Flyball was introduced in the late 1960s when Southern California trainers used tennis balls as a reward for dogs after completing a series of jumps. The trainers built a box that enable the dogs to retrieve the balls themselves. The first official flyball tournament was held in 1983. In the relay race, the dogs race down the 51-foot course, over jumps, to retrieve the tennis ball from the flyball box and return to the start line. Having a flyball box is essential for proper training, and building one can save you some money.
How to Build a Flyball Box for a Dog
Cut two 22½" long pieces of wood from the 2 x 4 x 8 using a circular saw. Measure a 26" x 24" rectangle and a 7½ x 24" rectangle on the plywood and use the circular saw to cut it out. Measure and cut out the sides of the box, the ball hammer and the de-latch arm following the diagrams using a jig saw. Measure the center of the ball holes 14¾" up and in 5¾" from each side. Using a 2-5/8" hole saw cut out the circles. Securely fasten the sides of the box to the bottom of the box using 1½" wood screws and glue. Secure the front of the box only using two screws, as the front of the box will need to be removed.
Mount to the sides of the box to the pedal return spring blocks using 1¼" wood screws. Glue the pedal bump padding to the uprights. Use 3/4" metal screws to fasten the 22" piano hinge to the pedal. Place the front pedal on the box and mark it's location on the bottom of the box for mounting. Attach the pedal to the box using the hinge and 3/4" sheet metal screws.
Secure the ball face plate to the front place cross using 1¼" wood screws. Glue the rubber bumps to the ball hammer. Attach two 3 x ¾" wide L-brackets, with ¾" metal screws, to the bottom cross-member. Place the ball hammer in between the two L-brackets. Secure the ball hammer to the L-brackets using the 1½" bolt, flat washer, bushing, lock washer and two nuts.
Fasten the spring anchors to the front plate and to the latch cross-member using 1" metal screws and L-brackets. Check for alignment and attach the latches with 1¼" wood screws. Put in the ball hammer springs and fasten it to the front pedal return block using a corner brace and 1¼" wood screws. Assemble the de-latch arm using using 1¾" machine bolts, fender washers, flat washers and nuts. Fasten the de-latch arms to the pedal in the box by fastening it to the L-bracket with 1¼" machine bolts.
Glue the anti-slip mat to the front face and to the pedal. Cut out holes for ball in the mat using a utility knife. Attach the front face to the box using glue and 1-1/2" wood screws. Attach 24" piano hinge to lid using ½" wood screws and attach hinge to the top of the front face plate with 1/2" wood screws.