Disc Dog and Frisbee Dog - Totally Fun for Everyone
Frisbee Dog and Disc Dog are one and the same. Disc Dog is
the generic short name for Frisbee dog. The competitions for
Disc Dogs and their handlers are "distance catching" and
"multiple freestyle catching" that is somewhat
The sport allows both the human owner and the dog to work
together to celebrate the bond and friendship between the
dog and its human. The term "disc" is preferred over
"Frisbee" since "Frisbee" is a trademark held by Wham-O for
a specific brand of flying disc.
The sport of "Disc Dog" started in the early 1970s and has
risen in popularity yearly since. One of the most defining
moments of the sport was on August 4, 1974 when Ashley
Whippet, owned by a nineteen year old college student from
Ohio by the name of Alex Stein, jumped the fence at a
nationally broadcast baseball game between the Cincinnati
Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ashley Whippet ran up to thirty-five miles per hour and
leapt nine feet in the air to grab Frisbees out of the air
when Alex Stein threw them for her. The crowd and onlookers
were so astonished that the game was temporarily stopped and
Joe Garagiola started announcing the flying disc action on
the field. After eight minutes of high flying action Stein
was arrested and escorted off of the field.
This stunt by Stein generated interest in the sport of Disc
Dog competition. Stein worked with Eldon McIntire and Irv
Lander to develop the Frisbee Dog World Championships.
Today, McIntire and Stein are still contributing to the
Frisbee Dog sport.
Now Disc Dog is supported by several organizations and there
are two different world championships in which you and your
dog can participate. These two different organizations are
called UFO and Skyhoundz.
Skyhoundz was founded by Peter Bloeme, who is known for
changing the sport to what most people now recognize today.
He is the one who incorporated free style into the
AWI, the founding group, started the competitions in the
early 1970s but is no longer an independent entity. It now
is a part of UFO or Unified Frisbee Dog Operations.
There are many Disk Dogs that also cross train in other
sports such as Dog Agility, Sheepdog Trials,
The Disk Dog skill isn't something special or that you need
a particular breed of dog to do. Any dog can participate in
this event - maybe not professionally, but certainly it is a
fun sport to do with your dog. Anyone can enter a
competition and it is really fun to come up with new methods
and routines for the Freestyle events.
It is estimated that over one million dogs play Frisbee in
the United States. Of this one million a very small
percentage actually competes in the organization events and
goes to the world championships. This is a very entertaining
sport and may people like to watch it just for the fun of
watching man and dog work together to catch disks.
Frisbee Disk Dog performances have been done as half time
events in popular human sports like baseball, soccer,
basketball and football. You may see teams doing
demonstrations at local fairs, pet festivals and amusement
parks. There are some Disk Dog trainers that actually make a
living doing Disk Dog shows.
It is the clubs for Disk Dogs that promote and organize
sport events in your local area. They also work with
national organizations to run events. Newcomers to the sport
are given a chance to watch old pros and learn some tricks
Disk Dog teams are often involved with animal charities to
earn money for shelters and other events. The first Disk Dog
club was the Dallas Dog and Disk Club founded by Ron Ellis
in the mid 1980's.
Disk Dog training takes time and effort. Not all dogs
instinctively know to catch the disk that flies over their
heads. When you begin disk training you want it to be a
positive fun experience for your dog. You start by throwing
the disk directly toward your dog so it can easily catch it.
Once your dog learns to catch the disk you can then start
throwing it past the dog so it is excited to run after it
and catch it. You can start throwing the disk higher and
higher in the air and for greater distances till your dog
starts jumping after it to catch it in mid air. The dog will
start instinctively going after the disk that you throw for
it. The fun begins.
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