It's easy to teach dogs with a chase-and-retrieve instinct to play Frisbee: all you need is a grassy area and a flying disc. Working up to a competitive level is another matter, but several Northern California clubs, including Golden Gate Dog Sports
, stand poised to help.
Golden Gate Dog Sports hosts workshops
that will introduce you and your dog to the sport of Canine Disc. You'll learn how to begin training your dog to catch and retrieve, and get tips on the art of Frisbee throwing.
Numerous organizations sanction clubs and competitions in formats that range from short-distance toss-and-fetch to three-minute freestyle routines choreographed to music and requiring extreme athleticism and a high level of training. A major player is Skyhoundz
, which puts on events ranging from regional qualifiers to a world championship.
Dog Frisbee, as baby-boomers might recall, got off to a spectacular start in 1974 when Alex Stein, a 19-year-old college student, jumped a fence with his dog, Ashley Whippet, at a nationally broadcast baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds. Ashley astonished the crowd with high-flying leaps and chases, stopping the game and prompting announcer Joe Garagiola to narrate the action. Stein was arrested, but his stunt fueled interest in the sport and Stein went on to help create the Frisbee Dog World Championship, also known as the Ashley Whippet Invitational.
Disc dog in action at Sacramento Kennel Club Show. Photo by Janet Fullwood.