What is Flyball?
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!
Flyball got its start in the late 1960's and early 1970's, when a group of dog trainers in Southern California created scent discrimination hurdle racing, then put a guy at the end to throw tennis balls to the dogs when they finished the jump line. It didn't take long for the group to decide to build some sort of tennis ball-launching apparatus, and the first flyball box was born. Herbert Wagner is credited with developing the first flyball box, and apparently he did a flyball demo on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson that got a lot of peoples attention. Subsequently, the new dog sport for dog enthusiasts was introduced in the Toronto-Detroit area by several dog training clubs. After a few small tournaments were held in conjunction with dog shows, the first ever flyball tournament was held in 1983.
Flyball Relay Course
The course is 51 feet long, consisting of a starting line, four hurdles and a spring-loaded box that holds a ball.
How to Win:
The first team to have all four dogs run without errors wins the heat and receives one point towards its standing in the tournament.
All breeds are welcome. High energy and coordination are a plus, but any fit and healthy dog can learn with
the right training.
The dogs jump over 4 hurdles. The first hurdle is 6 feet from the start line, the next two are 10 feet apart and the last one is 15 feet from the box. The heights of the hurdles are dependent on the height of the shortest dog on the team.
The dogs pounce on a spring-loaded box at the end of the course that releases a ball, which dogs catch in their mouths. They then race back, jumping over the four hurdles again to the finish line and the next dog will go.