"Some dogs run faster for the tennis ball," Lee says. "Some run faster to get back to Mommy and Daddy."
Lucille Maczisdrives 50 minutes from Millersin Carroll County to make the Thursday evening practices. "This is our second tournament," says Maczis, owner of a sheltie named Chase. "He seems to be very excited about this."
The dogs aren't the only excited ones in the room. The owners are shrieking loud "Yowww!'s" to encourage their dogs to do their best. Usually, there is a doggie treat waiting at the end of a run.
For dogs new to flyball, there are other training methods. For instance, collapsible gates are put up around the hurdles to get them used to going over instead of around. Still, there is the occasional dog that decides to dodge the hurdle rather than jump it.
During training, the dogs also are divided according to their abilities, which is to say according to their energy levels. A border collie named Puck is a furry blur as he flies over the hurdles.
"He's our star dog," Lee says.
But there are aging veterans among the young pups, too. The club's senior competitor, a golden retriever named Kelly is nearly 12 years old.
But, with the blessing of her veterinarian, she is still jumping and retrieving along with the others. She's not terribly fast, but it's clear that she still enjoys it.
That's the beauty of this "extreme" sport, Lee says.
"There's a team for everyone."
More information on flyball can be found online at www.flyball.org or at muskie.fishnet.com. Information about flyball training locally can be found by contacting the Oriole Dog Training Club at 410-298-K9K9.
This weekend's free flyball tournament is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Carroll Indoor Soccer Center, 515 Old Westminster Pike.