Flyball, an exciting and fast-paced team sport for dogs, originated in California in the late 60s and quickly gained popularity as a dog sport. The sport involves a relay race with four dogs on each team. The dogs must clear four hurdles spaced 10 ft. apart, leap onto a spring box that releases a tennis ball, turn around, and carry the ball back over the hurdles to the finish line. Subsequently, the next dog is released to perform the same task. The team that successfully completes the course without errors in the shortest time wins that heat. Two teams run alongside each other. The team that wins three out of five heats advances in the tournament.
Flyball provides an excellent way to engage high-energy dogs. This team sport encourages dogs to release energy and undergo training in a fun environment with other dogs and people. Although most champion Flyball teams consist of Border Collies and Aussies, teams can include any breed or mixed breed dogs. The height of the hurdles is determined by the shoulder height of the smallest dog on the team. It’s not uncommon to see Jack Russels, Poodles, Whippets, and other small mixed breed dogs in Flyball teams.
Teams participating in competitions sometimes have coaches and employ advanced strategies. For example, they teach dogs to perform the equivalent of a “swimmer’s turn.” However, this doesn’t mean you and your pup can’t join the fun. Anyone with a healthy dog that enjoys running, playing with a ball, and a bit of training can start in Flyball. Many facilities in the area welcome you and your dog to become part of a team and learn the sport.
Are you interested in watching a tournament first hand? Williamson County Expo in Taylor, TX is a great place to see upcoming local tournaments!