6269 Ramona 05-23-09

by Brian Matsumoto, Team Captain

In flyball your dog will receive great exercise and mental stimulation, and have more fun than ever before. He doesn’t know the difference between practice and a tournament, other than tournaments have unfamiliar dogs and his master is very excited. Your dog is having fun just running the course and pleasing you, not necessarily noticing that he is even racing against another team and another dog.

One of the best things about flyball is that your dog is expected to run a course and do it correctly. This is not disorganized free uncontrolled running in the park. Yes, free time is important, but having your dog do a job is important as well. Giving your dog a job allows him to sleep well, improve his behavior skills, control his behavior at home, and enjoy his free time even more. Flyball not only teaches your dog good behavior, but it teaches the handlers as well. Like animals, people learn by experience. Flyball is a well-organized dog sport with rules, judges, standards, and penalties. People are expected to behave and are reprimanded for outbursts or uncontrolled behavior, just like the dogs. It is true that flyball will consume some of your time, but it is quality time with your best friend, your pooch.

You and your puppy will meet new human and dog friends while practicing and competing. One of the best benefits of flyball is the network of information suddenly available to you. Handlers will have numerous veterinarians and ratings at their fingertips. Specialized care, other dog sports, obedience, supplies, dog beaches, and places that are dog friendly are all topics which are commonly shared with team members. Flyball teaches handlers to work with other team members and captains, and as a team. There is no other dog sport which involves teams. A great thing about a team sport such as flyball is that there is always someone nearby to help you. This is extremely helpful when you first get started. Veteran handlers and even other team members will coach you as you race your dog. They will help you and your dog become faster, safer, and more effective.

Flyball opens up a whole new world for beginning handlers. Record-breaking flyball teams have extremely intense dogs which are a real “eye opener” when you first see and hear them. Of course they will be matched with competitive teams, but you will see them at the same tournament using the same course. Some “out of town” teams attend tournaments in large motor homes, 5th wheel trailers, and have other expensive toys. Still there are others who live, eat, and dream about flyball. A single handler may race 3 or 4 different dogs. No matter what you take up, there are always extreme competitors who go all out.

Fortunately our team, Ballistic Racers, is a “middle of the road” team. We have no great aspirations of having huge motor homes, setting world records, or doing anything except playing flyball. We are happy competing mainly around Southern California, pulling a trailer for our equipment, and constantly improving our techniques and times. We are content having a competitive team, having everyone get along, and enjoying racing with our dogs.