Disc Dog Sport – Dogster

THE popular dog sport disc dog requires a human and a dog to work as a team. The dog relies on the human to accurately throw a flying disc and the human relies on the dog’s athleticism to catch each throw.

Maryland dog trainer Gabby Scott participates in disc dog events. However, the initial reasons she started training for the event were just happenstance. “I arrived early for a dog training class I attended with my Australian mix eight years ago,” says Gabby. “The instructor was practicing tricks with another trainer between classes. It was so cool to see dogs working with so much enthusiasm. They were happy just to catch a disc.

Best Dogs for Disc Dogs

Gabby says most dog lovers get into dog disc because they have a dog who wants to play fetch and be active partners with their humans. Her Australian mix, Gus, preferred swimming and hiking to fetching, so she looked for a second dog with a desire to play along and found Taco, a Miniature American Shepherd. “I asked for a puppy that wasn’t afraid and always had a toy in its mouth, and that’s what I got,” she says.

The Taco breed is one of the most popular breeds in the sport today. As is common in most dog sports, herding breeds lead the pack in popularity, as do mixed breeds. Gabby says the dog breeds you typically see are:

However, you can also find:

“Your dog doesn’t need to be registered with a kennel club to play, he just needs to like Frisbees,” she explains.

Disc Dog Training

You might think that the most important factor for a disc dog is chasing and catching the flying disc, but Gabby emphasizes that owners should really focus on engaging their dogs in the sport. “The fact that the dog knows that the game is only fun when he plays it with you, his owner, outweighs the desire to have the disc,” she says.

Creating that desire can be easy, according to Gabby. Above all, she recommends making disc playback a rare thing. “Never leave records in the yard or in the house,” she says. “Keep discs out of sight until play time. Next, keep the play sessions exciting and very upbeat, and keep them extremely short.

Disc Dog is all about having fun with your dog playing their favorite game. Teach basic play signals using a soft, dog-safe cloth or puppy-sized plastic disc. Teach your puppy to do the following with the disc:

Short, like one to three minutes at a time. The first few sessions may consist of practicing tugging with a disc, making a big deal about the pleasure, then moving on to another disc, and so on. This develops the desire to pull and play, while learning the signals to drop the toy and move on to another. Practice short throws at first, then progress to more difficult maneuvers and longer throws. As always, be sure to follow proper warm-up and cool-down routines to keep your dog’s muscles and body in shape for the chase.

diskDo not use a flimsy plastic disc for your dog, as it can break easily and possibly injure your dog. Instead, use a dog-friendly disc like the Superheroes 235 from Hero Disc USA, made from durable, flexible, puncture and bite resistant plastic. $16.99.

Disc Dog Equipment

You don’t need any fancy equipment in Disc Dog. In fact, everything you need can be carried in a small drawstring bag to the local park. Gabby emphasizes not using plastic discs, as they can break easily. Instead, she recommends dog-safe discs, like those made by USA Hero Disc.

How to Compete in Disc Dog

The easiest way to start competing in Disc Dog events is to find a Throwing and Retrieving League near you. In this event, dogs have 60 seconds to complete as many catches as possible, with bonus points awarded for catches made in the air. Leagues meet once a week for five weeks each “season” and compete against other leagues from around the world.

The AKC now offers Disc Dog in partnership with the UpDog Challenge. This event offers a variety of challenges and ways to build teams while earning performance titles for your mixed breed or AKC registered dog.


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