Flyball Is Great Fun For Dogs And People

If you are looking for a fun activity for you and your dog, give flyball a try.  In this timed sport, two teams of four dogs and their handlers compete against each other in a best of three heat format.  Each dog takes their turn running over hurdles to grab a tennisball from a box and then run back over the hurdles again to the finish line.   The hurdle height is set for the smallest dog on the team which leads to some interesting strategies.  

The dogs seem to love this sport.  They bark and prance when they enter the ring.  I had one patient, a Sheltie, who started to run in place the minute she saw the jumps.  Her owners developed a special harness with a handle on top that allowed them to carry her without being scratched.  I nicknamed her the flyball maniac!   

Before starting this activity, consult with your veterinarian to make sure your dog if physically fit for flyball.   

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.