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Dog Suitability in Flyball

Flyball tournaments are popular with dog owners as they offer a great opportunity for dogs to have fun, exercise, and bond with their owners. Not all dogs are suited to Flyball tournaments (although most are suitable for having fun at the local club without competing!) and there are specific requirements that both the dog and owner must meet.

  1. Age & Health
    Dogs should be 15 months old (depending on country) before they start competing in Flyball tournaments as this ensures the physical and mental development is adequate for the sport. Dogs should be in good health and free from serious medical conditions.

  2. Obedience & Training
    Flyball requires high levels of obedience & training and your dog should be responsive to basic commands such as sit, stay and recall. Obedience is critical as dogs need to stay focused on the race, follow instructions and work as part of a team.

    Flyball specific training is also essential. Flyball training includes teaching your dog to run a course, to jump over hurdles, triggering the ball release on the flyball box and running back over the course to the start/finish line. Most Flyball clubs have their own courses and equipment to help dogs and owners develop the necessary skills.

  3. Drive & Motivation
    Successful Flyball dogs are usually high energy and highly motivated. They should have a strong desire to retrieve the ball and bring it back to its owner at the start/finish line. Border Collies, Australian Shepherds and other herding breeds are often used in Flyball due to them being so driven and enthusiastic, but any breed can participate (and be competitive!) if they have the required drive and motivation.

  4. Socialisation & Temperament
    Flyball tournaments are team sports usually with lots of people and other dogs at the event so they need to interact well with other dogs and people. Dogs that are aggressive, nervous or fearful are not well suited to Flyball competitions. A well socialised dog with a good temperament help to ensure a positive, fun and safe experience for all participants.

  5. Energy Requirements
    Flyball is a fast and furious sport and lots of energy is needed! Dogs which excel at flyball are often those with an abundance of energy and eagerness. If your dog enjoy activities such as agility, running or playing fetch, they may be a good fit for the sport.

  6. Size
    Size doesn’t matter! Flyball tracks contain hurdles which dogs must jump over on the way down the track and back. Hurdles are typically lowered to accommodate the smallest dog on the team which means the larger dogs are able to easily run over them. A small, fast dog in the team can give a competitive edge.

  7. Team Player
    Flyball is very much a team sport so dogs need to be comfortable working closely with other dogs and their owners

  8. Handler Commitment
    Flyball training and tournament participation takes a keen and dedicated owner. Flyball is an activity which takes lots of training, dedication and commitment so it’s import that both you and your dog are on board.

If your dog possesses the right characteristics and you’re willing to commit to the training required, Flyball can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience for both the dog and the owner!

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