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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Canine Activities: Frisbee Dogs FAQ

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:13 GMT

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/activities/frisbee URL: http://www.vais.net/~krobair/ncac/FAQ.htm
Last-modified: 07 Apr 1997 ======= There are nearly 100 FAQ's available for this group. For a complete listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via the Web at http://www.zmall.com/pet_talk/dog-faqs/lists/faq-list.html, or via email by sending your message to mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu with send usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list in the body of the message. This article is Copyright 1996 by the Author(s) listed below. It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed. It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s). This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty. ========== Frisbee Dog FAQ !!! Copyright Notice This FAQ is maintained by The National Capital Air Canines. The National Capital Air Canines reserve all rights to copy and modify this document. You may distribute this document freely upon three conditions: 1. No alterations are made to this document. 2. No fee is charged for the distribution of this document. 3. This notice is maintained within the distributed copy. In other words, you may give it away for free as long as you don't alter the contents or this copyright notice. Enjoy! !!! Frisbee(R) is a registered trademark and brand name of Mattel, Inc. ALPO(R) and Friskies(R) are registered trademarks of the Friskies PetCare Company, Inc. FAQ URL: http://www.vais.net/~krobair/ncac/FAQ.htm Comments are welcome! Send to: National Capital Air Canines - ncac@vais.net Version History 3-31-97 Version 1.0 Contents. What is in this FAQ? * 1 Types of Frisbee Dog Events + 1.1 Fetch and Catch ( aka Mini-Distance ) + 1.2 Freestyle ( aka Freeflight ) + 1.3 Accuracy + 1.4 Long Distance * 2 Basic Training Guide + 2.1 Starting out + 2.2 Basic Fetch and Retrieve + 2.3 Dropping the disc + 2.4 Jumping * 3 Equipment + 3.1 Discs + 3.2 Sandpaper + 3.3 Traffic Cones + 3.4 Tape Measure + 3.5 Protection * 4 Clubs * 5 Organizations * 6 Resources + 6.1 Books + 6.2 Videos + 6.3 Training and Routine Creation CD-ROM + 6.4 Training Material + 6.5 Where to buy discs 1. Types of Frisbee Dog Events 1.1 Catch and Retrieve ( Known as "Mini-Distance" in ALPO events ) The catch and retrieve event is the backbone of most Frisbee dog events. It consists of a timed round where teams, which consist of one dog and one thrower, attempt to make as many successful throws/catches as possible before time runs out. Generally, the field is a rectangle laid out with lines representing distances from the throwing line, much like a football field with the throwing line being the end zone. Teams score more points for longer throw/catch combinations. Usually only one disc may be used. Rounds usually last one minute. 1.2 Freestyle ( Known as "Freeflight" in ALPO events ) While catch and retrieve is the most common event, and the easiest for beginners, the most spectacular and fun to watch canine Frisbee event is freestyle. This event consists of a timed routine, usually performed to music. The routine is a choreographed presentation of tricks that involve, many different types of throws and catches. Some of the more spectacular tricks involve the dog leaping off the leg or back of the thrower and catching a disc that is tossed high in the air for the dog. Other tricks have the dog doing a half backflip combined with a half twist while catching a disc tossed over their head from the front (don't worry if you can't picture it, just go to an event with freestyle and see for yourself! ). The tricks one sees in freestyle are only limited by the creativity of the performers. 1.3 Accuracy This event is currently available only at National Capital Air Canines sponsored competitions. While similar to catch and fetch, the targets are not yard markers on a field, but four circles of various sizes placed at various distances on a field. The further away a circle is, the more points awarded for a catch within that circle. 1.4 Long Distance Occasionally, the National Capital Air Canines sponsor a long distance competition. This event is just what it sounds like. Thrower and dog must be behind the start line when the disc is released, and the point at which the dog catches the disc is marked. Throwers usually are given two throws. The longest throw/catch wins. This is a fun event and hopefully other clubs and groups will begin to add it to their event categories. 2. Basic Training Guide ( Also, refer to the Resources section for more detailed training guides ) 2.1 Starting Out Important. Consult your veterinarian before starting your dog on any form of athletic training program. You should verify that your pup has good hips, especially before attempting canine Frisbee, or else a potential problem of canine Hip Dysplasia could be aggravated. Also Important. ALWAYS have water available for your dog while you are training them. Since dogs do not sweat, but expell heat primarily through their mouth and tongues, drinking water helps them cool down. Failure to provide water to a working dog can result in hyperthermia, which can be fatal. The most important step in starting out is choosing the right dog! If this step is done right, then everything else is easy. One way to go about it is to acquire a pure-bred puppy of a breed that is known to do well at canine disc. The drawbacks to this method are that it costs money, you cannot really know how the pup will turn out, and you have to wait a year or more before the dog is able to train rigorously. The second method of finding a good disc dog is to go to a shelter or rescue group and adopt an adult dog. This allows you to get to know the dog and test it for Frisbee aptitude. If the dog shows some interest in chasing the disc, then there is a good chance they will be a faithful, enthusiastic dog Frisbee partner. The other up side to this method is that it is cheaper, and often the bond of a rescued dog is stronger than that of a dog raised from puppyhood. Ideally, you want a dog with the following characteristics: -Adult weight between 30 - 50 pounds. -Lean build. -Strong retrieval and tracking/chasing instincts -Even temperament ( They will be off-lead with other dogs ) -Sound hips Another important step toward good Frisbee dog training is basic obedience. The main point of this class should be to teach the owner, not the dog. Once an owner gets a feel for teaching basic obedience, then teaching Frisbee comes naturally. Once you have a dog, here are a few things to do ( and not do! ) when beginning Frisbee training: DO 1. Throw the disc on the ground, rolling it like a wheel. This will allow the dog to get used to chasing it without a bad experience of possibly getting hit by a flying disc. 2. Allow the dog to have fun, and don't worry too much if they lose interest and/or don't bring the disc back. 3. Use a happy voice and try to convince your dog this is the best thing since Doggy Biscuits. Always make Frisbee training an extra special time. 4. Dogs who are not interested in the disc may be enticed to play with it by sliding the disc on the ground in circles in front of the dog. They will pounce on the disc, and when they do, throw a roller and the dog should follow it. Some trainers will actually rub the disc lightly along the dogs torso to entice them to bite at it, but care should be taken not to cause the dog to associate fear with the disc, so make sure you talk to your dog with a happy, reassuring voice while doing this step. 5. Put the discs away when you are not there. You dog should realize the disc is a special toy that is only available when you are there. DO NOT 1. DO NOT throw the disc directly at the dog. You want to avoid hitting the dog with the disc, especially in the face. Doing so could result in the dog developing a fear of the disc. 2. DO NOT push the dog to hard, to the point it is no longer having fun. If your pooch loses interest, then quit for now and start when you are both fresh. 3. DO NOT encourage a dog under 14 months to leap. The stress of landing can damage a dog that is not fully developed. If a young dog is a reckless leaper, then keep your throws low. Concerned owners can request that their veterinarian take x-rays to determine if their dog's growth plates have closed and they can begin jumping. ( Remember, if both you and your pup are not having fun, then you are trying too hard! ) 2.2 Basic Fetch and Retrieve Once your dog is going for the disc, it is time to encourage them to bring it back to you. For this, the long training lead is the best tool. Purchase or make your own 30'+ lead and put it on your dog. Then play as usual, only when the dog grabs the disc, call the dog and reel them in, all the while praising them. Make sure the lead is not attached to anything and that you are not holding onto it when the dog chases the disc. Only grab the lead when the disc is picked up and the retrieve should begin. What if my dog drops the disc when I start pulling it in? -Stop reeling right away, go and get the disc and start playing with the dog and disc. Eventually they should get the idea that you want the disc brought to you. What if my dog resists the retrieval? -If this is happening, then you need to work on recalls with your dog without the disc being present. If your dog does not come when called, then you cannot expect them to do so when they are distracted by a toy! A good obedience class does more for the owner than for the dog. In it you will learn basic training techniques that you can apply to canine disc. Once your pup is returning the disc, the next step is to get them to catch it in the air. Unless your dog is already trying to catch the disc, care should be taken when throwing it for them. Keep the disc from flying in the direction of the dog, as it may hit them and cause them to be mistrustful of the disc. Do not be discouraged if your dog does not immediately take to the airborne catch. Some dogs take many months to establish the coordination needed to catch the Frisbee in mid-flight. Use low, flat trajectories to give your dog the best chance. 2.3 Dropping the disc One commonly asked question is "How to I get my dog to drop the disc?" Well, a reliable "Drop!" command is very important to any canines well being, so try teaching your pup to drop anything they have. You can do this several ways. Perhaps the best is to tell your dog "drop", point to the ground, and have something else in your hand the dog wants, such as another disc, a toy, or perhaps occasionally a treat. When the dog drops what they are holding, praise them and then give them the other item. After the dog gets the idea, begin to "forget" to give them the other item, but keep praising them. Soon, the drop command will be automatic. For dogs that are not too stubborn, it is possible to teach the drop by squeezing the jaw joint gently and saying drop until the item is dropped. Then praise and maybe even give the item back to show that you want them to drop it, but don't plan to take away their toy forever. 2.4 Jumping Care should be taken when training your dog to jump. When a dog leaps, it should land flat, so that all four legs absorb part of the impact. Many Frisbee dogs jump and land vertically, and this can stress the rear legs and spine. The canine knee is not designed to absorb vertical force, and a tear of one of the knee ligament is more likely in a vertical landing, especially if a dog is twisting at the same time. Try training your dog to jump by teaching them to jump through a hula hoop, or some other device that will not hurt them if they crash into it. This will force the dog the get their butts up in the air during a leap and land flat. Remember that young dogs, under 14 months, should not be encouraged to jump. 3. Equipment 3.1 Discs Characteristics Here are several key characteristics of flying discs: 1. Shape 2. Weight 3. Material The ideal canine disc is light, thin, and made of soft but rigid material Types Flexible/Floppy Flexible/Floppy discs are great for starting out, for dogs that have dental problems, or show dogs that cannot afford the slightest risk of a broken tooth. While tennis balls and bones pose more risk of tooth damage than Fastback Frisbee discs, some folks may still want to use these flexible types: 1. Floppy Disc A cloth/nylon disc with a rubber outer ring. Nice because they float! 2. Nylabone These are closer to 'regulation' than Floppy Discs, and are probably just as safe. Be aware that there are some version of the Nylabone disc that are harder than others. Make sure you get the flexible, rubbery type. Note that there is a Gumabone model with a bone shape extending out of the top of the disc. While safe and easy for dogs to pick up, these discs fly like bricks. 3 Frisbee Fastback This is the disc of choice for most Frisbee dog enthusiasts. The Fastback Frisbee disc is a 107 gram disc made out of a soft PVC type plastic that a person can actually mar with a fingernail quite easily. They don't last as long as the harder types you can find in pet stores, but that means they are less damaging to the dog's teeth. 4 Other discs Any other discs used should be soft, have no protrusions, and should not be much heavier than 110 grams. In other words, the hard, generic 'doggie discs' one can sometimes find in pet stores or be given as promotional items should be avoided, as should 185 gram freestyle discs and especially golf discs. Finally, any flying object with a metal core, such as the Aerobie flying ring should not be used in dog Frisbee 3.2 Sandpaper If you are using plastic discs, you need to maintain them. Keep them clean, since dirt on a spinning disc acts just like sandpaper on your dog's teeth. The dishwasher is a great place to clean discs! Also, the disc should be kept smooth. As a disc is used, it develops cuts and sharp dings that can cut your dog's mouth. Rather than simply throw them out, try sanding them: Flexible Sanding Block This tool can be found at any hardware store. It is a foam block that is covered with sandpaper, and easily conforms to the shape of a disc. It is better than regular sandpaper since it is not affected as much by water ( or dog slobber! ) Plumber's "Cloth" This is 'sandpaper' for copper and pvc pipe. It comes in a roll of 1 inch wide "cloth" and can be easily torn into small pieces and used as needed. Since it is designed for plumber's, it is nearly impervious to water and slobber. 3.3 Cones If you plan on competing with your dog, even if you you do not plan to be a serious competitor, you may want to purchase some some orange cones to mark off the scoring distances when you practice. This will give you a better idea of where the distances are that will give you a higher score. Cones can be found at toy or sporting goods stores. 3.4 Measuring Tape You can buy a crank type, 30 yard plastic measuring tape at most hardware stores. These are far easier to use than the retractable metal measuring tapes most folks are familiar with. 3.5 Protection Once a dog and owner get serious about dog Frisbee, they begin to train for freestyle routines, where dogs may leap off the bodies of the thrower. If you try this without thinking, you will find out just how much damage a 50 pound canine can do leaping off a human's back, even if the dogs nail's have been trimmed, and the thrower is wearing a sweatshirt! _Neoprene _ Fortunately, there is neoprene! Vest The best protection you can get is a neoprene diving vest. It protects the entire upper torso, and is easy to get on and off. They can be pricey, but they have been found at Wall-Mart for under $30. Remember, you don't need a very thick one (2mm is usually sufficient). Often Dive Shops sell their used rental vests cheap. Thigh wraps Normally used for thigh support, these thigh wraps are great protection for when your dog jumps off your thigh. They can be found at most sporting goods stores. Waist Pad The neoprene waist wrap is usually sold with the idea that it will help the wearer lose weight via sweating. While water loss is not true weight loss, these wraps are nevertheless great extra protection for when your dog missed a vault and lands a little lower than the diver's vest. These can be found right next to the thigh pads in most sporting good stores. Safety Goggles Don't forget to wear some form of eye protection if your dog does serious vaults. If a dog misses or thinks it may fall, it will try to grab/stand on anything they can get their paws on, including your face. Also, a vaulting dog is usually moving very quickly, and they can flail their legs as they fly by. 4. Clubs National Capital Air Canines William Linne', Director 2830 Meadow Lane Falls Church, VA 22042 703-532-0709(Hot Line) -or- 703-K93-DISC (Cellular) email: ncac@vais.net WWW : http://www.vais.net/~krobair/ncac/ncac.htm Info: NCAC is a Washington D.C. Area Frisbee Dog club that sponsors 8 or more competitions and several instructional clinics per year in the D.C. area, publishes a monthly newsletter, and organizes many social events for club members throughout the year, including a canoe trip, campout, and holiday party. NCAC competitions feature 2 skill levels with three different events in each division. Ribbons and prizes are awarded for the top three finishers in each event, and at the end of the season, the top scorer is awarded the Capital Cup. The Greater Atlanta Dog & Disc Club Melissa Heeter, President 63 Red Top Circle, SE Cartersville GA 30120-6974 (770) 386-684 email: ArielMel@aol.com WWW: Info: The Front Range Flyers K9 disc Club Rick Brydum (WWBrydums@aol.com), President 7015 E. Euclid Drive Englewood CO 80111 email: FRFlyers@aol.com WWW: Info: Carolina Air Canine North Carolina Dog & Disc Club David Cantara , President 3216 Timberwolf Avenue High Point NC 27265 (910) 812-8778 email: aircanine@aol.com WWW: http://members.aol.com/AIRCANINE/dogbyte.htm Info: The Austin Dog & Disc Club Eric Calhoun 11805-B Bell Avenue Austin TX 78759 (512) 304-3119 email: ecalhoun@vtel.com WWW: Info: The Austin Dog & Disc Club Tim Donovan, President 1109 Regan Place Austin TX 78704 (512) 326-2145 email: WWW: Info: The Dallas Dog & Disc Club Ron Ellis, President 1001 Raven Bend Court Southlake TX 76092 email: r4ever@why.net WWW: http://rampages.onramp.net/~friend/dddpage.html Info: Northern Colorado Disc Dogs Chris Sexton, President 807 Aztec Dr. #A Ft. Collins CO 80521 email: eyebum@verinet.com WWW: http://www.verinet.com/~eyebum/nocodido.html Info: The Central Florida Dog & Disc Club Chuck Hensley, President 2937 Jennifer Drive Lakeland FL 33809 (941) 859-4770 email: WWW: Info: The Windy City Dog & Disc Club Don Kent, President 1410 Birch Avenue Hanover Park IL 60103 (708) 289-4369 email: discdog@aol.com WWW: Info: First Coast K-9 Disc Masters (Jacksonville, FL) Jeff Hoot , President RT 1 Box 455 Horsesshoe Circle Bryceville FL 32099 (906) 266-4000 email:thehoot@jax-inter.net WWW: Info: The Space City High Flyers Joy Sebastian , President 1315 Sundown Meadows Crosby TX 77532 email: 76743.255@compuserve.com WWW: Info: The Cascade Dog & Disc Club Stan Sellers 85 Poplar Lane Selah WA 98942 (509) 968-3369 email: WWW: Info: Houston Canine Frisbee Disc Club John Tobin, Director 10603 Chevy Chase Houston TX 77042 email: john.tobin@hso.mts.dec.com WWW: Info: The Southern CA Dog & Disc Club Mike Miller, President 1529 Golden Rose Hacienda Heights CA 91745 email: WWW: Info: The Flying Desert Dog & Disc Club Bill Watters PO Box 4615 Cave Creek AZ 85331 (602) 488-0353 email: AirMajor@cris.com WWW: Info: St. Louis Disc Dog Club Bob Niemeier 3666 Flora Place St. Louis, MO 63110 email: WWW: Info: Northeastern Disc Dog Network Eric Miller, Director Ed Jakubowski, Director 22 Louis Place Nesconset, NY 11767 (516) 265-3453 (Eric) (860) 859-0103 (Ed) email: milleric@mindspring.com WWW: Info: 5. Organizations Friskies/ALPO Canine Frisbee disc Championships 4060-D Peachtree Road, Suite 326 Altanta, GA 30319 1-800-786-9240 email: frisdog@mindspring.com Friskies/ALPO sponsors over a hundred community contests throughout the country each year. There are also seven regional qualifying tournaments culminating in the invitational World Finals on the mall in Washington D.C. You can call the number above for free schedules and training guides. 6. Resources 6.1 Books "How to Teach Your Dog to Play Frisbee" by Karen Pryor, published in '85. "Frisbee Dogs, How to Raise, Train and Compete" by Peter Bloeme. 1991, 1994. ISBN 0-9629346-2-3 Peter and Whirlin' Wizard are the 1984 Ashley Whippet Invitational World Champions, and Peter is the 1976 Men's World Frisbee disc Champion. This book is considered the definitive work on the subject of Frisbee Dogs. "Jumping from A to Z: Teaching Your Dog to Soar" M. Christine Zink, DVM. 1996 6.2 Videos Peter Bloeme's Frisbee Dog: Training Video Peter Bloeme's Frisbee Dogs:Throwing Video Alpo Canine Frisbee Disc Championships 1996 World Finals Tape ( the above products can be ordered by calling 1-800-786-9240 ) ( We have also seen the video sold in pet stores with a free disc ) 6.3 Training and Freestyle Routine Creation CD-ROM Glen Speckert has created a CD-ROM with a lot of great features. Visit his WWW site to find out the details. WWW: http://www1.shore.net/~speckert/DFIndex.html email: speckert@shore.net 6.4 Training Material NCAC Training guide ( online and paper versions ) Coming soon! Free Pamphlet from Friskies ALPO Canine Frisbee disc Championships. Contact the ALPO Canine Frisbee Disc Championships ( listed elsewhere in this FAQ ) for a free training guide 6.5 Discs The regulation canine disc used in most competitions is the Fastback Frisbee disc. The Fastback can be bought through many of the Frisbee dog clubs and organizations listed in this FAQ, and through many mail order flying disc catalogues. _________________________________________________________________ Frisbee Dog FAQ National Capital Air Canines, ncac@vais.net