If you have a super athletic and energetic dog, you might want to look into joining a dog sport. Truffle and I tried to learn Flyball. Most teams are focused on speed and time but because Truffle has a bad leg, he was unable to join a regular team. Luckily we found Seattle Fly Dogs.
“The Seattle FlyDogs is a local community club open to membership application by individuals, created with the intent to enrich the lives of dogs and their handlers by offering participation and training in canine athletic sports. Its purpose is for creating public awareness of dog sports, providing weekly drop-in training for all breeds and speeds, and for building camaraderie among its members and students with organized participation in skillful, athletic canine activities.” – Seattle Fly Dogs mission statement.
What is Flyball?
Flyball is a relay race with 4 dogs on a team. The course consists of a starting line, 4 hurdles spaced 10 feet apart, and a box. The first hurdle is 6 feet from the start line and the box is 15 feet from the last hurdle for a 51-foot overall length. The dogs jump the hurdles and steps on a spring-loaded box that shoots out a tennis ball. The dog catches the tennis ball and then runs back over the 4 hurdles. When the dog crosses the starting line the next dog goes.
The first team to have all 4 dogs run without errors wins the heat. Tournaments are usually organized in either a double elimination or round-robin format. Double elimination is usually the best of 3 or best of 5. Round robin is usually best 3 out of 5 and the first team to win 3 heats receives 1 point towards their standing in the tournament.
For the first lesson, we got evaluated to make sure that Truffle could participate in the game. Some of the things that were evaluated:
- Does he know “come” – Truffle was not so good at this one so the great team at Seattle Fly Dogs worked with us
- Does he react to loud noises – the ball launcher makes a sound when the dog touches it, luckily Truffle couldn’t care less!
- Is he friendly with other dogs – Truffle loves most dogs
- Does he know some basic manners – we had to sit, stay and come
- Is he ball driven – Truffle will chase anything that is thrown
- Will he bring the ball back – in Truffle’s case, NO! so we had to do a lot of homework
How is flyball played?
Here is a great graphic from AKC on how the game is played:
Special Thanks To
Seattle Fly Dogs is a membership-based company where your dog can learn Flyball and agility. Their coaches can help guide you through each step with positive and patient training methods. It is a wonderful organization that accepts all dogs no matter breed or size.