Raz the Cattle Dog goes through his paces while representing the Fraser Coast’s Luvadog Regardless race team in the state Flyball titles at Robina on the Gold Coast. The team finished third in Division I.
Raz the Cattle Dog goes through his paces while representing the Fraser Coast’s Luvadog Regardless race team in the state Flyball titles at Robina on the Gold Coast. The team finished third in Division I. BLAINEY WOODHAM TWEED DAILY NEWS

Paw-some line-up

EL JAY, Raz, Mac, Jasper, Chicko and Basil – names that will be unfamiliar with most Fraser Coast sports fans.

While they may be lacking in recognition, that's not the case when it comes to ability.

Chicko, a Border Collie, and Basil, a Border Terrier, are Australian champions for a start and they, together with their four teammates, form one of the best line-ups in Queensland when it comes to Flyball, the Luvadog Regardless race team.

Flyball is basically a relay race between two teams of four dogs over an 18.6 metre course.

Racing side-by-side, one dog from each team must go over four hurdles, trigger a flyball box pedal, catch (retrieve) a tennis ball and then return over all four hurdles to the start/finish gate where the next dog is waiting to be released by its handler.

The first team to have all four dogs complete the course, without error, wins the heat.

A need for speed is essential for a team to be successful from the moment the light turns green on the start gate with the lead dog's job to get through the electronic lighting at the gate just at the right moment.

If anyone gets the timing wrong and crosses their dog too early at the starting gate, then they have to run that dog again – meaning the team has to run five dogs against four as a penalty.

When it comes to speed, the Luvadog Regardless line-up is not lacking in it.

The team contested the two-day Queensland titles on the Gold Coast and finished third overall in Division I, the top-dog group.

Border Collie El Jay, a Flyball Master, and his teammates showed plenty of their rivals a clean set of paws as they recorded the club's fastest ever time in a heat – a red-hot 20.354 seconds.

But, it wasn't only the Fraser Coast dogs, all of whom recorded personal bests, who were proving to be quick.

Harold Kielly won a 0.000 pin which means that he got his timing of sending the lead dog, his Border Collie Mac, through the starting gate at precisely the right time – something really hard to do when you consider it's timed to a thousandth of a second.

Luvadog Regardless captain Anita Bennett said she was proud of the performance of her talented team.

“The dogs and their handlers did really well because the conditions were not the best on day two (it was raining),” Bennett, whose dog Jasper is a Flyball Dog Champion, said.

“To finish third was a great effort given the circumstances.”

But, Bennett said it wasn't only the dogs and handlers who deserved to be praised.

“You can't run a successful team without having an excellent box loader and we have one in young Jaydon Guan,” she said.

“You need someone capable of loading the box correctly and in flyball it all happens so quickly that you need someone who is “on the ball” and can keep up with the dogs as they are running down to the box to get the ball – Jaydon certainly is.

“Jaydon's brother Brodie also plays an important role – he collects the tennis balls for us at the end of each heat so that the dogs aren't distracted by them lying around on the course.”

But what is it Bennett loves about the sport?

“Flyball includes all things that dogs love to do – jumping, catching, retrieving, competing and striving to please their owners,” she said.

“They (they dogs) love it and so do we.”

LUVADOG FOR LIFE

The dogs and their owners

El Jay – Di Guan

Basil – Natalie Keam

Mac – Harold Kielly

Chicko – Jim Dymock

Jasper – Anita Bennett

Raz – owned by Lija Kazlauskas but run by various team members



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