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Fast and furriest



Think of physical education class back in grade school when the teacher would have you sprint back and forth to see who was the fastest in the class.

If you can remember that, get ready for flyball — a relay race for dogs and their humans.

In flyball, dogs and their owners compete in a relay race that includes a series of jumps and a ball.

In flyball, dogs and their owners compete in a relay race that includes a series of jumps and a ball.

This Saturday, Skidmarkz Flyball Club will host a flyball demonstration at the Soccer House in West Des Moines. The event is free and open to the public, but if you’d like to participate with your dog, you must register ahead of time. Contact Shelby Miller at 712-828-0484 or email at

“The sport definitely attracts owners who have dogs who need a job, like terriers, border collies and labs, and provides a terrific outlet for energetic dogs. It can also be a huge confidence builder for dogs, too,” said Jayne McQuillen, team captain of Skidmarkz Flyball Club. “Dogs must be at least 1 year old to compete and not be aggressive toward other dogs or humans. Any breed or mix of dogs can compete, from a tiny Chihuahua to a Great Dane and everything in between.”

The course consists of a starting line, four hurdles spaced 10 feet apart, and a box. _SC_9396Each of the four dogs on the team must run over the jumps, trigger the flyball box to release a ball, get the ball and return with the ball back over all four jumps. If a dog makes an error, it must run the course again. The first team to have all four dogs complete the course successfully wins the race.

“It’s a very hard sport to describe without seeing it,” McQuillen said. “This demo is an attempt to get interested folks together, teach them about the sport and gather new interest in the sport.”

Spearheading this effort is Shelby Miller, who started training her dogs while living in Omaha and became hooked on flyball. Since moving to Des Moines, she has been the driving force in establishing a flyball club in the Des Moines area. If you can’t make the event, contact Miller, as regular flyball training sessions will start after the event.

“One of the great things about this sport is that pretty much any dog can do it,” McQuillen said.
“Purebred dogs, mutts, shy dogs, normal dogs, weird dogs, hyper dogs — we have many dogs who had absolutely no interest in a tennis ball when they started.”

During the day of competition, participants will learn basic rules and training tips that can apply to overall dog _SC_4623training. Plus, they’ll get to spend time with their four-legged friend. What’s better than that?

“You get to reward your dog every time it runs, which really makes it a great way to bond with your dog,”McQuillen said. CV



Flyball Open House

Free and open to the public

Register to participate by 5 p.m. on April 8 by contacting Shelby Miller at 712-828-0484 or email

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