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Everything you need to know about Flyball

Flyball is an energetic sport that includes lots of things that dogs love like running, jumping, fetching, and pleasing their owners. But is Flyball something you and your pup might want to explore? We’ve put together everything you need to know about Flyball to help you decide.

What is Flyball? 

Flyball is a team relay race that sees dogs and their parents go head-to-head in the hopes of finishing the race first. Any dog over 18 months is welcome but it’s best suited to more active dog breeds. 

Why would we want to play?

It’s an amazing way to build a strong relationship with your dog, and with aspects of command and agility training forming a core part of the sport, you’ll be working their brain cells as well as their muscles. Whether you choose to participate recreationally or join a team, it’s a different and exciting way to exercise your dog.

How is it played? 

Flyball involves two teams of four dogs, and two reserve dogs, racing side by side over jumps with a box at the end which when pressed releases a ball that the dog has to return to the starting position. Once past the finishing line, the next dog will be released. The first team to have all four dogs over the finishing line wins that race. The overall winner of the game is then determined over five legs.

The judging is done electronically. The use of lights and timing sensors is used on both the start and finish line to track accurate timings and to determine a winner where it’s not obvious to the naked eye. 

In the spirit of competitiveness, divisions are used within tournaments based on the fastest speed of the team in previous competitions. 

Benefits of taking part in Flyball

There are a couple of obvious benefits of Flyball such as the exercise your dog gets from it. But some are less obvious and can really help them become a great, well-rounded dog. 

Strengthens the heart. All that running around gets their blood pumping and helps to improve their cardiovascular health. 

Better mental stimulation. During a Flyball race, a dog will have to do multiple things in a short space of time. This means they’ll have to activate those brain muscles which will help stimulate them more than going on a walk.    

Stronger muscles and bone joints. Like all forms of exercise, having a regular routine that involves running, walking, and playing will help strengthen your dog’s muscles and bone joints, which will reduce the chances of injuries and health issues. 

A closer relationship with your dog. Training with your dog, whether it’s command, agility, or another form of training, helps to build a bond between you. This happens because training is a commitment and requires you to spend a lot of time together. 

Socialisation with other dogs. It’s important to socialise your dog. If they’re young, it’s especially important as it teaches your pup how to act around other dogs, and helps them get used to new people. It can be easier to socialise in a neutral environment as socialising in their home can lead to them becoming territorial. So somewhere like Flyball practice will provide the perfect place for this.

How can I get involved in Flyball? 

With nearly 1000 teams registered to the BFA across the UK, it’s never been easier to get involved. You can go to the BFA website to look at upcoming events, to learn more about Flyball, or if this has convinced you enough, find a team for you and your pup to start getting involved with. 

If you do get involved, why not strap a PitPat Dog Activity Monitor on your dog so you can see how much exercise they’ve done whilst participating in Flyball, as well as on their daily walks and playtime.

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