Lisburn's Yvonne Myers on the 9 reasons why you'll love this new sport for dogs

Yvonne Myers from Lisburn's Daisy Dog Academy on why ‘Canine Hoopers’ - a growing sport for dogs - has many vital benefits for you and your dog.

Yvonne Myers, of Lisburn's Daisy Dog Academy

I am very proud to be a Canine Hoopers World Level 2 instructor and I think it is a fantastic dog sport that is growing and growing. There are so many benefits to this sport and not only for the dog.

The Mission Statement of Canine Hoopers World is;

“Canine Hoopers World was created to bring the inclusive activity of hoopers to dogs around the globe. Combining a series of hoops, barrels and tunnels, dogs and their handlers work together as a team to navigate the obstacles.

“Build confidence whilst working in partnership to have fun.”

So why should you do it with your dog?

- Working as a team which is hugely beneficial for your relationship

- Mental stimulation for your dog, it can help build focus for those dogs that struggle

- Physical exercise for you and your dog

- Confidence building for your dog, creating independence as your dog learns to works away from you as they progress

- High energy dog? This will help build calm and burn that energy!

- Any dog can do it, any breed, from six months of age, so it is super inclusive

- There are no jumps, sharp turns or climbing over equipment that could injure your dog

- Fantastic for our dog’s proprioception so they are more aware of their feet and body

- Finally, because it is great fun.

I feel it is safer for our dogs

Unlike agility courses for dogs, there are no jumps. Instead we have ground level hoops that the dog runs through, meaning the course is more flowing than an agility course with no tight turns which I feel is safer for our dogs.

There is no high impact equipment like dog walks or frames, instead they change direction going around a barrel and run through tunnels which are much taller than agility tunnels so large dogs do not have to crouch to get through them.

Meanwhile, because this sport is low impact, any dog can do it from a six-month old puppy to a much older dog.

If your dog has done agility and is now a bit too old for all that high impact equipment, then hoopers is the one for you. They will love the thrill of the course without the body impact.

You do not need to be an athlete yourself

Unlike other sports you do not need to be an athlete and run with you dog, this sport is about building your dog’s confidence, although you can run with your dog if you prefer to keep those steps up!

We can build your dog’s confidence, so they are learning to work at a distance from you, you are still working as a team as you are guiding your dog around the course with hand signals and your voice to ensure they follow the correct flow. If you prefer, you do not have to do the running yourself. This makes it more accessible to people of every age and people with mobility issues can handle their dog and still be involved.

Stamina building - and having fun

If you have a young dog that struggles to maintain focus on anything for more than a second, this can help build up their stamina as they are learning and more importantly, they are having fun.

This will overflow, providing more focus in other areas of their life which is beneficial to both dog and owner.

Ideal for nervous dogs

Nervous dogs benefit from the experience as they are working with you and building their confidence as they go.

There is no pressure

As with all learning it is always much easier to absorb information if it is fun, and Hoopers is all about the fun! It is not a race-the-clock sport, it is you and your dog working together, learning together, and doing it at your pace and having as much fun along the way as possible.

Hoopers has been featured at Crufts, it is a fast-growing sport that gives the same thrill and excitement of agility without the hard work for human and dog.

It started initially in the US and has become a firm favourite world-wide, with undoubtedly countless benefits to dogs who get to enjoy it.

Try our five-week course

Giving your dog something wonderful they can do with you, where they get your attention, love and focus can have far reaching benefits on the rest of their lives as they are getting the mental stimulation they need.

We have a fantastic progression programme to continue to grow and develop as a team which you will find extremely addictive.

So why not come along and see what it is all about. Our beginners Hoopers will be starting a new term on September 27 for a five-week course, you will have the best time, as the nights draw in, having something fun to do can really lift the spirits not only for you but your dog.

Visit: www.thedaisydogacademy.com for details.