Ruby Welsford, founder of the UK Disc Dog Association and trainer at Ruby, Betsy and Milo Too, explains frisbee games with your dog.
“The fantastic thing about disc dog (dog Frisbee) is that it’s so accessible — literally any healthy dog can do it. You can adapt it for any dog breed or age — within reason — and for different sizes and body conformations. Some people love doing freestyle, but don’t do vaults (where the dog uses the handler’s body to get the disc) because conformationally their dogs aren’t built for it, but there’s a lot of really cool flat work you can do, and different throws that look really impressive.
“We have three games at the moment:
● Free disc — our answer to freestyle Frisbee; routines showcasing the creativity of partnerships.
● Jump disc — Throw disc mixed with a flowing, simple agility sequence, and aspects of distance handling.
● Throw disc — get as many points as you can in the allotted time; the further you throw the more generous the points!
“Our main focus is the dogs having fun — as well as making it as safe as possible.
“We believe we’re one of the only organisations in the UK that makes reasonable adjustments for dogs with additional needs. Whether they are dog reactive, noise sensitive, or easily distracted, people can state on their entry form their current issues, and we’ll do everything within our power to make sure that they and their dogs can have fun at competitions. We allow treats and toys, because at the end of the day your dog should be having fun, and if they’re not — what’s the point? They find Frisbees inherently reinforcing.
“We start doing very low-impact foundation level when they’re young, just basic bite work and impulse control. Then we go on and develop some body awareness and distance control.
“It’s a new sport, and I feel we have a responsibility to introduce people to it in the most responsible and safe way, to set up everyone — dog and human — for success and a positive experience.
“We have an online group — UK Disc Dog Association — where people can check out their nearest UK Disc Dog Association instructor.”