their speed and height, the sport doesn’t discriminate against any dog. In fact, there are over 21,000 dogs that are registered for Flyball. While not surprising, the Border Collie, who is known for being super smart and fast, is one of the most popular breeds to partake in this sport, along with the Australian Shepherd and Jack Russell Terrier.
This relay sport also comes in four divisions–regular, multi-breed, veteran, and open. Each division has rules on what breeds can race together. In the regular division, any combination of breeds can race together. With multi-breed division, you can have the same breed on the team, but all four dogs racing must be different. For the veterans’ class, each dog must be at least seven years old. Hurdles are lower and speeds aren’t as quick for veteran competitors. Open division is the most flexible. Any combination of breeds can race together, but the teams are not eligible for record times or regional championships.
The Benefits of Flyball for Pet Owners
Flyball has benefits for not only the dog but the pet owner as well. With all of the training that goes into Flyball, you will get to spend plenty of time bonding with your pet. It also keeps your pup active and strong, all while enjoying a good dose of healthy competition.
Looking to meet some new people and friends? This sport gives dog lovers the chance to do just that. With all the traveling you will do with your pup to different tournaments and Flyball events, you are bound to meet people from all over and unite with other dog lovers.
Getting Involved with Flyball
Do you have a dog that you think would make a great “Flyballer” or just looking for a way to spend some quality time with your canine companion? There are plenty of classes or clubs you can join to get started. Start by researching online to find places locally that offer this sport.
Now that you know what Flyball is all about, why not give it a try? This sport is not only fun to compete in, but it is also just as fun to watch. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.