FlyBall

Weight pull, Protection, Agility, Flyball... you name it!

Postby mnp13 » June 12th, 2006, 9:49 am

Hey Jen,

Since you have titled in Fly Ball and have a good deal of experience with it, why don't you tell us what exactly is involved?

I don't know nothin!
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Postby Purple » June 12th, 2006, 9:50 am

Me, too!!
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Postby dogcrazyjen » June 12th, 2006, 2:19 pm

OK, I can do that.

First of all, it is not a sport for all dogs. Real dog aggressive dogs, ones who will go after other dogs without provocation, are not good canidates, at least not without a huge amount of control training. I think that is why you don't see a lot of pits doing it. Dogs need a strong retrieve, and a good working relationship with the owner. If you can teach the dog to ignore other dogs, you can play, but it is a very fast paced, excitable, and sometimes unpredictable sport. It is not for the feint of heart!

Flyball is a team relay sport. You have two lanes of four jumps each-], at one end is a start/finish line- |, at the other is a spring-loaded box with a tennis ball - D. Behind each box is a box loader who replaces the ball as it is taken by each dog-*. There is no fencing or barrier between lanes.


| ] ] ] ] D*

| ] ] ] ] D*


There are four dogs each team running at a time, usually 3 tall dogs and a height dog, since the smallest dog determines the height of the jumps.

They use electric timers; when the light turns green the first dogs can cross the start line. They race down the row of jumps, one in each lane, slam on the box which releases a tennis ball, then bring the ball back over the same lane of jumps. When the first dog crosses the start/finish line the next dog can 'pass', meaning cross the s/f line to go to the box. The first team to sucessfully complete the course with all four dogs wins.

If a dog hot crosses, meaning crosses the s/f line before the previous dog finishes by crossing the s/f line, he must run again at the end. If a dog drops the ball or misses a jump he also must run again. You can still win if you make a mistake if the other team also makes a mistake.


Each club has a name, ours is Fetch n Fly. Each club can run multiple teams, we had Jade and Black. Most clubs are more creative, there are some awesome names for teams. All teams can have up to 6 dogs, 4 which run and two back ups. You can switch out between these 6 dogs at any time before each heat.

A single down and back with four dogs is called a heat. A set of heats between two teams is called a race. Usually a race will be best 2 out of 3, or best 3 out of 5 heats.

There are two main groups of teams, multi-breed and regular. Regular teams can be any breeds. You can have all border collies, or 3 mixes and a jack russell, or three different breeds, or four. Any and all combos are allowed. Multi-breed teams must run four different breeds. This weekend we only had border collies, 2 mixes and jack russells, and Tallulah the BT. So in order to compete she had to race every heat. Turned out that only Jack, my mix, was put on this team as well, so both my dogs had to race every heat.

Each group is split into divisions, which are based on seed times. A seed time is your estimated top speed, minus one second. They give you the one second because dogs often run faster in a real race than in practice. The trial secretary takes all the teams and seed times, and divides them up into groups close in time. This prevents a 16 second team from competing directly with a 24 second team. Team Jade was in division 3 Multi breed, and Team Black was in division 7 Regular.

A break out is when a team goes faster then their seed time. This means the team forfiets the heat, and if it happens 4 times in a weekend the team is NQd for the tourney. The seed times ensure good racing, and a team which is faster then they claimed is not fair racing. We nearly broke out with a certain lineup in our Black team, so we simply passed looser to take up more time and slow us down.


When each dog comes back to you, you are allowed to have any sort of non-noisy toy, but cannot throw it. So you can use a tug, food, tennis ball, frisbee, but you cannot toss them-only drop them or hand them to the dog. I use a regular sized basketball with tug ropes for Tallulah, and either a braided fleece tug toy or a frisbee for Jack. I like the tug toys best because the dog is caught and stays with you at the end.


A dog which enters the other lane during a heat, before or after it is done racing, is called for interferance, so catching the dog at the end is important. The more driven the dog is for the reward at the end, the faster it comes back.



So let me know if there are any questions. I put a lot of info here, so I will spare you any more detail unless asked!
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Postby mnp13 » June 12th, 2006, 2:27 pm

how do you get titles? what titles are available?
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Postby dogcrazyjen » June 12th, 2006, 2:50 pm

Sorry, knew I missed something.

Points are awarded for completed races based on times.

This is from the NAFA site

Each time a team races in a NAFA sanctioned Flyball tournament, their dogs earn points based on the following:
- under 24 seconds: each dog racing in that heat receives 25 points towards a Flyball title

- under 28 seconds: each dog receives 5 points

- under 32 seconds: each dog receives 1 point



Points Title
20 Flyball Dog (FD)
100 Flyball Dog Excellent (FDX)
500 Flyball Dog Champion (FDCh)
1000 Flyball Dog Champion-Silver (FDCh-S)
2500 Flyball Dog Champion-Gold (FDCh-G)
5000 Flyball Master (FM)
10,000 Flyball Master Excellent (FMX)
15,000 Flyball Master Champion (FMCh)
20,000 ONYX
30,000 Flyball Grand Champion (FGDCh-30)
40,000 Commemorative Pin and Plaque
50,000-90,000 Commemorative Pin and Plate for 40k Plaque
100,000 Hobbes Award
(includes Commemorative Pin and Plaque)



Tallulah got 53 points her first tourney, and has around 280 points now. So she earned her FDX this weekend.

Jack has 3400 points, so hopefully in the next tourney he will get his FM. We only raced 6 months in CA, then two tourneys in NY on this team, so you can get your beginner titles fairly quickly. You have to do a LOT of racing to get the higher ones.
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Postby mnp13 » June 12th, 2006, 3:13 pm

wow, you could possibly title in one race... cool!

they have flyball classes at the local training club, I should check them out.

Does the dog have to actually release the ball during the race? We have some ... trouble ... with Riggs giving balls back.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » June 12th, 2006, 4:21 pm

Yes, you could title in one race. Jack got his first two titles in about 3 races, his third in the next tourney. The beginner titles are so 'easy' because it is not 'easy' to get many beginner dogs to do the job at a tourney. Many take several tourneys to get that first one. It is VERY distracting, noisy, a lot of visual stimulation, etc. Not something you will be able to train for easily, they sort of get a trial by fire their first tourney. Jack was super focused because that is just the way he is, Tallulah was much harder, I had to break out the big guns (basketball). Kay (our captain) has a jack russell who has been doing it for years who still has a hard time, and runs out of the lane on a regular basis.


You do not need to release the ball until you need to line up for the next heat. You may find it hard to get good motivation back if he is most happy with the ball by himself. However you can train that.

We practice at DOT Corning Thursday nights at 8:30, and I think Kay may start beginner dogs at 5. I could ask if you would like to come, or you could show up and observe a class and possibly try it out.
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Postby mnp13 » June 12th, 2006, 4:48 pm

What is DOT Corning? Do you mean DOTCORNY on the Monroe County Fairgrounds? If so, I'd love to come out and watch. what time do you usually get there?

I had to miss this entire set of classes because I was gone for 2 1/2 weeks in May. I wish they had a staggered class schedule :cry:

Entry level titles are almost always easy to get. that's how they get you hooked!!!! It's the advanced ones that take time, and by then you are addicted!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 12th, 2006, 6:35 pm

Thanks so much for the description! I saw my first flyball demonstration a few weeks ago and it looked like such (chaotic) fun!
Couple more ?'s for you:

How much does it generally cost to get started?
What's a good age to start?
What's a good way to train before actually joining a team or practicing with the box and stuff? (Did that make sense?) I think what I'm asking is what skills you should hone before throwing your dog in the fray?
How do you find a local team? Is there a website?

Okay, so it was more than a couple... :D Thanks!!!
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Postby cheekymunkee » June 12th, 2006, 7:42 pm

that sounds like fun!!
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Postby Purple » June 12th, 2006, 8:46 pm

Boy, I could see Hopscotch loving this! We were out playing with the tennis balls tonight, she was shaking, and her tail was puffed up, she was so excited!
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Postby dogcrazyjen » June 13th, 2006, 9:19 am

How much does it generally cost to get started?


Little to nothing to join a team. Many teams will offer beginner practices for free. Some clubs may charge a club dues, some may charge for a beginner class. No equipment is needed if you join a team. If you wish to start a team, then you need to spend about $500 to buy the box and jumps, or if you are blessed with a handiman (or woman)then under $100 to build your own.


What's a good age to start?


The sooner the better. The main skills you need are a good retrieve and a good recall. Start those as early as 4 weeks old. I started Jack at age 2.5, and Tallulah at 2.


What's a good way to train before actually joining a team or practicing with the box and stuff? (Did that make sense?)



Yes, it made sense! As I said above, recall and retrieve. Restrained recalls, using a tug, are the best way to practice recalls, and restrained retrieves can be practiced both with moving balls and stationary balls. (Restrained means to hold the dog back for a moment to build drive.)


I think what I'm asking is what skills you should hone before throwing your dog in the fray?


The main skill to practice concerning the 'fray' is attention under duress. Take the dog to many places with lots of distractions and play tug, retrieve, recall and attention games on a long line. The more expirience you can give her, the better she will be.

I personally found dog parks (wait before yelling at me!!) provided that in a way. I would take Jack to the outside of the fence, on leash, and work attention. The dogs racing around inside the fence provided great distraction, but my dog was safe from them on the outside of the fence. You may need to start off in the parking lot away from the fence and build up. Running dogs, especially small ones and extra large ones, are my biggest issue with Tallulah.

In practice you will not have a fray, they will set your dog up to be sucessful, and run only one dog at a time. When you are ready they will start adding other dogs.

How do you find a local team? Is there a website?


http://www.flyball.org is NAFA's web site (North American Flyball Association). You can find clubs by region through their site, as well as check out stats on breed, region, team, etc.

When looking at teams, you can see that some are in it for fun, and some are in it to win. There are extremely competitive clubs with 16 second teams (usually border collie heavy, breeding border jacks, etc) then laid back ones with a variety of breeds and slower times. I would suggest if you have a choice to go with the more laid back club. You will get more support and less pressure. If you then wish to be more competitive, you can alwasy switch teams later. I would also meet with the team first before commiting, you spend a lot of time together and if you don't get along with the members or the philosophy it can be very stressful.


Great questions!

Michelle,yes, that is the DOT Corning I am speaking of. I can PM you when I am going to the next practice. I am hoping we may be able to look at Boom Towne as a secondary facility as well, since DOT Corning is rather picky and hard to schedule around.
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Postby mnp13 » June 13th, 2006, 9:42 am

dogcrazyjen wrote:Michelle,yes, that is the DOT Corning I am speaking of. I can PM you when I am going to the next practice. I am hoping we may be able to look at Boom Towne as a secondary facility as well, since DOT Corning is rather picky and hard to schedule around.


Cool, I'd love to come this Thursday.

On a side note... it's DOTCORNY - Dog Obedience Training Club Of Rochester New York :wink:
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Postby dogcrazyjen » June 13th, 2006, 10:07 am

Oh. I just go there for flyball, and my husband works for Corning Inc, so I assumed it was dot-corning :oops:

dot corny? corny? did they think about how that sounds? :P
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 13th, 2006, 11:06 am

Thanks for all the info Jen!!! I already ordered a book through my library I saw on the flyball website!!!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 13th, 2006, 10:20 pm

Jen! I did it! I contacted a local flyball club (Fur in a Blur) and I'm going to take classes from them probably beginning in August! I'm tres excited!!! They were so nice and said that Inara's a perfect age and not to worry that she's not real obedient around distractions. They said they get the dogs hooked on the sport and then worry about distractions. I like them. I'm sooo excited! Thank you so much for piquing my interest! :rock:
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Postby Purple » June 14th, 2006, 9:21 am

Fur In A Blur!!!! :clap: I love it!
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Postby mnp13 » June 16th, 2006, 12:01 am

Jen skipped practice. I'm telling the principal.

It was fun to watch. It seemed to me that the most challenging part is not the running / retrieving - it's keeping the dogs focused on what they are supposed to be doing. They only had one run going, I can only guess the chaos when there are four dogs racing side by side!

I'm thinking of trying the class next month.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » June 16th, 2006, 9:16 am

Sorry! It takes me an hour and a half to get there, and when practice is at 8:30 at night it is a pain to go. I don't get home til after 11! It is the last week of school for the kids too, which makes things chaotic.

Glad you had fun! Yes, concentration is the hardest part. Was Dart being a fanny again (Kay's little Jack Russell)? :D
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Postby Patch O' Pits » June 16th, 2006, 9:20 am

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