4 - Flyball: How to add fun to your dogs life!
Flyball - Fun for your Dog and the whole Family
What is Flyball? I hear you ask! I asked myself the same question when I saw a Flyball demo advertised at a Doggy Funday I was photographing earlier this year.
In short, Flyball is a very fast paced doggy relay sport, in which two teams of four dogs compete at the same time, each using a parallel 'racing lane' with 4 jumps, down which each dog in turn runs, triggering a pedal on the Flyball box, releasing a tennis ball, which the dog has to carry back down to the start, before the next dog starts.
Click here for the full explanation and rules on the Kennel Club website.
As I mentioned, my first experience of Flyball was a demo at a doggy funshow earlier this year. I was instantly amazed by these dogs and found the demo very interesting. Great to see all kind of different breeds taking part as well. At competitions you will mainly see Border Collies running, but you will also see every other breed from Spaniels, to Lurchers and even Jack Russel Terriers and Poodles.
I took a load of photos at the Flyball demo and got speaking to the team captain of the Scratch Squad Flyball team. After the demo I was delighted when I was asked to photograph a Flyball competition held at Milton of Crathes and organised by Scratch Squad 8/9th September.
In preparation for the competition and to learn more about the sport, I went along to one of the training sessions at Garioch Sports Center Inverurie. Team captain Marguerite made me feel very welcome and kindly explained the ins and outs of Flyball. I spent the evening trying different positions and camera setting to get the best possible photos of this fast paced sport. I also met some of the other team members and their lovely dogs.
Fast forward a few weeks and it was competition time! I was slightly worried about the weather, as it was raining and very overcast Saturday and Sunday morning, but both days turned in to lovely sunny days.
What a blast all dogs, handlers and I had. It was brilliant watching some of the best Flyball teams of the country compete against each other. It's a fairly noisy sport, with dogs barking and handlers winding up their dogs with phrases like 'ARE YOU READY' - 'WHERE'S YOUR BALL' - 'GET YOUR BALL' - 'BALL BALL BALL', before releasing them to run their leg and return back to the handler who's waiting at the finish line with a reward, for most dogs that'll be a tuggy toy of sorts.
Sundays running finished at lunch time, so I headed back home to start the big task of post-processing around 3000 photos. That took pretty much all afternoon and all day Monday, but eventually I got the photos online, feel free to have a wee nosy through the photos in my online gallery.
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