5 Disc Doggin’ Tips For Sporty Noobs
If you’re excited that summer’s here, raise your disc into the air (but throw them like you care)! Kevin Roberts, our Disc Doggin’ champion, tells you what you need to know when you’re starting up in the sport.
Disc doggin’ is a great way to have some fun in the summer sun with your best four legged friend. The pack and I are just about to head out on the road to take part in several competitions around the country. But before I go, I want to leave you with five tips to keep in mind if you’re just getting started. If your goal is to compete, or just have fun at the park, they’ll come in handy for a successful disc doggin’ session.
- Leave the dog at home. What!? No, you’re not missing anything. I know this one sounds crazy, but take some time to work on your own throws without the dog. Bring a stack of discs with you to the park or an open area and toss them all going the same direction. When you run out of discs, go fetch them… and toss them back toward the direction where you started. It’s a lot less enjoyable without your dog, but your dog will have a lot more fun when your throws are accurate and consistent.
- Don’t scrimp on the basics – buy a decent dog safe disc. Not all discs are created equal or created safe… so skip the dollar store on this purchase! A hard, plastic disc is great for playing with your two legged human friends, but will shatter into a million pieces when your dog bites down on it. And all those sharp plastic shards in the mouth? Your dog won’t think that’s fun at all. A safe, quality dog disc comes in rubber, fabric or soft plastic – even when this material is punctured by a sharp tooth, it won’t shatter. After extended use, inspect your discs and toss them in the trash when they are no longer safe for play.
- Don’t throw at your dog. Your dog will be happiest running down the disc and catching it from behind. This throwing technique will tap into his primal hunting instincts. It may be disc to you, for your dog, it’s a wild animal running across the savanna! Time to chase and attack – toss or roll the disc away from your dog, letting them chase and bite down on it. If you throw it right at him, it may frighten him… or worse, hit him in the face. He won’t be so excited for disc doggin’ again after a disc to the face!
Related: The Superdog Guide To Flyball
- Have a safe flight. It looks super cool when your dog jumps 10 feet to snatch a flying disc from the sky. But if the same dog lands badly after the gravity-defying jump and injures himself, it’s not so cool! A safe landing needs all four feet hitting the ground at the same time. Practice safe landings and don’t encourage your dog to take any crazy jumps.
- Don’t overdo it. Good training ends on a positive note and leaves the dog wanting more. Your practice should always finish up on a catch. If your dog isn’t catching any during the practice (maybe because of some bad throws – see point #1), roll one across the ground so he ends the session feeling successful. Some days I only do seven or eight tosses, because chasing down a disc can be a lot of physical and mental work. On top of that, you should be mindful of the temperatures in order to avoid over heating your dog – take plenty of timeouts to hydrate.