Colorado Disc Dogs kick into spring training |

Colorado Disc Dogs kick into spring training

Shauna Farnell

SUMMIT COUNTY – Spring is a great time for anyone – even dogs – to unveil hidden athletic skills to enhance over the summer. This is especially true of backyard Frisbee talent.

Disc dog competition was born in 1974, when Los Angeles resident Alex Stein smuggled his dog, Ashley Whippet, onto the field between innings during a Dodger’s game for a display of leaping and catching Frisbees. Although Stein and Ashley were booted from the game, the performance led both to an extensive disc dog career in world competition and Hollywood appearances.

Colorado Disc Dogs sponsors a series of summer Frisbee competitions throughout the state, including one at Carter Park in Breckenridge, July 14. The organization is conducting a spring training in Thornton Saturday to encourage newcomers and advanced disc dogs to become more involved in the sport.

“Disc dog competition is a lot of fun,” said Christi Goodman, event coordinator for Colorado Disc Dogs in Denver. “We have a competition (in Breck) every summer, and we know there are tons of local dogs that play Frisbee. It combines the best of everything. People are competitive, and when there are dogs involved, you’re putting time into their education. Practice time is a time to bond. People get pretty passionate about it. Plus, people just love Frisbee dogs. When you play Frisbee with your dog in public, absolutely everybody nearby will stop to watch.”

Although some dogs are more athletically inclined than others, dogs of any breed that possess a few fundamental characteristics have potential in Frisbee competitions, according to those in the field.

“We have corgis, great Danes, poodles, goldens, lots of labs … some of the best dogs in the country are mutts,” Goodman said. “Basically, all you need is a dog with high prey drive – the willingness to chase moving objects, furry or not – and a dog that likes to fetch. Any breed is capable. A dog that chases something but doesn’t bring it back can be trained to bring it back.”

Disc dog competitions have beginner and intermediate categories, which consist of basic tossing and fetching and an advanced category, which in-volves a freestyle toss-and- fetch routine to music. All levels will be covered Saturday.

“With backyard Frisbee players, we get a lot of new members,” Goodman said. “In fact, people have won our novice division by just stopping by a competition and registering right there. The novice category is very basic. We know there’s a tremendous interest in this;people are usually just at a loss on how to get started.”

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