If your energetic dog is obsessed with tennis balls, you might want to consider flyball. One of the only team sports for dogs, flyball combines fetch and agility in relay form. From a starting line, dogs race across hurdles, then touch a spring-loaded pad to release a tennis ball, which they catch in their mouths and run to their handlers to cue the next dog in line.
How do you know if your athletic dog might be a flyball champion in the making? While any breed, big or small, can play, the ideal flyball dog has strong joints, stamina, intelligence and healthy muscles. (Herding dogs in particular tend to pick the sport up quickly.)
Train your dog to play with these simple steps:
- Does your dog enjoy fetch? Build on that skill by teaching her to catch a tennis ball in her mouth. Then, teach her to hold it until commanded to drop the ball.
- Next, teach your dog to jump hurdles. Just like agility training, get started by placing bars on the ground and guiding your dog to jump over them. Slowing raise the bar and add three more hurdles over time. (A typical flyball course features four hurdles placed 5-feet apart.)
- Finally, teach your dog to press the flyball box to release a tennis ball.
With these skills, your dog is ready to play! Visit resources like the North American Flyball Association (if you’re in the U.S., of course) to connect with flyball groups in your area, see tournament dates or find equipment.
Your dog’s ability to perform in flyball will come down to training, body condition and nutrition. Once they’re active enough, consider Eukanuba Premium Performance 21/13 Sprint, which is formulated to deliver the nutrients dogs need during flyball training or competition.