What is Flyball?
Flyball is essentially a relay race for dogs.
Two teams of four dogs race against each other. Each dog in the team has to run down a 51foot lane, hurdling four jumps, the height of which is determined by the height of the smallest dog in the team.
At the end of the lane is a “Flyball box” into which is placed a tennis ball. The dog has to trigger the box, catch the ball and return over the hurdles with the ball in its mouth.
At the start of the racing lane, electronic sensors and lights both time the dogs’ run and ensure that the incoming dog doesn’t cross the start line before the dog coming out has crossed it.
All four dogs have to run without fault and the team which completes first wins the leg.
The current UK record for all four dogs running and returning successfully is 15.52 seconds – it’s a fast sport.
The dogs (and handlers) have to be trained, amongst other things;
1.To jump onto the Flyball box safely at speed, trigger and catch the ball.
2.Hurdle all four jumps, without running around them, both towards the box and on the return.
3.Hold the ball from collection to any point past the start / finish line.
4.Pass other dogs in their team at very close quarters and at speed.
5.Not be distracted by dogs from the other team, racing alongside them.
We race competitively, under the team name Shaw Cross Racers.
Below is a picture of team members after a successful outing in 2016, at Eggborough Power Station. We fielded two open teams and a starter team. All three came first in their respective divisions.
In addition, still in 2016, Shaw Cross first team – the Racers – came first in division 1, two weeks on the trot, at Blackpool and then again at Bakewell Showground.
That said, for us, it’s not just about being the fastest or the best dog. Each year Wakefield Dog Training Club awards, at its AGM, the most improved handler and dog over the preceding year.
At its AGM in February 2017, Gillian Plant and her Whippet, Jim, were awarded the trophy, even though they have only just started in Open Competition. Our congratulations to them both.