You would certainly agree that dogs can be trained the way you want it to react your commands. Flyball is yet another example to say that dogs can even be trained to a play game. This wonderful game of flyball is exclusively made for dogs.
How to play: This is an interesting game where the dog will have to run through a pre-set track and collect the ball and get back to its starting point. Dogs participating in the game are divided into separate teams. Each team will comprise of four dogs. There will be four tracks and in each track four dogs of the team will have their run. That means a total of 16 dogs will participate at any given point of time.
Once the starter gives the signal ‘go’, the person in charge of the dog will have to release the dog so that it could start its run. The dog would run on its own track and collect a tennis ball from a machine that is kept at the other end. As the dog hits the pad on the machine, the ball gets released. Then the dog will hold the ball in his/her mouth and then run back to the starting point. Once the dog reaches the starting line, the second dog in the team will start running to collect the ball from the flyball machine. This action is repeated by the remaining two dogs also.
Rules: But, the running on the track is not easy because hurdles are kept on the track. There will be four hurdles each at a distance of 10 feet. The first hurdle will be kept at a distance of 6 feet from the starting point. The total length of the track is 51 feet. At the end of the track the flybox will be kept. The height of the hurdle will be dependent upon the shoulder height of the youngest dog in the team. However, norms for determination of the shoulder length vary from one flyball association to another. But, it is observed that the height of the hurdle will not be more than 7 inches from the ground. As already said, there will be four tracks and obviously at a time sixteen dogs can take part in the event. This game replicates the relay race played in any athletic event where one athlete passes on the baton to the other athlete. If the dog drops the ball, the team will get a penalty point. Similarly, if the owner releases the dog before the word ‘GO’ is announced by the starter or before the other dog in the team reaches the starting line then also the team will get a penalty point. The winning team will be decided by the overall time taken by the four dogs in the team to collect the ball.
Coordination among the dog owners: Any dog can take part in the game; irrespective of the sex, breed, age and height of the dog. Of course, it is needless to point out that by nature the dog must be a good runner. The game is of special significance because the four dogs in the team are from different owners and therefore it requires considerable amount of coordination amongst the owner of dogs in the team.
Invention: As you know, it is common among people to throw a tennis or rubber ball and asking the dog to collect the ball. The dog would eventually collect the ball and return it to owner. It is said that some people observed this behavior of the dog and that gave the cue to invent this game of ‘flyball’. Of course, there is no clear indication why the game got the name ‘flyball’. The game started in Southern California and now it has become a very popular sporting event in several countries like the USA, UK, Germany, Belgium, Czech, Finland, Austria and various other European countries.
Before you take the dog to the competition, it is advisable that you should take the dog to the veterinarian and get the dog examined for his/her general health condition. Further, the dog needs adequate training and the training the dog for flyball running is considered to be easy. Of course, there are dog trainers who are specialized in providing training for such games.
As organizers of flyball game put it; the purpose of this game is to socialize the dog. As you know, in the team there will be other dogs from different owners. It provides an opportunity for the owners to socialize their dogs. Further, organizers point out that the dogs that take part in the game are pet dogs rather than sporting dogs. In many countries conducting flyball competition requires appropriate permission from the government. The event would be of great entertainment for the entire family and more so for the kids.
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