The Golden Retriever Club Inc.
New Zealand

Flygility Activity

Flygility is a combination of agility and flyball, and was invented in New Zealand by Ian Gray about 15 years ago. It is run by NZ Flygility Dog Association and involves tournaments where you can compete with your dog to obtain points towards flygility titles. People are now starting to compete in flygility in other countries as it is more exciting than the traditional flyball.

Flygility is a series of obstacles (tunnels, jumps, long jump and sometimes in the harder classes – weaves) in a line (the line is straight in the beginning classes, but as you go up can move to being a “C” shape and even an “S” shape). At the end of the obstacles is a box. This box has a pedal trigger that when pressed by the dog releases a tennis ball. So the dog does the course, gets to the box, pushes it, gets the ball, and then does the course back to you!!

Sounds tricky but with a bit of training the dogs pick it up. Some agility clubs run flygility as well so the best thing to do is to contact a club in your area and find someone who does it. You can start flygility when your dog is a year old, as the jumps are lower so there is less impact on the dog. It is also a great way to start if you think you would like to do agility later.

To get flygility points (and titles) you go to tournaments. Tournaments involve two identical lanes being set up and the dogs racing off in heats. There are three runs in a heat so it is the best of three. If you win a heat you get one point. As you win a heat you move up a level and race off against another dog that won its heat, and so on until you get a winner, second and two semi-finalists. The points add up at different competitions, and when you get 20 you have an FD (Flygility Dog), 50 is FDX (Flygility Dog Excellent) and FgCH is 100 (Flygility Champion).

Like agility tournaments offer different classes. Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced and Open. When you start you can enter any except Advanced. To enter Advanced you must have got your first 20 points (FD). Sometimes the classes are “Pairs” when you are put with another dog and you race off as a team in a heat against another team, this is a lot of fun and really exciting.

Goldies are great at flygility. They are obviously retrievers so it is natural to bring the ball back and we all know how much they love to go and get the ball!! They are also smart dogs that quickly figure out if you press the box you get the ball.

Flygility is a great spectator sport, and the tournaments are often held at A & P shows for the public to see. The dogs love it and they get very excited. If you are interested in giving it a go contact your local agility club to find out when they train.


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