Can’t jump? Go through hoops instead!
You’ve probably never heard of hoopers as it is a relatively new dog sport. Canine Hoopers UK was formed in 2017, to provide an activity that strives to protect the long term well-being of the dog by maintaining flowing courses of low impact obstacles. The aim is to direct your dog around a course of between 15 and 24 obstacles, including hoops, barrels, tunnels and a mat.
Tracey has been training in agility for over 30 years, but more recently has been doing flyball and hoopers as well, as she loves doing things with her dogs. She currently has 5 dogs; Harris 12 year-old terrier, Vali 9 year-old kelpie, Vader 5 year-old collie, Mouse 3 year-old kelpie and Zarko 14 week-old working cocker. Vali, Vader and Mouse regularly compete in agility, hoopers and flyball.
Why choose hoopers?
Tracey says “As my workaholic Kelpie gets older I wanted something to challenge us both, but without to much strain on his joints. Hoopers is perfect. And my younger Kelpie just wants to run as fast as possible so loves hoopers. It has also had a positive impact on her agility training.”
The sport aims to be inclusive, making sure that it is accessible to all dogs and handlers, in particular large and tiny breeds. It is also available to dogs which require a little extra space, patience or understanding and also to handlers with limited mobility.
Who can teach Hoopers?
All Accredited Canine Hoopers UK Instructors have been thoroughly assessed and only awarded accreditation when they prove their understanding, knowledge and teaching aptitude. Accredited Trainers are consistently teaching to a high standard, using only force-free training techniques.
Tracey says she did a training day in 2019. Then she completed the online good hoopers awards with her dogs in March 2020, before taking the instructors course and becoming an accredited CHUK instructor in May 2020.
What are the pros and cons of Hoopers?
The biggest positive about hoopers is that it is suitable for any age or breed of dog, although you need to have some basic obedience before you can start. Tracey says “the main challenge is to handle from a distance, as although you can run with your dog, you get extra points for staying behind lines or in boxes.”
There are regular competitions throughout the year, including a national finals. Tracey says “There is also an award scheme run in classes called the good hoopers award, where you can earn a fab rosette and certificate for foundation, bronze, silver and gold.”
Thanks Tracey for sharing the information about this exciting new dog sport!
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