Tag Archives: flyball

The Very Versatile Gordon Setter – Meet Tyler Dargay!

Introducing an ideal video sharing a true Breed AmbassadorTyler Dargay and his loved ones, Bill and Diane Dargay.

“Beauty, Brains & Birdsense” are the watchwords describing how life can be loved with a Gordon Setter as your family companion. In this video Tyler plays a starring role, taking us on a tour of his life and times. From his relaxed pose as a regal and beautiful member of the Gordon Setter breed calmly enjoying a well-behaved moment with his family, this video follows Tyler and takes us through his many and versatile paces; from his job as lifeguard, to treks in the field to find game birds with Bill, to the fast paced fun and games of Flyball competition with Diane, to the quiet time he devotes to soothing and comforting the ill. Tyler is indeed a true Breed Ambassador, a superb example of life at it’s best with a Gordon Setter by your side.

The next time you’re trying to explain why you love Gordon Setters, you might simply show them with this video!

Thank you  to Gordon Setter Club of America members Bill and Diane Dargay for sharing Tyler with us!

This 4:35 minute video clip is from a 12 Episode session for Doggone It about Sporting Breeds produced by ESPN and aired in 2004.

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

We Need Support From Performance Enthusiasts


We’re in need of Performance material to publish for our readers on this Gordon Setter blog. We truly need your support and expertise to build reference material for those who are seeking information and mentors to help them learn more about performance competitions and training. We need your expertise and encouragement to draw more owners to enjoy time with their Gordon Setters in performance competitions.

  • We are always seeking writers to share their material, experiences, or expertise here.
  • We are always seeking training enthusiasts to share links to websites or other blogs of value to those who share your passion or are seeking knowledge.
  • We are always seeking your recommendations of books and videos.

You can reach us at gordonsetterexpert@gmail.com with your contributions or questions.

Hope you’ll join in to make some noise about your adventures in performance events!

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

Flyball is Flipping Fun!

We’re very pleased to welcome, once again, Diane Dargay as our Guest Blogger. Today she shares another great Performance Event, and judging by the look on her dog’s faces it must be a favorite of theirs as it sure looks like they’re having a blast to me. Thank you so much for sharing Flyball competition with us Diane!



Flyball is a relay race in which dogs race over a series of four hurdles to retrieve a ball from a specially designed flyball box. The dog must push on the front of the box in order to activate a trigger mechanism that releases the ball. When the ball springs out of the box, the dog catches the ball and brings it back over the four jumps to his/her handler. As the dog crosses the start/finish line, another dog races past him to repeat the same procedure. Teams of four dogs race against each other for the win. Teams consist of six dogs, but only four race at a time.

Video Link – Diane Dargay with Jackson (single dog flyball race)   This was Jackson’s first tournament setting at 15 mos old. We just practiced with the team in warmup all weekend. If you notice, at the flyball box there is a jump in front and ring gate at the side as prop to navigate his turn.

Each team brings to a tournament their own flyball box and set of balls. Balls can be any size as long as they bounce and roll and fit into the flyball box. Dogs can be of any breed and mixed breeds are welcome.

The height of the jump varies from 7″ to 14″ and is determined by the height of the smallest dog running, minus 5 inches. So, if the height of the smallest dog is 15″, the entire team would jump at 10″.

Aggressive dogs are not tolerated and the judge has the right to eject a dog that shows any aggression toward another dog.
Teams are classified into divisions so you are racing against teams with times that are similar.  In a tournament, there will be a head judge, two box judges (one for each team) and two line judges (one for each team)  The head judge runs the entire heat. The box judges make sure the dog pushes the front of the flyball box. The line judges monitor the start/finish line and record the time of the heat.
Photo by Dargay
Photo by Dargay

Points and titles are achieved by team time. If a team runs under 24 seconds, 25 points is awarded to the four dogs that raced in that heat. Under 28 seconds, 5 points is awarded and under 32 seconds, 1 point is given. Titles start at 20 points and go to 100,000 and beyond. The maximum number of heats in a race is five. In order to receive points for a run, the dogs must run clean……which means not dropping a ball, missing a jump or hitting the start line before the previous dog comes back. If there is a fault, the dog must rerun at the end of the line or the heat will be considered a “no finish”.

Photo by Dargay
Photo by Dargay

In training, we start by teaching what we call a “swimmers turn”. This is just like you see at the Olympics…….they touch and push off with their feet. It is safer for the dog as it is a repetitive motion. This does not put stress only on the front end. Starting with a seven inch jump away from the flyball box, a treat is given once the dog jumps over. Then a treat is given once the dog jumps back. After many times of treats on both sides, we then start with only one treat after a jump and back. Now the dog has to jump and U-turn (bounce) and jump back in one motion. Once they have accomplished the bounce, then the jump is moved to the flyball box. Now the bounce is bouncing off the flyball box. After they get proficient at bouncing off, we start adding the ball on the ledge and then eventually in the hole.

1012947_928243730524014_6090674871594978242_nWhile we are training the box, we separately train the series of four jumps…..one jump at a time and work up to four. Then eventually put the box and the jumps together. When they are proficient at accomplishing a full run of down and coming back with the ball, we start adding distractions…i.e. other dogs, balls on the ground. They have to pay attention. We also start working on passing another dog and lineups of dogs.

Putting all the pieces together depends on the aptitude of the dog. It can take anywhere from six months to two years to completely train a dog. You also have to consider working them in a tournament setting while another team is practicing. If you dog is really ball focused, it becomes easier.

Diane Dargay, Bolivia, NC

We Need Trainers!

Agility jump
Photo shared by Martha Nicol. Photos by Vince Maidens Photography

We know you’re out there having the time of your life working and competing with your Gordon Setter in all manner of Performance events, Obedience, Rally, Agility, or maybe Flyball (have I forgotten any?) But after you’ve worn yourself out training we’re wondering if you would take a minute or more to share your expert knowledge – as in how did you get your dog to do that?

We need trainers who are willing to share their training methods, such as what resources you use to train, do you have favorite books or websites that you recommend, can you or would you write articles about training or training issues to help others who would like to get involved or who may be stuck and need a helpful hint or two?

agility action
Photo shared by Martha Nicol. Photos by Vince Maidens Photography

We especially and most importantly want to share that information on this site if you believe that the method works well with Gordon Setters, because that’s who this publication is for, the serious Gordon Setter enthusiast.

“Together we will build an interactive, searchable resource for the Gordon Setter Fancier” – Sally Gift

Please help us build this resource site for fellow Gordon Setter lovers by contributing your articles, links, recommended reading, videos, websites, any of the things you believe are important to training with your Gordon Setter. Send your material to us at gordonsetterexpert@gmail.com.