15/06/2018 - Latest News
Have you ever heard of Hoopers? If you were at Crufts 2018 you may have seen it featured. It’s a new sport for dogs and their owners and it’s proving to be very popular. Hoopers has all the benefits of dog agility and it’s just as challenging for the dog’s mind, but it is physically easier for dog and the owner. What that means is that young puppies, older dogs and dogs or owners with physical impairments can have just as much fun as their super-athletic counterparts.
What is Hoopers?
Hoopers is all about teamwork between a dog and its owner. It comprises a series of obstacles that are all at ground level. There are hoops, tunnels, barrels to go around and sometimes a low A-frame. But no jumps, no see-saws and no tables. It’s a low impact activity for the dog which means that puppies as young as four months old can enjoy the sport without fear of long term damage to growing bones. Older, arthritic bones can cope with it too. As for the owner – there doesn’t need to be any running and jumping from them either. It’s about communication, not athletic prowess.
This video was taken at Crufts 2017. This beautiful staffie is clearly having a fantastic time. But keep an eye on her owner. Whereas in dog agility competition the owner runs from obstacle to obstacle guiding the dog, this Hoopers participant doesn’t need to run alongside the dog to issue commands. Everything is done from a distance.
Hoopers teaches distance commands that can be used outside of the classroom
It’s great to have fun with your dog in a classroom type situation, a competition or your back garden. But those are not the only places you’ll ever spend time with your dog off-lead. What about in the local park? Perhaps you enjoy beach walks or hiking?
There sometimes comes a time when you need your dog to stop what he’s doing IMMEDIATELY, to change direction or to come back to you. On a windy day or over a long distance your voice may not carry. But if you have taught your dog to focus on you at all times and to respond to hand signals – Bingo! You can feel more confident about letting him run around off lead IF it’s appropriate to do so.
If you want to compete in gun-dog scurries – hand signals play an important part in the training.
You don’t need to be super fit to enjoy Hoopers
Because Hoopers can about the owner giving distance commands for a low impact activity. Neither the dog nor the owner needs to be super-agile.
This video (not taken at Premier Dog Training) shows a very simple Hoopers course. This owner has chosen to run with his dog and the dog is having to concentrate really hard on what his owner is asking him to do – but look closely. This pooch is missing one of his front legs….he’s still loving it though!
Hoopers comes to Romford in Essex
For dogs and their owners in and around Romford, Dagenham and Barking, Premier Dog Training is offering Hoopers taster sessions. You can go along and spend an hour and a half with qualified trainer Sean test out the obstacles and learn about some of the force-free training techniques used in this terrific sport.
Find out more here https://www.premierdogtraining.co.uk/agility-classes-dogs-romford/hoopers-agility-workshop/