Most of us enjoy taking a walk or playing fetch with our dog but there are all kinds of other ways you can interact with your dog in a fun way and keep it in shape. In this article we will take a look at a unique dog sport called Flyball. Read on to find out more about this interesting dog sport and how you can train your dog to participate in the sport.
Flyball first started in the late 1960’s in southern California and since then has grown into an internationally recognized dog sport. Flyball is basically a relay style sport in which a team of four dogs jump over a series of hurtles one at a time. At the end of the hurtles the dogs jump on a panel from which a tennis ball is launched. The dog then catches the ball and returns over the hurdles and upon crossing the start line the next dog is released until all four dogs have completed the course. The popularity of Flyball is further enhanced by the fact that all different breeds of dogs and mutts alike can compete.
If you are interested in training your dog to compete in Flyball here are some tips to do so. Before you start training make sure your dog is energetic and likes chasing after tennis balls, you can estimate this when you play catch with your dog. First off think of the Flyball course as a series of steps and focus on training your dog for one step at a time. A list of the steps of Flyball divided up can be found here. Secondly surround the hurtles with barriers, such as fences, on either side to prevent the dog from leaving the course and cutting jumps. Train your dog first to catch the ball from the Flyball box when it steps on the panel. After your dog gets the basics of what to do then you can start training the dog to jump the hurtles. Place the hurdles 10 feet apart and have the Flyball box about 15 feet from the last hurtle. Use a tennis ball along with a command and toss the tennis ball over a hurtle to train your dog to jump over the hurtles. Then begin at the start of the course and run next to your dog throughout the course keeping it excited and making note of any mistakes the dog is making so you can correct them later. Once your dog gets the hang of the course make sure to start training with the other teammates so that the dogs are comfortable with one another. Finally make sure that you train your dog for a couple 15 min time sessions rather than one long time session as dogs have short attention spans. With practice, determination, and patience you can train your dog to play Flyball and start entering some competitions in no time.