There is a product for sale in the Salem, OR location of Petco that is being marketed as Agility Fun Flyball. Model # FB-1 with UPC 076711010089. There are reports that Petcos in the vicinity of Jacksonville, FL may also be marketing this item. It is in my opinion that this product should in no way be marketed as a flyball box or flyball training equipment or flyball training aid. A dog playing flyball hits or bounces against the box after running 50-80 feet, usually hitting or bouncing against the box at a high speed exerting a large amount of force. Model # FB-1 is in no way a safe product to be used in flyball or with the training of flyball. Even a “medium” sized dog could break the toy causing injury to the dog or to a person standing behind it. The boxes that are used in competition (U-FLI or NAFA) flyball are made out materials that can withstand a large force exerted onto it. Examples: aircraft grade aluminum or 3/4 plywood.
Petco and Lixit should consider discontinuing the sale of this product marketed as a flyball training aid before either, dog or human is injured. A search online for flyball videos to see how a dog interacts with the flyball box should convince any major company to withdraw marketing such a flimsy device using the word “flyball” while describing it.
Several experienced flyball handlers have emailed Lixit and Petco. The following is a form response from Lixit, a company known for manufacturing water bowls for pets:
Thank you for your comments, the flyball set currently being sold at Petco has been on the market in the UK for three years. It is meant to be used as a recreational set for home use, not competitive Flyball competitions. It is basically a “starter kit”. I appreciate your comment and concerns and will forward them to the manufacturer for their input.
Petco can be contacted through their website at: Petco-contact us
Lixit can be contacted through their contact page at: Contact us – Lixit Animal Care Products
When writing either Lixit or Petco, be sure to mention product code of FB-1 and a UPC number of 076711010089. Include what you know about the sport of flyball and why you believe this product is unsafe. Examples include:
- A competition flyball box costs in the $700-$1000 range, depending on the maker, materials chosen, and specific details about the construction, and typically is built out of high-quality heavy-duty plywood, custom machined aluminum thrusters, and high-grade TuffSpun matting.
- A competition box is made to withstand the force of a 40-pound 3.8 second border collie hitting the box to make a proper flyball swimmer’s turn at speeds of up to 18mph, and often sees even larger or faster dogs such as a 90-pound labrador retriever or 3.5 second Whippet.
- Proper form for flyball is critical, as otherwise repetitive stress injuries can cut short a dog’s career or even damage their body permanently – and proper form is not achievable with your product. This is why this product could not be considered as a “starter”kit.
- It is not safe for an inexperienced person to use this “flyball box” product to attempt flyball on their own. The basic shaping and training required to use a flyball box safely is far beyond that of training a simple jump or tunnel, and the consequences for doing it improperly are much more severe as a result.
Please, share a link through Facebook or Twitter or other internet social media if you agree that this product is unsafe for use in flyball. Certainly, write to Lixit or Petco if you are concerned about human or canine safety.
Source: NorthWest Flyball on Facebook