Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? If your pooch is already well-versed in fetching and jumping, then maybe he can try his hand at flyball, a dog sport that’s slowly gaining popularity in the canine community. Want to learn more? Read on for a brief introduction.
WHAT IS FLYBALL?
“Flyball is a relay race that’s between two teams of four dogs,” says Bong Rollan of Urban Sports K9 flyball team. “What the dogs have to do is that they have to get the ball from the box but they have to cross four hurdles, so it’s four hurdles to the box, then four hurdles back. And then as soon as the first dog crosses, then you release the next dog… It’s a relay race, so you’re looking for dogs that are willing to jump and run and willing to get a ball and come back.”
WHAT BREEDS ARE BEST SUITED FOR FLYBALL?
Good news--you don’t have to own a big, speedy dog to participate in flyball contests. “As long as the dog can clear the jump and run, then it can do it,” says Bong. “It’s just really how you work with your dog and how dedicated you are with him… they will do miracles for you.”
HOW DO YOU TRAIN A DOG FOR FLYBALL?
“You have to start with dogs that are obedient, so obedience is the first step. Once they’re obedient… You have to teach them to fetch an object. And then we added the jumps later,” Bong reveals.
Schooling a dog in this sport isn't an easy process, though. “It was a long process. Hindi siya nangyayari overnight (It doesn’t happen overnight), and I think that’s one of the things that people going into dog sports have to consider."
ANY TRAINING TIPS WE SHOULD KEEP IN MIND?
“We don’t punish the dogs when we’re training,” says Bong. “We make sure that it’s all about praise and toys and food… For our dogs, they do it because they love to do it and because they know they’re rewarded here. So that’s why they’re faster. Because if you teach a dog through punishment, some dogs might hesitate on their way back… It’s all positive reinforcement.”
(Photo by Stu Hill Photography via Flickr Creative Commons)