Fly Ball Training ...
Fly ball is an adrenalin pumping relay race between teams of four dogs working with their respective handlers. It is a race over four hurdles to a fly ball box holding a ball. The dogs triggers the box to release to ball, grab the ball, and returns over the hurdles past the start/finish line to their excited owners who are loudly cheering and calling them on.
One breathtaking part of the race is when the handler is down with their dog awaiting their turn. If the handler's judgement is good and they are in tune with their dog they will release the dog at exactly the right moment such that the returning dog and their dog will pass nose to nose on the start/finish line and not even a fraction of a second be wasted! It takes skill and training to perfect this.
One of the benefits of Fly ball is that it seems to counteract part of the boredom dogs can exhibit living a suburban life ... they enjoyed it so much. It seems to satisfy some of their basic chasing and hunting instincts. It is also tremendously good for the handler dog relationship. They love enjoying life with you, and you have to work as a team to successfully participate. It's wonderful for dog and handler to share a common activity and interest.
It is also good to experience the team spirit that training with other handler/dog pairs can generate. Even though competitions can get quite serious, because there are titles to be won and records to be made and broken, there is always the basic enjoyment of being with your dog and the other team members and having a thoroughly enjoyable time together.
Fly ball classes have entrance requirements that involve demonstrating a basic level of control with your dog off lead (having done the Advanced Level Obedience training is usually good enough) … there is a list so please get your name down as soon as possible if you think Fly ball is for you.
Classes are a good physical work-out for handlers and ball skills are really useful.
The dogs, of course, teach us the wonderful lesson that win or lose they don't care ... it's the fun that counts. Fly ball well deserves the recreational in recreational sport.
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