Page 50 - 2013 Le Mag 4th Qtr
P. 50
Introduction to Flyball by Wendy Baldwin

In 1994, after a failed attempt at an obedience trial with my Logan earned his FD (Flyball Dog title) at his first tourna-
“ring-wise” Yorkie, Winston (long story, don’t ask), I de- ment, and I learned quickly that, at that time, the sport was
cided that my new breed was going to be Briards. I set out dominated by Border Collies and Jack Russell Terriers and
doing my research and contacted a local couple that had that having a “different” breed was going to be a challenge.
both an adult Briard and a new puppy. I was immediately Some members on the team thought it was cool to have
smitten and contacted the breeder of their dogs – Terry the first Briard, but we soon discovered that we weren’t fast
Miller. enough and were “benched” a lot. So in 2000, I started my
own team, Psychedelic Blur, and became team captain. A
Since I did not particularly want to compete in obedience lot has changed since that time. Flyball has become so pop-
anymore, I began looking for activities I could do with a ular that it is no longer unusual to see every size and shape
Briard. That’s when I came across flyball. For those not imaginable.
familiar with flyball, it is a relay race with 4 dogs on a team.
The course consists of a starting line, 4 hurdles spaced 10 Since that time, I have trained four of my Briards (along
feet apart and a flyball box. The first hurdle is 6 feet from with countless Border Collies & mixes) to compete in fly-
the start line and the box is 15 feet from the last hurdle for ball, including Logan’s daughter, ‘Sly’, CH Quikslvrs Suffrin
a 51 foot overall length. The dogs jump the hurdles and Succotash, ONYX, IronDog, the #1 Briard with NAFA.
“hit” a flyball box that shoots out a tennis ball. The dog Sly recently retired, at age 12, after earning her IronDog
catches the tennis ball and then runs back over the 4 hur- title, an award given to dogs that have competed for ten
dles. When the dog crosses the starting line the next dog consecutive years. She also has her ONYX title, which is
goes. The first team to have all 4 dogs run without errors given for earning 20,000 points (she has 22,521) and was
wins the heat. In the early 80s the sport became so popular recently inducted into the Briard Club of America's Hall of
that the North American Flyball Association (NAFA) was Fame. ‘Solo’, CH Déjà vu Only the Lonely FDCH-G, was
formed and it is the worldwide authority for flyball. It is a my first black Briard to compete and “Jammie” (also black),
family friendly sport that is highly addictive. CH Déjà vu Touché Cat’s Pajamas FD, has just started her
career after conformation and maternity leave duties. Sly
That was it – I decided I wanted to train and title the first was the “easiest” dog, by far, to train, mainly because of her
Briard in Flyball. Little did I know that in 2013, flyball love of food and tennis balls. Jammie has been the most
would be such a big part of my life, including meeting and challenging because she is so loving and affectionate and
eventually marrying my wonderful husband, Frank, who has a tendency to stop and say hi to the boxloader and has
in 2005 was looking for a new team for himself and his laid her body across the box judge’s lap in hopes of a back
Border Collie. rub or scratch. But her career is just beginning and she has
made huge strides in her training recently.
Terry and I talked on and off for months, as I described Despite the different personalities, and the different train-
what I was looking for in a dog and how I wanted to com- ing styles required for each dog, I have loved every minute
pete in flyball and she explained what I needed to do with of flyball with my Briards and look forward to training and
a new puppy to achieve that goal. In June of 1995, I picked competing with my youngsters.
up my 12 week old “Logan”, who eventually became CH
Déjà vu Looney Toons, FMCH, and the adventure began. For more information about flyball or to find a team near
I found a local flyball team and began attending weekly you, go to
practices. Since he was too young to train, we started work-
ing on retrieving a ball and, of course, socialization. When For plans to build a flyball box (launcher) go to:
he was old enough, in 1997, we began competing. The
dogs earn points towards flyball titles based on the team’s dog.html
time: (this link includes materials and a downloadable PDF set
of plans for DIYers.)
• less than 32 secs: Each dog receives 1 point
• less than 28 secs: Each dog receives 5 points
• less than 24 secs: Each dog receives 25 points

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