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Flyball, the Ultimate Dog Sport

By Randy Goldstein

The Game

Flyball is a team sport and everything is based on team cooperation. That is, cooperation between all team members, people and dogs. Each team at a tournament has a minimum of four dogs and a maximum of six. Four dogs race at a time; with two spares. Each dog racing must have a handler. There are two teams, four dogs and four handlers per team; each team must also have a designated "box loader".

The race begins with each team of four dogs and handlers lining up on their respective course. There are electronic lights to start the race, and record the time and speed of each dog. The race begins with a green go light. Each lead dog races down the course; jumping over four hurtles (jumps) and activating the box with it's front feet. The box then shoots out a tennis ball; the dog catches the ball turns and goes back over the four jumps exiting the race at the starting point. The second dog is released to run it's course after the previous dog has cleared the starting point and the whole process repeats itself. The timers record each race down to hundredths of a second. Most races consist of the best three out of five heats.

The Course

The course the dogs must cover is fifty-one feet from the start line to the front of the box. Each dog must cover 102 feet to the box and back. A race may consist of five heats; so each dog could run 510 feet, go over 20 jumps in a race and retrieve 5 balls. (Talk about being in shape.)

Flyball Diagram

Flyball Commands

"Ready" alerts the dog that something is about to happen. It is always used when you begin an exercise. Seasoned dogs will have an increased level of excitement and anticipation when this word is used.

"Catch" a simple exercise but often overlooked. The dog is put on lead and the "ready" command is given once; the ball is then thrown gently and directly to the dog with the command "catch". The idea is to make it easy for the dog tobe sucessful; if the dog missus the ball, encourage him by repeating "get it, get it"!

Continue reading "Flyball the Ultimate Dog Sport" by Randy Goldstein in "Belgians From Start to Finish" Sally Comstock

Point System & Titles

Canada's Highest Titled GroenendaelTitle Flyball Dog (FD) to any dog receiving 20 points.
Title Flyball Dog Excellent (FDX) to any dog receiving 100 points.
Title Flyball Dog Champion (FDCh) to any dog receiving 500 points.
Title Flyball Dog Champion Silver (FDCh-S) to any dog receiving 1,000 points.
Title Flyball Dog Champion-Gold (FDCh-G) to any dog receiving 2,500 points.
Title Flyball Master (FM) for any dog receiving 5,000 points.
Title Flyball Master Excellent (FMX) for any dog receiving 10,000 points.
Title Flyball Master Champion (FMCh) for any dog receiving 15,000 points.
Title "Onyx", named after its first recipient, for any dog receiving 20,000 points.
Title Flyball Grand Champion (FGDCh) for any dog receiving 30,000 points.

For a more in depth look at Flyball or to find a team in your area, go to http://www.flyball.org

Pictured - Cal (Kitselas Caligari Furiosio) is Canada's highest titled Groenendael in Flyball. He is presently sitting at 56712 flyball points (02/18/07). Owned by: Stephen & Grace Harris, Calgary

Excerpts "Belgians From Start to Finish" Sally Comstock

Randy Goldstein is a member of the Southern Ontario Section of the BSDCC. Breeds Groenendael under the Kennel Name "Borae". Shows in conformation, obedience and is an avid Flyball enthusiast..