Disc Dog competition is the dog sport that revolves around a dog, a handler and a flying toy that looks just like a pie pan turn upside down. The act of throwing a disc, having a dog catch it and bring it back has been around for over forty year. This is an excellent way for a dog to get some exercise and possibly take part in competitions. Note, we call it disc instead of Frisbee as the latter is a trademarked name. The company that makes the Frisbee brand does not even make one for dogs. Don’t worry there are plenty of dog disc manufacturers out there making discs strong enough to withstand the teeth and jaws of a hound.
The story goes that a guy named Alex Stein got arrested because he ran into the outfield during a Dodger vs. Reds baseball game with his dog “Ashley Whippet” and proceeded to put on a disc dog demonstration. Stein, Irv Lander and Eldon McIntire went on to organize an annual competition called the “Frisbee Dog World Championship”. BTW, Ashley Whippet won the World title the first three years of the competition and the annual event was later renamed the “Ashley Whippet Invitational”.
Any dog can learn how to catch a disc. If you have a dog that likes to retrieve it is even easier. The things you need to watch out for is injuries. Dogs love to jump in the air and catch these things. Twisting and landing wrong can produce a lot of different aches.
Learn to throw the disc in front of the dog and low to the ground as you train. This will let the disc dog concentrate on catching the disc while the handler builds their ability to control the disc. Throw short distances with easy throws, at first, so your disc dog can get used to catching the disc. Remember they make different size and weight disc for all size dogs. Get one that is right for your dog. Puppies are still growing. Joints and bones are developing and permanently damage joints in their growing phase. Age recommendations on most physical dog sports is 12+ months. Practice is more fun than work and the simple act of playing will make you both better.
Disc dog competitions are basically two types. First there is freestyle that a handler, dog team do a two minute routine of tricks, tosses, and catches to music. The other type is toss and fetch where the team goes for distance, speed, accuracy and style. If you want to get involved with competitions first look for a local disc dog club or local obedience club. YouTube has lots of competition and learning videos for use. If nothing local you can contact a national organization and form your own.