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Flyball – Truffle’s First Lesson

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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.

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 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.

Flyball first lesson:

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
  • Does he react to loud noises – the ball launcher makes a sound when the dog touches it
  • Is he friendly with other dogs – Truffle loves other dogs
  • Does he know some basic manners – we had to sit, stay and come
  • Is he ball driven – does he chase after the ball
  • Will he bring the ball back – in Truffle’s case, NO! so we had to do a lot of homework

Before starting a sport, I strongly suggest you visit a veterinarian to make sure your dog is healthy enough to perform all of the tasks of the particular game.