Milo - Flyball Master Excellent Title

06 Mar 2005Steve Schwarz

Our Flyball team, Black Sheep Squadron, went to a Flyball tournament hosted by the UltiMutts Flyball team in Madison Wisconsin this past weekend. On Friday night we had one team competing in Multi-Breed (the four dogs running on the team all had to be from different breeds - where all mixed breed dogs are counted as the same breed). This is the first time we’ve competed in Multi-Breed in as long as anyone can remember. On Saturday and Sunday we entered two teams each day (in keeping with our team’s “Squadron” name we call them the Aces and the Bombers).

Now that Mr. Peabody is retired from Flyball, only Milo and I drove up to Madison early Saturday morning. Milo was on the Bombers team with Bogey, Carson, Bennie and height dogs Salty and Jezabel. Our goal for Milo was to get enough points for him to earn his next Flyball title. Due to my other commitments we were only competing on Saturday.

Dogs achieve titles in Flyball by accumulating points. Points are earned by each dog that ran in a race(heat) based on the time for all four dogs to complete the race. Points are only earned if all four dogs successfully complete the course. If the time for the team is less than 24 seconds each dog earns 25 points, If less than 28 seconds each dog earns 5 points and if less than 32 seconds each dog earns 1 point.

The Black Sheep Squadron philosophy is always to group dogs into teams to try to maximize each teams chances to earn 25 point on each run. When a team is really running well it is entirely possible for each dog to earn 500 points a day during a tournament weekend. The Bombers were in a slower division but we were confident we would run fast enough to easily earn the 75 points Milo needed to achieve his title.

Unfortunately, we just weren’t running as fast as we normally do. In each set of heats in a race, it was a best 3 of 5 format against each team, we were only running one or two heats under 24 seconds. Most of the time we were running at 24.1 to 24.5 seconds per heat. We played around with the groupings of four of the six dogs during the day to try to keep our times under 24 seconds.

So it wasn’t until after the fourth set of races that Milo had earned 80 points. He was officially “Milo FMX” or Flyball Master Excellent. The various Flyball titles are described on the North American Flyball Association website here. So with the help of his teammates over the past few years Milo has earned over 10,000 points.

The other good news was, while we weren’t earning a lot of points, we were winning our heats. So we went into the playoffs for our division undefeated. We won our two remaining sets of heats by running our fastest lineups. So we ended the day with first place in our division. A number of our team’s dogs had a good day and earned new titles too. So the “Brag Board” had a lot of new titles for Black Sheep Squadron dogs written on it.

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