Canine Disc

Disc dog or Frisbee dog is the more generic name for the Canine Disc sport. It started in the early 1970’s, paralleling the rise in popularity of Frisbee sport. In August 4, 1974, Alex Stein, a 19-year-old college student from Ohio, and his whippet, Ashley jumped the fence at a nationally broadcast baseball game. Stein had with him a couple of flying discs, which he threw for the dog. Ashley astonished the crowd with her disc-catching, as she ran up to 35 miles per hour and leaped 9 feet in the air to snag the Frisbees. The stunt was so novel that the game was stopped and the game announcer continued to announce the flying disc action on the field. After this definitive moment, more interest in the sport was generated and Stein created the Frisbee Dog World Championship.

Divisions in Canine Disc dog events are usually based on the skill and experience of the handler. Men and women generally compete in the same divisions for all disciplines, although the long distance category is sometimes divided by gender. There are a variety of competitions, such as Toss and Fetch, MiniDistance, Throw and Catch, Distance/Accuracy and Freestyle.

Popular Breeds
Dogs of all kinds can play Canine Disc. Many World Champion disc dogs have been mixed breed and some were originally rescued from shelters. Dogs from animal shelters and rescue groups can excel at catching flying discs and may even find the activity helpful in overcoming past trauma. Problems that lead to a dog being abandoned, such as hyperactivity, aggression, and destructive or neurotic behavior, are often attributes that can be positively channeled into a sport like flying discs. Sometimes these dogs simply need a consistent job to keep them busy and give them purpose.

Suggested Exercises

  • Place and Send
    1. Walk the dog to the end of the dock and hold the dog back while throwing the toy into the water. Walk the dog back to the starting point, place the dog, then release or send the dog to go get the toy.
    2. This is effective for dogs that are not trained to wait or stay on the dock, especially if they have a lot of speed and can compensate for the lack of lift at the end of the dock.

  • Chase Method
    1. Place the dog in a stay or wait stance at his/her starting position on the dock.
    2. Walk to the end of the dock holding the toy.
    3. Call the dog from the end of the dock.
    4. Time the throw, and throw, trying to keep the toy just in front of the dog’s nose so they chase it into the water.

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