Dogs that compete in flyball have no trouble getting enough exercise.
They train for the competitions with their owners and practice as a team for flyball competitions across the country. Teams of four dogs are expected to cover a distance of 408 feet in as little as 14 seconds.
York's fourth annual spring flyball tournament was held Saturday and Sunday at the York Expo Center. About 400 dogs and their owners made up the 70 different teams that competed, with participants coming from as far away as Wyoming.
Local group: The Clean Break Flyball team, with 15 members from York, Carlisle and Mechanicsburg, practices together for flyball events once a week in Wellsville.
Jen Billet, 28, of Spring
"If they have social issues, that's the hardest part," said Billet.
The dogs must work closely with three other dogs on their relay team as they run across four jumps to a box they must hit hard enough to trigger a tennis ball to release into their mouth. They race back over the same four jumps to the finish line. The next dog can only take off once the other has crossed that line.
"Each dog is different; some dogs are scared of the box. Some dogs want to chase another dog. Other dogs don't like people," Billet said. "It's a lot of hard work and it takes about a year of training to get to this point."
Dogs love it: But the hard work is worth it, and it keeps her energetic dogs happy.
"They bounce off the walls if you don't give them something to do," Billet said, laughing.
Arthur McFeaters, 49, of West Manchester Township said his border collie, Finn, won't stop racing unless he makes him.
"He's more passionate than the other dogs, and he gets very excited about flyball," said McFeaters.
Finn received the Onyx award Sunday; it's one of the highest honors in flyball and is given to dogs that achieve 20,000 cumulative points.
The dogs earn points towards flyball awards like Onyx based on the team's times. For instance, a time of less than 32 seconds earns each dog one point, but a time of less than 24 seconds earns each dog 25 points.
This is the third year McFeaters and his wife, Kat, have entered Finn in flyball competitions.
"He's a natural; he picked it up right away and he loves it," McFeaters said. "And it's something really fun for our family to do together."
Flyball is governed by the National Flyball Association, and anyone seeking more information can visit www.flyball.org.
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432.