Fun Flyball

In the competition world, flyball is an intense relay sport which became official in 1984. It involves two teams each consisting of four handlers and dogs. Handlers send their dogs down a 51-foot course with a start/finish line at one end over 4 hurdles to collect a ball at the other end from a flyball box to bring it back over the 4 hurdles to the handler. Dogs in competitive flyball can reach speeds of up to 30mph resulting in them looking like they’re flying! Hence the name!

The fastest flyball record is held by a team named 'Roadrunners Beep Beep' (very fitting) who, at Crufts 2023, completed the relay in 14.27 seconds! That's an average of each dog running 102 feet in 3.56 seconds!


The dog who holds the top spot here at Poochadise is a Kelpie X named Bella who holds the record at 5.33 seconds!


At Poochadise Canine Services, we will be learning the sport purely for fun, not to compete.

 Each beginners course is 8 weeks long due to the skills learned to safely participate. Dogs also need to learn to catch and give up the ball! (Although, we do have some 'food runners' who run purely to the box for food (or their own toy) to then run back to their owners so please don't feel you can't give it a go if your dog isn't ball driven!)

After completing the 8 week beginners course, you are then eligible to come to intermediates sessions which are grouped into 4 week courses. 

Private session options are also available.


Sessions take place indoors at Holt Village Hall, Harts Lane, Holt, BH21 7DJ unless stated otherwise.


Which dogs can take part in Fun Flyball?


Fun Flyball at Poochadise isn't as fast paced as what you see in competitions or on TV! The ball retrieval aspect of the run isn't as 'hard hitting' due to us running for fun rather than on the clock, although the end game is still the same and there will be healthy competition between the teams!

Our ball launch pads are not spring activated, but instead use velcro to attach the balls ready for retrieval so force is not required to activate the spring release mechanism. Even if your dog is not fast, they can still participate (9+ months).


What to expect?


The 8 sessions that make up the beginners course are broken down each week into fun learning lessons for you and your dog! Please do not expect to be doing full runs and racing in weeks 1-3! Sessions are broken down into training drills (as stated in the 'top tips' further down the page), health & safety aspects of flyball, jumping drills, socialisation & distractions and box work. From week 4, everything starts being pieced together! The 'runs' are equipped with rubber matting to ensure no slips.


From week 4, the 8 dogs and handlers will be split into two teams. In each team, there are two different positions that everyone will get to have a go at! The first is the 'Start Dog'. The job of this dog is, you guessed it, the first dog to run! Usually this is the most competitive and athletic dog to give their team a strong head start. We then have the 'second' and 'third' dogs which are the middle runners. The final piece of the puzzle is the 'Anchor Dog'. Again, this dog is one of the fastest on the team and swoops in for the win!


What to bring to lessons?


Reward/tug toy, poo bags, lots of drinking water for you and your dog, a bowl, a normal lead (not slip or extendable), a harness and/or collar that doesn't affect your dogs movement, treats and plenty of enthusiasm!


For flyball bookings, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.


Beginners 8 Week Course

£104 per dog


Course Start Dates:


Sunday 10th March 2024 at 11.30am- Hayters BH21 7EB

*Sunday 12th May 2024 at 11.30am- Hayters BH21 7EB

**Sunday 12th May 2024 at 12.45pm- Hayters BH21 7EB

Wednesday 22nd May 2024 at 6.30pm

Sunday 1st September 2024 at 8.30pm

Wednesday 4th September 2024 at 6.30pm

Sunday 27th October 2024 at 8.30pm

Wednesday 30th October 2024 at 6.30pm


*Week 7 & 8 of this course (23rd & 30th June) will be at the earlier time of 11am.

**Week 7 & 8 of this course (23rd & 30th June) will be at the earlier time of 12.15pm.


Intermediates 4 Week Course

£52 per dog


Course Start Dates:


Wednesday 24th July 2024 at 7.30pm

Sunday 1st September 2024 at 6.30pm

Wednesday 4th September 2024 at 7.30pm

Sunday 29th September 2024 at 6.30pm

Wednesday 2nd October 2024 at 7.30pm

Sunday 27th October 2024 at 6.30pm

Wednesday 30th October 2024 at 7.30pm

Sunday 24th November 2024 at 6.30pm

Wednesday 27th November 2024 at 7.30pm


Private/121 Sessions


£37 for 45 minutes (1 dog)

£47 for up to 1 hour (2 dogs)

£52 for 1 hour (3 dogs)

£62 for 1 hour (4 dogs)

£72 for 1 hour (5-7 dogs)

£82 for 1 hour (8 dogs)


Available indoors on Wednesday evenings at 8.45pm


This is a great option for those who wish to trial a fun flyball session before committing to a full course, have a reactive/nervous dog who needs space, have an elderly dog/puppy/dog with special needs who requires a bit more time and understanding, have multiple family dogs who you want to do a private session with or maybe you want to throw an flyball doggy birthday party! These are just some examples-the list is endless!

Payment is required at the time of booking (within 24 hours). Failure to pay may result in your booking being cancelled.

A 48 hour cancellation policy is in place for this option. If notice of less than 48 hours is given, there will be no option of a refund or 'roll over'.


For flyball bookings, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

'Top Tips' to get Fun Flyball ready!


The first few weeks of your beginners flyball course will be focused around running drills to prepare your dog for the way of the game! Below are some of the training tips we will be using in these drills so the more you can practice-the better! It's great if you can practice in different environments so your dog(s) know what to expect.


Remember- KEEP IT POSITIVE!


1) Toy & Tug Drive

Most of our dogs are foodies, but from the other end of the flyball course, food is tricky to see! A long tug toy is the perfect eye catching reward for your dog to run to. Other options can be a ball on a rope, flirt pole, a teddy or a frisbee. It needs to be something you can keep hold of at the other end.

Once you have decided on your toy of choice-stick to it! Your dog ONLY gets this toy when you run these flyball drills so ensure it stays out of sight unless you're training. To get your dog excited by the toy, keep the playtime to 5 minutes at a time and make them work for it! Wiggle the toy around, use excitable voices and make them want it! Allow them to get it every 30 seconds as a reward then continue. If your dog has resource guarding tendancies, use this time to trade for food. Never try to physically open your dogs mouth as this doesn't build trust. If your dog is an overenthusiastic tugger, watch your fingers! If they catch you, please remember it wasn't on purpose, they're just excited by the game. You can ask your dog to wait/stay as you walk away from them then call them with the toy. As they are running towards you, run a few steps back so they keep tat momentum going! Reward them with a game of tug.


2) Recall

An obvious but important one! You want your dog to run back to you after they have the ball, not away! Most of us make the mistake of only calling our dogs back on walks when it's time to go home, recall should be praticed throughout the walk. It's time to brush up on those skills!


3) Restrained Recalls

You'll need a second pair of hands for this one! 

Get someone to hold your dog (off lead) by their harness/collar whilst you run away. As you call their name, your partner lets go and your dog should make a beeline for you! Feel free to run some more if your wish! Ensure lots and lots of praise and a treat when they get to you. With all recall, it's important to reward your dog within split seconds of them getting to you (so have a treat ready in your hand-something yummy!) By asking them to perform an action when they get to you e.g. sit or down, you are actually rewarding the secondary action and not the prompt recall.


4) Retrieving, Catching and Giving Up The Ball

Some of you will be lucky to have a dog that lives for a game of fetch, others not so much! If you want to play flyball, the dogs has to learn to retrieve-this can be a tedious and long process. At this point I will note that no squeaky balls are used in the game of flyball so please train with a normal tennis ball (the exception to this is your reward toy but again, the squeaky ball is only used as the reward, not as the retieval ball).

To make the ball more interesting, you can leave it in a zip lock bag in the fridge with pieces of chicken/treats so it smells fabulous to your dog. Be careful with this tip if you have a food resource guarder! Roll the ball across the floor and praise your dog when they pick it up in their mouths. You can put a leash on your dog to help 'reel them in' to you when they have they ball (please do not yank- gentle pressure!) to guide them in the right direction to you. Trade for their reward toy when they give it up. Build up distance between you as the dog gets better at this game. Again, you can run away from your dog to help them keep that recall momentum. If they drop the ball, send them back for it.


Some dogs (my Lola included!) cannot catch a ball at all. I've tossed this dog slices of ham before and they just land on her face. Her perplexed face is just pure comedy gold! She has now learn't to catch a teddy. We did this by using smaller objects such as bits of doggy popcorn as it doesn't move fast. For larger dogs, I'd recommend something bigger than popcorn and softer as we don't want the popcorn inhaled mid air to become a choking hazard! If you'd like a size guide, Lola is a small shi tzu poodle cross weighing 6.9kg so her mouth is tiny!


The one that everybody dreads, giving up the ball! We've all been there!

The trick is to be patient and not to let frustration get the better of you.

After you have completed your retrieval exercise and your dog is running back towards you, use your reward toy to get your dog focused on this so they drop the ball. This might not happen first time so please be patient. Make your reward toy look interesting to your dog, you might find that just standing there showing it to them won't cut it! The truth is, many dogs require a swap for something of equal or higher value than the object that they're holding. I know I wouldn't swap my ice cream sundae for a handful of pine nuts...offer me a pavlova though and we've got a deal! Every dog will have something-you've just got to find out what makes them tick!

Remember not to chase them! This game will trump everything! If it's not working out, ignore them and walk away ready to try again in 15 minutes.


5) Ball Target

When your dog can happily drop the ball, bring in a target mat. During the flyball game, the ball will be on a sloped taget box attached by strong velcro for your dog to take from here. Due to this, your dog needs to be comfortable with putting their feet on a different textured surface to collect the ball. A door mat is a great tool for this as it will not slip when the dog runs to it. For safety, I wouldn't recommend a towel. Put the mat in an area which has a clear run to it and place the ball on the mat in a position that means the dog will have to put their front paws on it. If your dog is uncomfortable with this, start with the ball right at the edge of the mat and place it further into the middle of the mat as the dogs confidence grows.


6) Ball Obsession

This one is more of a training tip instead of a flyball drill. If your dog is or becomes ball obsessed, start using a 'dead ball', this is a ball that is present on the floor in training but you do nothing with. Those of you that have attended my intermediate/advanced agility sessions will be familiar with the concept of dummy obstacles! When doing your tug games, have the dead ball on the floor. If your dog goes towards it, call them away, if this fails and they run off with it, IGNORE THEM. Carry on making the tug toy/reward toy look incredibly appealing (you might look slightly odd in the process but it's all part of the fun!). Praise your dog when they return to you, no matter how long it takes!



Booking Form

 
 
 
121/Private Sessions
Beginners Flyball - Wednesday
Intermediate Flyball - Wednesday
Beginners Flyball - Sunday
Intermediate Flyball - Sunday