... And Decades of Flying Pups

Dogs love Frisbees. They chase them. They chew them. And some dogs even catch them for a living. First place at a dog Frisbee-catching competition can fetch a dog (and its master) $50,000 in prize money. That's a lot of chew toys.

No one knows when the first Frisbee competition for dogs was held. But the first national competition was at California State University, Fullerton, in 1974.

"It's amazing to watch dogs leaping 10 feet, twisting in the air, and catching Frisbees with their teeth," says Peter Bloeme. He has not only won a World Frisbee Disk Championship by himself, he also won a world championship with his dog, Whirlin' Wizard.

"You don't need a pure breed to compete," Mr. Bloeme continues. "All you need is a dog that loves to run, jump, and play catch."

In a competition, contestants have from 90 seconds to 2 minutes to showcase their catching routines. The performances are judged on leaping ability, showmanship, execution, and degree of difficulty.

If you want to train your dog to catch a Frisbee, Bloeme suggests starting simply. Teach your dog to fetch a ball or a stick and work up to tossing or rolling the Frisbee. And, "Don't be discouraged if your dog gnaws up the Frisbee," he says.

* For information about dog Frisbee competitions, see the Skyhoundz Web site: skyhoundz.com Call 888-444-ALPO for a free Frisbee dog-training manual.

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