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Monday, October 22, 2012

Flyball- My New Obsession!

     About 5 months ago, at the end of March, I started a canine sport that I am just IN LOVE with.  Our 3 year old Weimaraner, Wriggley, has been obsessed with tennis balls since he was a puppy.  Even when we go to the dog park he wants to play fetch the whole time instead of playing with the other dogs (weirdo).  I had always said that he would make a great flyball dog.  Well in March one of my coworkers Haley, got her pitbull into it.  Once I heard that I decided that now would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. I have always wanted to participate in something like this.

     Flyball races match two teams of four dogs each, racing side-by-side over a 51 foot long course. Each dog must run in relay fashion down the jumps, trigger a flyball box, releasing the ball, retrieve the ball, and return over the jumps. The next dog is released to run the course but can't cross the start/finish line until the previous dog has returned over all 4 jumps and reached the start/finish line. The first team to have all 4 dogs finish the course without error wins the heat.  For every heat that you complete under 24 seconds your dog earns 25 points towards a flyball title.  Under 28 seconds....5 points and Under 32 sec....1 point.  The current  NAFA record is 14.9 seconds to send all four dogs down and back.  (That's FAST!)  
This is a flyball course.  The people you see are the box loaders.  They load the balls for the dogs to retrieve once they have completed the jumps. 

   Wriggley started training at the end of March.  The length of time it takes to teach this sport is different for every dog.  It helped that he was so much in love with the tennis balls.  It doesn't seem like it would be that hard when watching from the outside....but to be able to send your dog away from you, complete hurdles, trigger the spring loaded box and return to you with a tennis ball all in a hurried fashion, is harder than you might think.  But so far we are both loving it!  He competed in his first tournament on September 8th and 9th, 2012 and achieved his first two titles of Flyball dog (FD) and Flyball Dog Excellent (FDX).  He only has about 144 more points until he gets his next title which is Flyball Dog Champion (FDCh).  It took him 5 1/2 months to be tournament ready.  He is still considered a green dog and will only get better as he races more and more.  His current time is about a 5.2-5.4 seconds to go down and back.
     We run with a flyball club called the Dixie Flyers.  Check us out!  We love this new sport that we have gotten into and everyone is SO sweet and encouraging.  Any breed can participate and its so much fun with your dog and friends!  Its a great sport that I hope to participate in for a long time to come. 


Wriggley running in his first tournament


Running in a Flyball Demonstration for Bark in the Park.


Getting his tennis ball from the box.


To Learn more about Flyball check out http://www.flyball.org/

1 comment:

  1. Lauren, We are so thankful to have Wriggley part of the Dixie Flyers. He is so obsessed with the ball that he makes a perfect flyball dog. Can't wait to see him run in Chattanooga in a few weeks.

    We love all dogs to play and would welcome any new participants.

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