Skip to main content

Canines Compete

03/19/2013 02:59PM, Published by Anonymous, Categories: In Print, Life+Leisure




story: Sue Edmon photos: MaxDogPhotos.com

Reddings Flyball And Splash Dogs There’s something irresistible about a toy-obsessed dog. He drops his treasure at your feet and watches hopefully with those big brown eyes, tail whipping side to side. When you toss it for him, he’s so thrilled you can’t help but smile. But that smile fades at around the 30th throw, when your arm feels like it’s going to fall off. Of course, your dog doesn’t know that the only thing you feel like tossing is his sloppy-wet treasure into the trash. He’s still wagging his tail, waiting for that next throw. So what’s a dog lover to do?

Join Strike Force Flyball Racing Club or Shasta Splash Dogs Dock Jumping Club, suggests Barbara Darrow, a certified pet trainer and founder of both Redding-based clubs. “They’re loads of fun for dogs and people alike.”

What toy-obsessed dog wouldn’t love what Darrow describes as “the fastest game of fetch” on the planet? Flyball is the perfect name for this fast-moving, exciting sport, where two teams of four dogs each compete in a timed relay race. One dog from each team speeds down a 51-foot aisle (leaping over four hurdles along the way), triggers the spring-loaded “flyball box” to release a tennis ball, then races back (over the hurdles again) with ball in mouth. Once he crosses the finish line, the next dog goes. This is precision racing—time is electronically measured to the thousandth of a second.

If it sounds intimidating, Darrow assures it’s not. “Really, all you need is a dog who will do anything for a ball. That allows him to block out all the rest.” She laughs. “Flyball races are a three-ring circus.”

Of course, there is training involved. “Every dog is different, so there’s no set amount of training,” she says. “The average is three to four months before the first competition.” Netted lanes teach the dog to run straight and care is taken to teach dogs to land with all fours on the flyball box. “That avoids joint damage,” she says. “We want this sport to enhance a dog’s life, not detract from it, so safety comes first.” Distractions are eventually incorporated into the training. “We try to do whatever could happen in a real race—tipped over jumps, dropped balls, dogs crossing the lanes. We had a couple of small dogs that crossed the start line, then stopped and rolled around, playing like puppies. The hardest part of the whole thing isn’t the training, it’s hanging on to the dogs until it’s their turn to run. All they want to do is get that ball.”

Darrow and husband Ralph compete with their three border collies—Gypsy, Reno and Blaze. “Border collies and Jack Russells are popular, but any dog can compete. We’ve raced with beagles, Airedales, retrievers and labs. The more variety, the better.” They don’t have to be greyhound-fast, either. “We have different divisions in each tournament. We’ll place a slower dog on a team with faster dogs to even it out.”

While breed isn’t important, fitness is. “You can’t expect a couch potato dog to do flyball. They need to be in good shape in order to avoid injury,” she says.

The Strike Force Flyball Club offers free training to its members. “All we ask is a commitment that folks agree to travel to five or six tournaments a year,” she says.

You’d think that flyball would have been enough for Darrow. She laughs. “I was watching Animal Planet and saw a show about Splash Dogs. It looked like so much fun that I decided to research the sport.” In 2002, she started Shasta Splash Dogs.

The sport is all about fun, incorporating two things most dogs love—toys and water. Dogs run 40 feet down a ramp and leap as far as possible before splashing into the water. The motivation—to retrieve a favorite toy hurled into the water by their handlers.

Training is required, and is offered by Club Vice President Jeff Vanatta. “The dogs go nuts when it’s time to jump,” he says. “So they really need to learn to sit and stay while the handler walks to the end of the ramp to throw the toy.”

“Training the dog is the easy part,” says Darrow. “Do you know how hard it is to throw a toy straight out ahead of you?”

Successful dock diving dogs are toy-driven, says Vanatta, whose dog Teva loves her Dolly Duck and dog Bailey will do anything for his Thumper Bumper. “We tell people to save that special toy for practice and for competition.”

Competition is optional, says Darrow. “This is a sport you can do simply for fun.”

Dock diving is a great sport that the whole family can enjoy, Vanatta adds. “We usually have an open dock session for the public before our practice. Everyone is welcome to come out and give it a try.”

The sport is generally safe for the dogs, but they should be in good shape, he says. “In addition to our weekly practice, I take my dogs swimming at least once a week. The only real hazard is for people. There’s usually one person who’s so focused on the dog that he backs off the dock. They always make a big splash.”



interest


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    10:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Canvas and Cocktails

    05/26/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Come drink and paint with us! You don’t need ANY art experience to enjoy this evening of fun, mus...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/27/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/27/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/27/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Ranger-guided Activities Offered on Memorial Day Weekend Whiskeytown National Recreation Area...


  • 53rd Whiskeytown Memorial Regatta

    05/27/2017
    10:30AM — 06:00PM

    The Whiskeytown Memorial Regatta is a two-day sailing race that brings competitors from far and w...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/27/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    05/27/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/28/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/28/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/28/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    10:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Healthy Eating and Being Active Class

    05/29/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Looking for FREE classes on tips for healthy eating and being active? Then this is for you! Cla...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    10:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    10:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Senior Health & Fitness Day

    05/31/2017
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    Shingletown Medical Center Presents 24th Annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day® The Shi...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    05/31/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesday and get $3 off a growler fill.


  • Weaverville Farmers' Market

    05/31/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Weaverville Farmers' Market is held on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm from May through October! tr...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    10:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/26/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Canvas and Cocktails

    05/26/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Come drink and paint with us! You don’t need ANY art experience to enjoy this evening of fun, mus...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/27/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/27/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/27/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Ranger-guided Activities Offered on Memorial Day Weekend Whiskeytown National Recreation Area...


  • 53rd Whiskeytown Memorial Regatta

    05/27/2017
    10:30AM — 06:00PM

    The Whiskeytown Memorial Regatta is a two-day sailing race that brings competitors from far and w...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/27/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    05/27/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/28/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/28/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/28/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    10:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Healthy Eating and Being Active Class

    05/29/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Looking for FREE classes on tips for healthy eating and being active? Then this is for you! Cla...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/29/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    10:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/30/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    09:00AM

    During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity. Brew Craft Coffe-Havens Humane Society 1...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    09:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    10:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Art For A Cause

    05/31/2017
    11:00AM

    LOCAL's Gallery Presents: Art For A Cause During May Percentage of All sales will go to charity...


  • Senior Health & Fitness Day

    05/31/2017
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    Shingletown Medical Center Presents 24th Annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day® The Shi...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    05/31/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesday and get $3 off a growler fill.


  • Weaverville Farmers' Market

    05/31/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Weaverville Farmers' Market is held on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm from May through October! tr...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    06/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch Spotify for t...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    06/02/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • First Friday on Main

    06/02/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us at Enjoy the Store Red Bluff, home to Cedar Crest Brewing and Vineyard, for live music, f...


  • The Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber Certified Farmers' Markets open June 3rd! All farmers and ve...


  • Join Tangle Blue Saloon and The B.A.M.T. Coalition for Fun Times for the 2nd annual Trinity Celti...


  • Mountain Wintu Herbs Class

    06/03/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Learn how to make: Fire Infusion* (Cider) w/Turmeric When: Saturday, June 3, 2017 Time: 10 a...


  • Saturday, June 3rd, The Friends of the Shasta County Libraries will sell gently used books in the...


  • CityConnect 2017

    06/03/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    CityConnect is a free event for all ages to make connections and become a part of the solutions f...


  • Reggae Fest 3

    06/03/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    Come enjoy live music, dancing, fun for kids, local food and community vendors, beer garden and m...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tours

    06/03/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    06/03/2017
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Whiskeytown Paint Out!

    06/04/2017
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    The National Park Service working in partnership with the Friends of Whiskeytown and Redding Bank...


  • Healthy Eating and Being Active Class

    06/05/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Looking for FREE classes on tips for healthy eating and being active? Then this is for you! Cla...


Enter to Win a $100 Gift Card!

Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living

 

Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors