Dog sports.

This is an article by a friend of  mine and how he got into fly ball, worth a read I thought.

Dog activities.

Trevor is my 4 year old Staffy.
When I got Trevor he was 7 weeks old, cute as, aren’t they all?
I had heard that it is important to socialize your puppy, so I made the effort to take him to puppy school and he became well socialized with dogs and people.
We joined Warringal Obedience Dog Club. While doing puppy class and watching other classes performing, you say to yourself “It would be great to have such an obedient dog like that and you could take him anywhere”. So the next thing we know we are moving up through classes 1, 2, 3 and 4. Trevor was very smart and eager to please and before we knew it we were training for trials to compete against other dogs and handlers for points and titles.
Trevor and I were finally ready for our first comp.
That Saturday we were up bright and early and arrived at Southern Obedience club full of anticipation and a whole lot of nerves. I wasn’t exactly sure of the procedure, but when I asked, people were more than happy to give advice and chat. There are always other newcomers who are just as nervous as you.
It can be very nerve-wracking waiting for your number to be called up. Trevor and I enter the ring and begin, heeling, left turns, right turns, sits, drops, stays etc.
We finish our routine, I thought we did pretty good, pressure is off. Then we just relax and wait for the others to have their turn. At the end of the day the judges let you know who passes and the points you and your dog have achieved.
Christine Geary, I haven’t forgotten her name, for obvious reasons, said the dog that came first was the most impressive dog she had seen at C.C.D standard, with a score of 99 out of 100 was my boy Trevor. I was over the moon, so proud I couldn’t wait to get home and tell the family.
That was my first experience with obedience trialling. Trevor went on to other comps and got scores of 97, 95 which got him his first title C.C.D.
I decided Trevor was ready to attempt his next title because he already knew most of it, we just needed to polish up on a few things.
Trevor’s next title was C.D novice, which is out of 200 points. Trevor went on and scored 183, 185, 180 which was enough to give Trevor his 2nd title.
Trevor had achieved a lot in 2 years, 4 obedience classes and 2 titles, I decided to give him a well earned rest.
While out one day we went to the Diamond Creek Pet Expo. We could hear a lot of barking and commotion, so we decided to take a look. There were dogs barking, people yelling, dogs running up and down, over jumps, grabbing tennis balls. I was excited, but most importantly Trevor was excited; I could hardly hold him back, he wanted to get in where the action was.
What we were watching was a dog sport called FLYBALL. “Trevor would love that.” My wife Linda said to me so obtained some information and t left, dragging Trevor, as he wanted to stay.
The first thing I did when I got home was get on the computer and look up FLYBALL.
What is FLY BALL I hear you ask?
Flyball is a relay race between 2 teams of 4 dogs each team which race in lanes opposite to each other. 1 dog from each team must go over 4 jumps and trigger a box at the end to release a ball for the dog to catch. The dog must then go back over the 4 jumps to the start/finish line, then the 2nd, 3rd and 4th dogs repeat the process. First team across the line wins. It is a team sport but each dog can earn points which goes towards titles.
Those are the basics of fly ball.

Back to the computer where I found an obedience club that did flyball not too far form or home .
Keilor Obedience dog club located at A.J DAVIS RESERVE FULLARTON RD AIRPORT WEST (T-Keilor team)*.
I decided to take Trev down and watch fly ball training and spoke to Max Shelleken who filled me in on the training methods. He asked if Trevor liked balls, I said yes he likes balls more than food. He said “that’s a good start” so we got Trev to retrieve the ball and then retrieve it again over 4 jumps. Max said “He’s quite smart and eager to please, he could be racing in 6 months.” I thought he was joking.
Trevor and I started training in late February, each training session we both learnt something new. When learning flyball step by step until you can put all the pieces together and do a full run down over 4 jumps trigger the box catch the ball and return back over the finish line. At the end of August Trevor had been going full runs for a while, then one day Rodney Gooch said Gaz, Trev is ready; there’s a comp coming up soon. Do you want to put him in a team?” I said yes, when and where? He said “Adelaide” and I said “WHERE?” and he said “Adelaide”. I replied “That’s what I thought you said.”
Well the next thing I knew Linda, Trev and I were off to Adelaide .
It was race day and I was a bit worried being at Adelaide Show as there were cattle and horses nearby. Trev couldn’t take his eyes off them, but when it came down to it he was focused on the job that he had to do. Normally with new dogs you ease them into it by running them for half a day, however after a couple of heats one of the small dogs got hurt. That meant we had no spare dogs so Trevor had no choice but to run all day. He did not make one mistake, I was so proud of him. He had earned 30 points towards his title but who’s counting?
Being in Adelaide we get to stay over in dog friendly places. When the club runs 3 teams we have up to 13 people and 18 dogs as some have more than one dog. Altogether doesn’t it sound great? IT IS, I love it and so do the dogs .
Trevor has been doing fly ball for 14 months and has 600 points, as you can tell I am very proud of my boy Trev. As long as Trevor is having a good time that’s what it’s all about.
I hope my story of my boy Trevor hasn’t been too boring, just trying to show that Staffies aren’t just show dogs. They are smart, eager to please you in whatever they do, and can do all sorts of dog sports .
DON’T let your Staffy get bored love him or her as much as they love you .
Anyhow if you happen to see a FLYBALL competition or demo have a look for T-KEILOR FLYBALL TEAM Trevor and I will be there come over and say hello to my boy Trevor….
Regards Garry and Trevor.

*Contact Joy Allen for more info- Phone: 0408539117 Email: pjallen1@bigpond.com