When dogs fly…

Aileen Zitek

Dogs love to play fetch, but what if there was an advanced version of fetch, a sport that required agility, speed and coordination? Well, there is and it’s called flyball.

“Flyball is basically dog relay races in which dogs race in teams of four. They each jump over four hurdles, hit a tennis ball in a box, and then jump back over those four hurdles,” Mrs. Alee Cotton said, whose dogs participate in flyball.

Cotton’s two dogs –Molly, a black lab, and Tucker, a border collie– have been playing flyball almost all their lives. “I learned about flyball when my black lab, Molly, couldn’t pass her obedience class. Someone came up to me and told me she would probably never get the certification to pass, but she would be good at flyball. After this we checked it out, and then she started playing,” Cotton said.

Hayden and Tucker flyball

Flyball is a worldwide sport for dogs. Many competitions take place overseas. Here in Omaha, there are tournaments almost every weekend. They start at 4 p.m. on Friday and continue for 12 hours throughout Saturday and Sunday. Flyball is more than just jumping over hurdles. The dogs have to train and get ready for their competition. The team Cotton’s dogs play for the Omaha Speed racers. They practice every Sunday from four to six p.m.

Before practice can begin, deciding on a team is a very tedious process. “You want a shorter dog on your team, then three fast ones. The height of the smallest dog determines the height of the hurdles,” Cotton said.

Does your dog love to run, jump and fetch? Who knows? Your dog could be the next Usain Bolt. If you are interested in learning more about Flyball visit Cotton’s team’s website at http://flyballdogs.com/speedracers/index.htm.

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