If Dottie likes to chase everything that moves and has a reliable off-leash recall, she might be a perfect candidate for flyball, an exciting sport with great spectator appeal. Flyball is a relay race in which dogs retrieve a tennis ball over a series of jumps. Each member of the four-dog team must run the course, trigger a spring-loaded box, grab the ball and return to meet the next dog at the start/finish line.
Flyball began in the 1970s and is governed by the North American Flyball Association. About three dozen flyball clubs have been formed in California, including the very active Bay Racers, Pawdemonium and Sacramento Flyball Club. Dogs of all breeds and mixes are eligible to compete. Border collies predominate, but many a team of mutts has won a championship. Check club listings to find a tournament or exhibition and find out how to get involved.
Flyball competitor takes a jump at Bark in the Park San Jose 2010. Photo by Janet Fullwood