Category Archives: Disc Dog

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Frisbee

By Langley Cornwell

Watching super dog-athletes at events like the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition is inspiring. The K9 Frisbee Dog Entertainment blows me away every year. Likewise, when I watch videos of dogs like Wallace, Bling Bling, Torch, Shiloh and Gracie performing amazing Disc Dog feats, I’m blown away. The way the canine athletes look at their handlers with such concentration and pure trust says it all. These dogs are focused on doing exactly what their person tells them to. At the risk of sounding corny or completely nuts, the look those dogs give their humans communicates the kind of love that can only come from a dog.

We play a very rudimentary version of Frisbee with one of our dogs. Our dog loves to chase the disc but rarely catches it in the air. Even so, she brings it right back so we’ll throw it again. She is a fine athlete; she’s very agile and can jump amazingly high. There’s no doubt in my mind that if I would take the time to teach her, she could learn to be a fine backyard Disc Dog.

Because the name “Frisbee” is a registered trademark, the sport is officially known as Disc Dog. Opinions vary on the specifics of training your pup to be a Disc Dog. It’s like all dog training; there are multiple paths to the same goal. Generally speaking, this method seems to be the most common:  

Use a disc specifically designed for dogs, because human Frisbees are not suitable for canine play.

Begin by introducing your dog to the disc. One of our dogs was interested in the toy immediately, but we had to take extra steps to entice our other dog. If your dog doesn’t take to it immediately, make the disc desirable somehow. Recommendations include waving the disc temptingly while talking in an excited voice, giving your dog a treat (and/or a click if you’ve clicker trained him) when he touches it, smearing peanut butter on the edges of the disc or rubbing a hotdog around the rim. Some people report using the disc as a food bowl and allowing the dog to eat out of it.

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CANIDAE Sponsored Dog Performs on Canada’s Got Talent!

Photo by Kris Svela

By Julia Williams

It’s a given that all of the dogs and cats CANIDAE sponsors are talented; after all, they’re called Special Achievers for a reason. However, a 7-year old Pyrenean Shepherd named Rally is so good at freestyle flying disc that he (with his owner/handler Angela Ewtushik) recently got to show off his mad skills on Canada’s Got Talent, and made it to the Semi-Finals!

CANIDAE Sales Manager Caroline Pettersen said, “Although Angela and Rally didn’t win a place in the finals, they won a place in the hearts of Canadians. Angela and Rally went on a journey that most of us just dream about. We are very proud of Angela for being as brave as she was and putting herself out there the way she did. With an original desire to show people how to have fun with their dog…I believe she certainly made that impact on many.”

Indeed she did. In her CGT blog, Angela wrote “Eight months ago Rally and I waited in a hallway in the Rogers Centre for our turn to showcase our talent. I never thought that hallway would lead to several appearances on national TV and a huge fan base of Rally supporters from across Canada. This hit me minutes before the show. As the cameras were taping the audience, I gasped at the number of ‘Rally’ signs and the people cheering for him, many of whom I didn’t know. I had to turn away to find a makeup person to wipe my tears!”

I caught up with Angela recently to ask her more about this fun experience.

How did your act come to be? 
I was looking for an outlet for Rally’s energy. I saw some videos of canine freestyle disc and thought it would be something fun to try!

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Benny Wong and His 5 Disc Dogs Win Free CANIDAE!

The sponsor of this blog, CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods, selects one reader every three months to receive a free six month supply of their premium quality pet food. The winner is chosen at random from every new reader who subscribed via email during the past quarter. The winner gets to pick any formula of CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food.

The most recent winner is Benny Wong from Pasadena, California. Benny is very familiar with the CANIDAE brand and has chosen to receive free dog food. “We definitely feed our dogs CANIDAE! We use both the All Life Stages and Grain Free pureELEMENTS™ formulas,” said Benny. A longtime dog lover, Benny is also an active member of a Disc Dog club and competes regularly with his crew of canine athletes. “With 5 dogs, we sure can use this free food,” said Benny.

Here’s what Benny told us about himself and his canine family:

“I have been in the disc dog community since 1991. I belong to a disc dog club called Disc Dogs in Southern California. I’ve been president off and on for 4 years, and currently I’m the clinic and competition coordinator for the club.

My first dog Sammy, a poodle-terrier mix, started my addiction on wanting more dogs. He was my wife’s lap dog that I converted into a disc dog. We adopted him in 1990 at 8 weeks and he was so perfect for us. We took him everywhere, and he took our heart at the age of 15 1/2.

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Meet Disc Dog Champ Kirby McIlveen

By Julia Williams

It is my pleasure to introduce you to 17-year-old Kirby McIlveen, a CANIDAE Special Achiever. Kirby and her talented team of canine athletes compete in Disc Dog competitions across the United States. They not only compete, they excel, as evidenced by the many impressive records they hold. With her dog Torch, a McNab, Kirby became the first female and youngest ever at 17 years old to win the 2011 Skyhoundz World Championships!

CANIDAE is proud to sponsor Kirby and her dogs through its Special Achievers program. CANIDAE accepts only the very best canine athletes for sponsorship, and Kirby and her “Disc Dogs” are a perfect example of how premium dog food can contribute to athletic excellence. Kirby’s five dogs all eat CANIDAE food, naturally, and their good health and ability to excel at their sport helps promote the many benefits of a premium quality holistic pet food.

How old were you when you began competing in Disc Dog?

I started training and competing in disc dog competitions when I was 12 years old. When I was 13, I started freestyle with my Border Collie, Sketch.

How did you get started? What inspired you to try the sport?

I initially had a Shih Tzu, Lucky, who liked to play agility. I wanted to get another dog for agility, and decided to get a Border Collie. Sketch came into my life when I was 10 years old. He had a lot of energy, as most Border Collies do, so we needed another activity for him. We joined a disc dog class at an agility school. From there, we found out about the Disc Dog world and competitions.

How many dogs do you compete with?
I compete with five dogs, all powered by CANIDAE. Sketch, Flash, and Torch compete at a top level, while Blitz and Spirit are still “in training.”

Sketch – 7 year old Border Collie; Flash – 4 year old McNab; Torch – 1.5 year old McNab; Blitz – 4 year old Border Collie; Spirit – 1.5 year old Terrier Mix

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Teaching Your Dog to Fetch

By Ruthie Bently

You can teach your dog to fetch a newspaper, Frisbee, beer, a ball, even an egg. You can teach your dog to fetch (or retrieve) anything that is small enough for them to get a secure grip on, pick up and bring back to you. Teaching your dog to fetch is a good way to give them the mental stimulation they need so they don’t get bored and misbehave.

It is easiest to teach your dog to fetch when they are a puppy, but an adult dog can be taught to fetch too. With any training program, patience, praise, repetition and treats like CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ work well. Schedule your training time when the temperature is comfortable for both you and your dog, and not during the heat of the day. Only work your dog for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. If your dog already knows the commands for sit, come, stay and drop it ahead of time, this will facilitate teaching them to fetch an object for you.

Attach your dog to a six foot leash to allow them room to move. Using one of their favorite toys, begin by showing them the toy and pass it from hand to hand. Put them on a sit/stay and toss the toy a few feet away from you. Detach the leash and tell them to get the toy using the command “fetch.” If they don’t immediately go and get the ball, walk them over to it and repeat your command. If they don’t pick it up, then you pick it up and offer it to them. If your dog takes the ball, praise them and offer them a treat. Take the toy back to your starting point, put your dog on a sit/stay and begin again.

If your dog goes and get the toy and only comes part way back to you before stopping, encourage them to bring it all the way to you. If they drop the toy and return to you, you can ask them “where’s your toy?” Use praise and encouragement to get them to go back for it but don’t offer a treat until they bring the toy back to you. Don’t chase after them; that will only excite them in a game of chase and won’t further your cause. Your dog will learn quickly that fetching a toy brings praise and a treat from you, and will want to bring the toy back. Once your dog brings the toy back from a few feet away, you can begin tossing it further and further away from you. When they are fetching on their own and know the command, you can stop giving treats and reward them with praise alone, as your dog will want to play fetch just for the fun of it.

If your dog doesn’t already know the command for release, you can teach it to them as well. When your dog brings the toy back to you, steady their head with one hand. Place your other hand in front of their mouth and say “release.” If your dog doesn’t want to let go, repeat the “release” command and gently remove the toy from their mouth. Offer praise and a treat. Keep repeating the exercise until your dog lets go of the toy on their own. It is best to teach one command a day so as not to confuse your dog or wear them out.

Another command I have taught Skye is “easy.” This is a simple one to teach and I did it using CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ treats and abundant praise. While Skye was on a sit/stay, I put a treat between my thumb and forefinger and offered it to her after telling her “easy.” If she grabbed for the treat, I scolded her with a firm “no,” put her back on the sit/stay and tried again. When she reached for the treat gently, I praised her profusely and gave her the treat. Skye still forgets her treat manners sometimes. I just correct her bad behavior with a “no” and we try again. She never makes the mistake twice and I still have all my fingers.

Teaching your dog to fetch is good exercise for both of you, and if your dog becomes proficient at it, you might consider teaching them to be a disc dog, joining a disc dog team and competing. Every dog needs an activity, and teaching your dog to fetch can be the beginning of a wonderful job for them. This can keep them calm and well-behaved at home and become a fun hobby for you.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Flying Houndz Frizbee Trick Dog Show

By Julia Williams

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Jeff Wright’s Flying Houndz, a team of six talented canine athletes who excel at what they do. On the surface, one might describe this as “performing dozens of different tricks with flying discs.” But what these dogs really do is amaze, thrill and delight audiences nationwide.

These extraordinary canines are powered by CANIDAE dog food, and they’re part of the company’s Sponsored Dog Program. CANIDAE accepts only the very best canine athletes for sponsorship, and the Flying Houndz are a perfect example of how premium dog food can contribute to athletic excellence.

Sadie, Sampson, Vegas, Ace, Tango and Turk leap, flip, vault, dance and spin. They perform high-flying acrobatic feats and catch flying discs with remarkable ease. The professionally trained canines perform before crowds of every size, from as small as a few hundred to as large as 25,000. Fairs and festivals, pet expos, sporting events and schools are just a few of the places the Flying Houndz have entertained spectators with their exciting show. Depending on the venue, their show lasts anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.

The newest member of the Flying Houndz pack is Gizmo, a 3 month old male Border Collie who Jeff says is “very smart and learning quickly.” Gizmo began playing with the Frisbees in his very first week with the family, so it seems certain he will be a great addition to the show when he makes his debut in 2011.

Like many pet owners, Jeff and Misty Wright consider their dogs to be an integral part of their family, their “canine kids” if you will. These dogs are not used solely for the purpose of entertainment. Above all, they are loved and appreciated for the unique beings they are and for what they bring to the family. The Wrights have adopted most of their dogs from shelters and rescue organizations, and are grateful to have each one in their family, regardless of what they can contribute to the show.

Some of the dogs, like Sadie who is considered the “star” of the show, utterly adore their time in the spotlight and can’t get enough of it. Others were rescued from sad situations such as being raised in a puppy mill or found as a frightened stray, and they’re still a little timid about performing. Jeff takes baby steps with these dogs and makes sure they only do what is comfortable for them at the time. Their well-being and health are always a top priority.

As responsible pet owners, the Wrights nurture their dogs emotionally, and rely on CANIDAE All Natural Dog Food to keep them healthy and fit. Because these dogs are serious athletes, Jeff has done a great deal of research to determine their nutritional needs. He believes it’s vital to learn as much as possible about the food he feeds his dogs to ensure they not only perform to the best of their ability in the shows, but live long and healthy lives as cherished members of the family.

“When competing and performing, my dogs are always at their best on CANIDAE. The choice of ingredients is superior to any on the market and is a perfect fit for the needs of my dogs. Believe me, we have tried many of the top dog foods and none have shown the results that CANIDAE has. My dogs not only maintain their energy throughout the day, but they are happy, have beautiful coats, and are gleaming with good nutrition inside and out.”

Jeff has been performing with his dogs for about four years, and it’s clear to me (and to the audience) that this is truly a labor of love. The focus of every show is to share the special bond he has with these amazing canine stars, while having lots of fun and entertaining all ages.

Jeff says he’s “loved dogs since I could walk,” and like many youth, he played with Frisbees. So naturally, he began throwing the flying discs just for fun with his first Border Collie Sadie. This led to his discovery of disc dog competitions. Jeff and Sadie entered one, and placed third at their very first event which was a world championship with top teams from around the world!

This competition also had a canine freestyle disc event. The incredible talent Jeff saw that day inspired him to go home and immediately start practicing some tricks with Sadie. And as the old saying goes, the rest is history.

Says Jeff, “Spending time with my dogs this way is so rewarding. Learning together and particularly watching my dogs grow and overcome new challenges in training is very inspirational.” He’s also pleased to be able to bring smiles to the faces of young and old alike. One touching memory also makes him smile. It was the day an elderly lady asked to have a picture taken with one of the dogs. She didn’t have email and didn’t even know how to use a computer, so she asked Jeff if he’d mail it to her for Christmas. Jeff was delighted to print out and mail the picture to such a special fan!

When pressed to share some of his dog training secrets, Jeff says that “the key to successful dogs that are happy with life is to first train the best classic trick of all—the dog kiss! All of my dogs are trained to give big kisses! There’s nothing like watching parents take a picture of their child with my dog giving them a big kiss after a show!”

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.