The Yorkshire Bouncers Flyball team take us through their history of how the club was established, and how flyball today really is a sport that is accessible to any breed.
Where it all began...
Founded in 1999 by a lady called Betty Potts who had previously raced with the Wakefield Tykes; Betty started the club on her own and quickly set to getting other people involved.
Betty had Welsh springer spaniels Barney, Kerri, Cooper, Summer and Tawney. Training took place anywhere and everywhere including garages and paddocks but eventually Betty secured Eggborough power station sports and social club, which soon became the first home of Yorkshire bouncers.
Betty was a true believer in flyball being accessible to everyone and any dog, no matter how fast or slow they were.
It was by chance in 2001 that a young 19-year-old William Whiteley (who is now the current Yorkshire bouncers team captain) saw a poster in a local takeaway advertising the flyball club and decided to give it a go.
Fast forward to today …
Yorkshire bouncers now train on the out skirts of Driffield and have 16 members that currently compete in BFA Competitions, with 18 dogs racing in either open or foundation levels.
Training takes place once a week, with competitions happening once to twice a month. During the summer months these events are held outside on grass but as the nights draw in competitions move indoors and are ran on matting.
The team includes collies, terriers, cocker spaniels, Belgian malinois, cross breeds, lurchers and rescue dogs. Flyball really is a sport that is accessible to any breed.
Training can start from a young age with basic skills like recall and ball retrieve, and as the dogs develop, they use a board on the floor to train the dogs the first steps to performing a correct turn. From there a slight height is added to the board to progress the training on, before the dog is using the flyball box at full size. The dogs don't train on the box until they are at least 1 year old due to their bodies still developing.
Each part of the full sequence is broken down during training as some dogs find certain parts quicker to pick up than others, so they always work based on each individual dog’s needs.
Not all dogs that start training have the desire to collect a ball so it’s all about finding what the dog reacts to as a reward for collecting the ball and bringing it back, some may do this for treats others it's for a toy or tuggy. This is all part of the training process and teaching the dog and handler the best ways for getting the result you want.
Flyball should be fun for both the dog and handler, and this is definitely seen when you watch the dogs race.
Written by: Linzi Atkinson (Team member)