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Flyball is a relay race between two teams of four dogs.
It is a sport that gives dogs everything they love – retrieving, catching, jumping and pleasing their human. And any breed can compete – all your dog needs is to be well socialised, able to be controlled by voice and a love of balls.
Dogs race side-by-side over four hurdles to trigger the flyball box; then race back so the next dog can race.
All team members must complete the course correctly.
Flyball in Australia
The earliest known Flyball activity was in 1982 in Perth, Western Australia. Flyball was a demonstration-only activity until 1996, when the Australian Flyball Association (AFA) was formed.
The AFA grew out of Queanbeyan in New South Wales (NSW) and competitions rapidly spread from NSW to the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria. Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have more recently held competitions.
For more information about flyball in Australia visit the AFA website
Flyball in South Australia & at PDODC
South Australia's first flyball competition had just one team with six members. It was the Royal Adelaide Show Flyball Competition against the Victorians in 2000. It was a humble beginning where two of Para District Obedience Dog Club members, Sharon Page and Catherine Saberton, were among that six member team. The dogs did well and won the 2nd Division racing section.
At that time flyball training was at Golden Grove and sponsorship was sought. Aussie Pouch Mobile donated shirts and caps to compete in. They also helped out with fundraising by washing dogs at the flyball Christmas break-up. Raffles were held and Pixie Photos helped raise $750 for a new double hole box.
In 2001 and 2002 Flyball was not held at the Royal Adelaide Show. So Catherine and Sharon decided to organise their own competition at Carisbrook Park in September 2002. The second Flyball Competition in South Australia was held, but not without a lot of behind the scenes work.
At the end of 2002, a letter was sent to the Royal Show Committee asking to be included in their program in 2003. After several meetings with the Royal Show people and SACA, a Flyball Competition for the 2003 Royal Show was born. Since then Flyball at the show has been held every year.
Flyball moved to Para District Obedience Dog Club in April 2004. It was a small group of about 10 people and 1½ teams. Flyball has grown in numbers and now in 2009, PDODC fields five teams. PDODC are one of the bigger Flyball Clubs in Australia (with the number of teams per club).
On May 20, 2007, the Million Paws Walk Flyball Competition saw four teams from PDODC and one from Dover Gardens compete. History was made as this was the first all SA Flyball Competition with a SA Judge (Catherine Saberton), four or more South Australian teams and the electronic judging system; and lots of volunteers.
Flyball support has grown since moving to PDODC. There are now four lanes and four boxes to run and train with on Monday nights. The beginners and intermediates are also growing.
PDODC members look for ongoing sponsorship and contine their fundraising efforts to keep PDODC at their best at competitions in this wonderful sport of Flyballing.
So when you come to training think about how flyball got started, what manpower is needed to maintain the equipment; and how far it has progressed since moving to Para District Obedience Dog Club in 2004.