A Guide To Disc Dog
Disc dog or Frisbee Dog is a sport in which a human throws a disc and the dog catches it. These catches are often performed in choreographed catching movements or over long distances or in between obstacles. It’s a very challenging sport that began in the 1970s when a 19-year-old college student named Alex and his dog jumped a fence at a baseball game being broadcast between the LA Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds. As Alex was throwing some discs for his dog to catch, the crowd was astounded, and the game was even stopped so that the announcer could announce what the dog was doing! The stunt lasted eight minutes, giving birth to the sport.
There are two formats of disc dog. The first is known as toss and fetch. These include short distance events where the dog and human teams have 60 seconds to perform as many throws on the field as possible. Each throw is a bit farther than the one before it. Dogs are awarded points for catches and mid-air catches earn extra points. Freestyle formats are often subjective events where teams are given a chance to show off. They earn points in categories like Degree of Difficulty, Showmanship, Canine Athleticism, and more. Points are won by doing flips, multiple catches, and difficult vaults.
There are a lot of organizations that run disc dog competitions today. Most competitions are held during the summer and are usually in flat, grassy fields that are perfect for the complicated jumps and vaults. Sometimes, competitions are held in winter on soft snow as well. In 1975, the first World Championship competition for disc dog took place and it was called the Frisbee Dog World Championship competition. This was held for many years. In 2000, an organization called Skyhoundz took over for that year and they introduced their own competition, the Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship. There is also a large organization known as UFO that runs the UFO World Cup series, similar to the NASCAR cup series. There are other clubs as well.
One of the main benefits of these competitions is that, unlike many other dog sports, dogs of any breed can participate. Unsurprisingly, dogs that were victims of abuse seem to have an easier time overcoming their trauma because of the strong bond that disc dog training creates between a dog and its owner. Even some behavior problems like aggression and hyperactivity can be reduced by participating in disc dog training and competition.
Disc dog training is not always easy. Some dogs show little interest in discs so they have to be coaxed to even want to catch at all. Many often do not know how to turn and chase after a disc. Training should start with straightforward throws to the dog so that it understands that it should catch it. Once it starts wanting to catch the disc, it will turn and follow it when thrown further. Then, the distances thrown should be expanded and the height should be expanded as well so that it’s going over the dog’s head. Most dogs naturally know when to jump. Once you get these basics down, then the more complicated acrobatic training can begin.
The easiest place to find a disc dog club is on the internet. Many clubs are already well established and most states have at least one, even if they are not necessarily close to you. If you can’t find one right away, try emailing popular organization sites. People are always glad to help you get started. You can also ask a vet or any nearby dog training facility that train dogs in disc dog competition.
- SkyHoundz: The biggest disc dog competition with resources, a forum, and other information about disc dog.
- FDDO: Site for Flying Disc Dog Open with links to other organizations.
- Missouri Disc Dog Club: A disc dog club in Missouri.
- Twin Cities Disc Dog Club: A disc dog club with training videos.
- Disc Dog Club: Homepage for the NEDDC, the New England Disc Dog Club.
- Competition Listing: A listing of disc dog competition websites.
- Flying K9 Tips: Tips from professionals about training dogs for disc dog competitions.
- Training and FAQs: A detailed guide for training dogs.
- Getting Started: Provides good disc dog training tips.
- Training Method: A popular disc training method.
- Working Dog: Provides links to other sites with information about training dogs.
- Dallas Dog Disc Club: Homepage of an organization with tips about training your own dog.
- Central Florida Dog & Disc Club: A professional dog disc club in Florida.
- Mad Dogs Links: Provides very useful links to other club, organizations, and information about disc dog.
- A Taste of Training Disc Dogs: Describes how difficult it is to train disc dogs.