Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We Caught the Flyball Bug...

Back in January we announced our official start of flyball training.  At that time, our intentions for enrolling Athena in a flyball class were to try out a dog sport, expose Athena to a new experience, and have some fun!  Although flyball is a competitive dog sport, we really weren't planning on competing in the future.  Our reasons for not wanting to compete were simple.  We just didn't think that Athena would be able to handle it.  Yes, she might enjoy flyball practice and get some great experience working around other dogs, but we just didn't think that in the long-run she'd be able to compete on a dog team.

As we mentioned when we first started flyball training, Athena is a social butterfly and therefore she started off thinking that flyball practice was social hour.  Our very first time that we attempted passing another dog, Athena ran after the dog to play instead of running to tug with me.

Athena successfully passing another dog

Well, little did we know that we would enjoy flyball so much and that we might get sucked into sticking with it.  If you follow us on Facebook you may have already seen this announcement...but...

Athena is now an official member of the Flying Underdogs Flyball Club!

Athena has come a really long way in her flyball training and we couldn't be more proud of her.  Her overall confidence has exploded, she's more calm in the presence of other dogs, and she just seems like a more well-trained dog overall.

Athena's ball obsession got the best of her for the first few months of flyball training and we really struggled to get her to actually drop her ball to even tug with us.  Over the past few weeks she's been making lots of improvement with dropping her ball, and last week we were faced with a new problem.  Now Athena is dropping her ball four jumps too soon!  Goodness.  Now we are working to teach her a 'give' command so that she will actually bring the ball to us, drop it, and then tug.

Jumping on the box for her ball

Joining a flyball team means that in the coming months we will be traveling to a few different flyball events.  Our first tournament where Athena will participate as a green dog (a.k.a. new dog still in training) will be held on July 13th and 14th in Salem, Oregon!

If you're curious about what flyball actually is, here's a video documentary all about the sport:

Don't forget to enter our STAM Grain-Free Treats Giveaway.  A winner will be chosen tonight (May 29th) at 9 PST!


  1. Yay Thean! We'd like to try flyball with Moby too... it looks like so much fun!

  2. WOOT! Congrats on this big accomplishment!! You guys have done such great work with the little Bean! We know she'll do awesome! We can't wait to hear (and see) how she does!!

  3. That is so seriously cool! I really admire how far Thean has come and the obvious time you give to her training and development. I can't wait to follow her career as a fly ball girl. :-)

  4. Whoa! So jealous :) I think flyball looks like so much fun. Maybe one day I'll have a dog with a little more get-up-and-go!

  5. So proud of you Athena! I just knew you would be a star in this sport!

  6. That's so awesome, congrats Athena! I don't think we have flyball in this area, but I'll have to look into it. It looks like so much fun!

  7. Oh, congratulations Athena!! That is so exciting and I cannot wait to hear about all your cool flyball competition adventures! It's so great that Athena gets to do something she loves so much :)

  8. Awesome! I love the picture where she is ready to go, she obviously loves it! I'm not sure how Kaya would do at flyball because she loves fetch but she only wants to play with her one ball, I think she'd look at me like I'm crazy if I wanted her to go back and get another one!

  9. Congrats! It looks like loads of fun. I don't know much about flyball at all, but watching the video makes me want to know more. But quick question - whats the tugging about? I saw a few people doing it in the video, but it wasn't mentioned, and it doesn't look like it is part of the relay. Is it just a break for the dogs?

    1. Tugging is the dog's reward after running and bringing the ball back. They essentially learn to drop the ball and then tug with their human. The tug also serves as a way to keep your dog focused on you, rather than on the other dogs having their turn running. Tugging isn't actually part of the race, but it has become one of Athena's favorite parts of flyball =) It's also great for us, because when Athena is tugging, she's not at all distracted by the dogs working around her.

  10. The flyball bug sure is contagious, isn't it? It only gets worse once you go to a few tournaments too. We'll have to make sure to get together for dinner or something while in Salem for the tournament.

  11. Congratulations! Athena just gets more famous by the day!