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Flyball is a relay race between two competing teams, each team having four dogs.  One dog from each team (racing side by side) must go over four hurdles, step on a Flyball box pedal, catch (or retrieve) a tennis ball and return over all four hurdles to the start/finish line where the next dog in the team eagerly awaits its turn.

 

Flyball is a sport in which any dog can participate regardless of breed, shape, size or formal training. It encompasses all the things dogs love....chasing and jumping, catching and retrieving, competing and striving to please their owners. Unlike any other dog activity to date, Flyball is pure fun for everyone; dogs, their handlers and the spectators who are encouraged to applaud, laugh, even scream as they cheer for their favourite team. While the dogs wait for their turn to run, trying for all the world to bark the loudest they can, just the look of sheer excitement on the dogs' faces tells the story of how much they enjoy the sport.

Flyball as a competitive sport started in the 1970's in California, and has recently taken off in Australia with National and Interstate competitions being held regularly throughout the year.


Jouetchien Golden Sands FD FDX - Sandy


Fullofun Andy Pandy FD

I was first introduced to the fantastic world of Flyball via team demonstrations at different canine events and expos, but it was not until I witnessed an exhibition at the Sydney Pet and Animal Expo that I was convinced to give the sport a go. I breed and show Papillons. From what I had seen at these expos they were all mainly working dogs and other assorted "big dogs", no little fluffies seemed to participate. I enquired very hesitantly if small dogs could participate and expected to be met with the very familiar - yes, but only for demonstrations. To my surprise they were so excited to get some new small dogs. In the world of Flyball, small dogs are treasured height dogs. Small dogs are used to lower the jump size as a team will jump hurdles at the shoulder height of its smallest dog, therefore a Papillon is perfect. My only concern was whether my very unruly, untrained but very ball mad Papillon was going to be able to learn this.

I shouldn't have worried. The training was so easy. Repeat and reward. Repeat and reward; that is the key. Sandy was ready for his first competition within 9 months of training. I cannot begin to explain how nervous we were about our first event. I don't actually recall ever being as nervous in the show ring. The Flyball community welcomed us with open arms. Advice and friendship were offered without hesitation.


Jouetchien Golden Sands FD FDX - Sandy
















Fullofun Andy Pandy
 FD

The race format was fast, furious; and incredibly exciting. To say that we had a fun day was an understatement. On our first day racing we ran 22 heats and four final run-offs. Our team won its division and Sandy - Jouetchien Golden Sands FD FDX raced so well that he earned enough points for his Flyball title. He became the first Papillon in Australia to be awarded the title Flyball Dog by the Royal New South Wales Canine Council and the Australian Flyball Association. Sandy is one of two Papillons who actively race and demonstrate Flyball in Australia.

Fullofun Andy Pandy FD, owned and bred by Gail Starr, gained his Flyball title late in 2002 and Sandy has now earned his FDX - Flyball Dog Excellent.

If you would like to spend quality time with your dogs once a week, and you love the adrenaline rush, then Flyball could just be the canine sport for you too.

Bronwyn Wray-Pattinson
Fluttaby Papillons
Sydney, Australia

The New Zealand Papillon Club (Inc)
Established 1984