Flyball is fast, fun and a great way to make new friends so it’s not surprising it’s a sport that so many want to try.
But one thing Flyball newbies worry about is whether their dog is suitable for getting involved.
We spoke to Diane Brown from Crossfire Flyball Team, which Tug-E-Nuff Dog Gear is proud to sponsor, to find out five signs that your dog would be perfect for flyball.
- They are any breed of any size
Lots of people seem to believe that to be good at flyball, your dog has to be a certain breed or a certain size. In fact, that’s not the case.
Diane says: ‘Any shape or size of dog is welcome in our flyball classes. As Flyball trainers, it’s far more important to us that a dog (and its owner) is willing to give the activities a go and have fun than what breed the dog is.’
- They love a tennis ball
Tennis balls are a favourite toy for lots of dogs, and that’s a great sign they will succeed in flyball training where chasing and catching a ball is key.
Diane says: ‘It’s not essential for a dog to already be motivated by a tennis ball, but it definitely helps. However, we’re good at coming up with ways around it if a dog isn’t motivated by a tennis ball alone.
‘For instance, there’s a dog in our current beginners course who will only fetch the ball that’s attached to her Tug-E-Nuff Sheepskin Ball Bungee Tug. To combat this, we are gradually reducing the sheepskin so she will eventually just collect the ball.’
- They've got a great recall
A basic recall is a skill that most dogs should master at an early age – and it’s one that’s essential for flyball.
Diane says: ‘Dogs need to come when called during flyball, otherwise you end up standing around waiting for the dog to decide to return of his own accord – which isn’t how it’s supposed to work!
‘Recall is something that can be improved by attending obedience classes before or alongside flyball classes so poor recall isn’t something that should stand in your way if taking part in flyball is a something you’d really like to do.’
- They are fit and healthy
Just like with humans, it’s important for dogs to have a clean bill of health before signing up for flyball.
Diane says: ‘We ideally like dogs to have stamina and a good level of fitness.
‘However, that doesn’t necessarily mean only fast dogs can succeed at flyball. Slower dogs can compete in lower divisions. At Crossfire we believe all dogs should have the opportunity to shine, regardless of how fast they can run!’
- They are sociable
This is a really important one. It’s essential that your dog is well-socialised and friendly before joining a flyball group.
Diane says: ‘During flyball, the dogs often run onto each other when racing so it’s important that competing dogs are sociable,
‘Dogs get very worked up when competing and even the most placid dog can appear hyped up, If a dog is unsociable and at risk of lashing out this could cause big problems. Getting excited is fine, as long as it remains friendly.’
What signs did your dog give you that were ideal for flyball? Let us know in the comments below!