Flyball

Flyball is basically a team sport consisting of two teams each of four dogs racing against each other. Each dog runs over four jumps, collects a tennis ball from the flyball box at the end of the lane and races back over the same four jumps. Once the dog is back the next dog races off, in a relay. The first team back with four dogs who have correctly negotiated the jumps and collected their tennis balls wins!

In the UK there are two organisations that run flyball - although for Kennel Club flyball the only competitions tend to be Crufts qualifiers. Previously, Kennel Club flyball consisted of a box which threw the balls up into the air and the dogs jumped to catch them. Both organisations - Kennel Club and BFA (British Flyball Association) - now use the same type of box to release the tennis balls, where the box releases the tennis ball virtually into the dog's mouth so there is no jumping up to catch a ball.

There are competitions and training classes for both sorts throughout the country. Apart from dogs being mad about tennis balls the main thing about flyball is that it is a team sport - you cannot just go along and take part with your own dog (unlike all the other disciplines where it is just you and your dog) - you have to become part of a team. As a result it tends to be an activity that you either love or hate! Most Tollers seem to love it as it involves running over jumps and getting a tennis ball.

Tollers are training and competing in both types of flyball teams with dogs of various breeds - there has yet to be a flyball team of just Tollers! Dogs need to be over 12 months old to start training, due to the repeated jumping that they undertake.

For most handlers the attraction of the Kennel Club type flyball is the possibility of qualifying to go to Crufts, and one of the attractions of the BFA type flyball is the possibility of earning titles to put after the dog's name.