Please note: For safety reasons, flyball is not recommended for dogs weighing under 10 lbs or over 100 lbs. As with any sport, please make sure your dog is in good health and the right physical condition. Your dog also needs to be physically mature before beginning serious sport training.
What Is Flyball?
Flyball has been called "drag racing for dogs" – it is a team sport with 4 dogs per team, and 2 teams racing against one another at a time. The course consists of a starting line, 4 hurdles and a spring loaded tennis ball-throwing box. Each dog must jump the hurdles, hit the box to eject the ball, catch the ball, and bring it back over the hurdles to the line before the next dog can go. When all 4 dogs on a team have successfully completed the course, the team is done. The first team to have all 4 dogs run without errors wins the heat.
The height of the hurdles is determined by the shortest dog on the team: the "height dog." The hurdles are set 5 inches below the shoulder of the height dog, with a minimum of 7 inches and a maximum of 14. So a short but speedy dog can be worth its weight in gold to a team! The hurdles are spaced 10 feet apart and the box is 15 feet from the last hurdle, giving a course length of 51 feet. So with all the running, jumping and excitement, flyball provides a fantastic way to have fun with your dog while burning off excess energy!
The North American Flyball Association (NAFA) is North America's biggest flyball organization. NAFA tournaments are divided into divisions so that teams compete against other teams of equal abilities.
Why Play Flyball?
- It is a great way to meet and socialize with fellow dog-lovers
- Any size or breed of dog can play, including mixed breeds
- It provides a means to socialize dogs and build a better dog-owner relationship
- NAFA allows dogs age 7 and older to have fun, too, in the veteran's class
- Once you start competing, your dog can quickly earn NAFA titles
- Provides a rewarding way to burn up your dog’s pent up energy
- It is competitive, fun and addictive!
What Does NADA, Inc., Offer?
Our class offerings include Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced flyball.
In Beginner classes, dogs learn the basics such as how to jump, retrieve the tennis ball and focus in a distracting environment. These classes are meant to provide a strong foundation for both dogs and humans. Flyball requires dogs and handlers to work as a team so we focus on teaching owners to motivate, control and build a good working relationship with their dog -- all while learning the skills needed to move on to become flyball competitors!
Intermediate classes are where we begin to "put it all together". Dogs take the skills they've learned in Beginner class and start to do full runs. These classes require a greater level of control on the part of the handler, as dogs will be doing more off-leash work and distractions can become more intense. After completing Intermediate classes, dogs are ready to move on to team practices and competitions!
Our Advanced classes are really more like team practices. Dogs at this level know what their "job" is and show up ready to work! The handlers and dogs practice as they would for a tournament, with dogs running in teams and doing drills to build speed, focus and technique.
Our classes are open to dogs of all breeds and mixed breeds -- in fact, our first team to compete for the club was composed entirely of mixed breed rescue dogs! We do not allow puppies in Beginner flyball, as their joints and bones are not fully developed and injuries could occur. We also do not allow aggressive dogs. For more information about trying flyball, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to the Fog Dogs!
The Fog Dogs traveled to their first NAFA tournament in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, in August 2010; all four dogs earned their FD and FDX titles.
From left to right: Marilyn Porter and Harald, Maria Foley and Nena, Stephanie Conway and Sasha, Tony McCue and Mickey. (Photo: Jennie Murphy)