After all these serious articles, I need to write about something fun or my brain is going to fry.
Any dog lover who grew up in the 2000’s has (or should have) played Nintendogs. I think my favorite aspect of this game was the Disc Competitions. I practiced that event for countless hours, bought dogs specifically for the sport, and when they would pull off these insane catches, I would hug my DS as if embracing a real canine.
I never thought this obsession could translate to real life, but after going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole that is “List of Dog Sports”, I’ve found my new passion. Let’s run down some of my favorites.
Imagine soccer + billiards + dogs. Basically, eight balls are put into a triangle in the center of the “field”, and it is the dog’s job to gather them into a goal. This is usually done by dogs originally bred to herd sheep, and I’m sure you can see that connection.
To understand Disc Dog, you must understand Ashley Whippet. The Odell of dogs. She rose to fame after running onto the field of a Reds-Dodgers game with her 19 year old owner, armed with frisbees. Confused, the park staff wanted to see where this went, and for eight minutes, they wowed the crowd with Ashley’s acrobatic leaps, so much so that the TV broadcasters began commentating over it. The next year, Ashley and her owner organized the first Frisbee Dog World Championship (later named the Ashley Whippet Invitational), and they won the first three years. Some other career highlights were being featured in Academy Award winning film Floating Free, preforming in Super Bowl XI, and having her own museum and ice cream parlor. I could write an entire blog on this dog alone.
Disc Dog, quite simply, is throwin’ up a Frisbee and having your dog catch it, and it gets amazing. It’s split into three major categories:
Freestyle: Subjectively judged for around two minutes, based on factors like canine athleticism, degree of difficulty, showmanship, and more.
Toss and Fetch: Owners throw the disc to their dogs over increasingly long distances; the dogs have to return the Frisbee between every throw.
Long Distance: Popularized by NFL Half Time Shows, large groups of dogs compete to catch over longer distances than either of the previous two events.
Musical Canine Freestyle
This one is self-explanatory, and all the more entertaining.
These choreographed routines preformed by well trained dogs, alongside their owner, are downright impressive, especially when you consider the owner is making it all up on the spot, and the dogs are just rolling with the punches.
Here’s the FCI Dog Dance World Championship 2016 – Freestyle Final video on YouTube.