An excerpt from Disc Dogs! The Complete Guide by Peter Bloeme and Jeff Perry, Co-founders of Hyperflite, Inc.
Polls have shown that the primary reason that people participate in canine disc competitions is because their dogs love it. Sometimes we lose sight of that simple fact as we become more experienced and more active on the competition circuit. Winning and losing, in canine disc competitions, should always be secondary to the special relationship that you have with your canine. You are unquestionably your dog’s hero when you take the time to play and have fun together. Winning or losing is simply not something that matters to canines. We could all learn from their example.
Competition organizers and officials strive to make disc dog competitions a fun and challenging activity for both human and canine alike. Competitions are also a great way to meet other people who love their canines. Unlike most canine sports, disc dog play requires of its participants – both human and canine – the same measure of dedication, skill and effort. But no matter how competitive you are, it is important to remember that your canine will love you just as much even if every throw you make isn’t perfect and even if that big trophy doesn’t find its way to your mantle.
Regardless of how much you prepare, or how hard you try, sooner or later you or your canine teammate will have a bad day on the playing field. On those less than magical days, you may be irritated or disappointed in your performance, or your luck, or even your scores.
While it is natural for a competitor to try his or her best and strive to win, it is important to remember why you got involved in canine disc competition in the first place. If you are like most people, you probably were attracted to canine disc sports because there is no better way to have fun with your dog and no activity that your dog will enjoy more. On occasion, there may be a temptation to blame judges when we fail to achieve our goals. Often, with calm reflection, we can analyze our own failings, learn from them, and move on. Not only is judging extremely difficult, it is also a subjective endeavor. No matter how hard contest organizers try to eliminate the subjective element in judging, in the end, human beings are involved in the process and this means that the scores that human judges give you may not be the scores that you or your friends believe you should have received. All parents think their kids are perfect and all dog owners think their dogs are perfect. And, of course, everyone is right. But some people are more right than others and that difficult distinction is left to the judges.
Although rare, there have been episodes of poor sportsmanship at, or after, canine disc competitions. For some, there may be a temptation to unload on the judges when scores don’t match expectations. However, this approach never yields a positive outcome. Typically, confrontation ends the possibility of dialogue with the officials who are naturally less likely to offer constructive suggestions on improving a routine to someone who is attacking them because of a disputed outcome.
A better approach is to visit with the judges after the competition and ask for guidance or tips for improving scores for a future competition. Once you see how the judge evaluated your performance, you can make the changes necessary to ensure success in the future.
Finally, whatever your position on the leaderboard at the conclusion of a canine disc competition – when you demonstrate good sportsmanship, you will always be a winner in your dog’s eyes and in the eyes of your fellow competitors.
Reprinted with permission from Hyperflite, Inc. www.hyperflite.com
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About the Authors
Hyperflite co-founder, Peter Bloeme is currently director of the Skyhoundz Championships. In this role, he manages more than 100 Local Championships, 10 World Championship Qualifers, and the World Championship — reaching millions of consumers with messages of canine health and fitness.
Bloeme’s career of tossing, skipping, bouncing, spinning and twirling a plastic disc into the air began in 1974 when he won the Junior National Frisbee Championships at the age of 15. In 1976, at the age of 19, he won the World (human) Frisbee Championships at the Rose Bowl in California before 40,000 disc fans.
In 1983, Bloeme added a new element to his sport – a black and white Border Collie named Whirlin’ Wizard. The two went on to win the 1984 World Canine Frisbee Championships making Wizard, at less than 2 years old, the youngest dog to ever win the title. At the same time, Bloeme became the only person to win a world title both by himself and with his dog.
In 1990, Bloeme added a little magic to his routine – literally – with the addition of Magic, a black and white Australian Shepherd. Over the years, Bloeme, Wizard and Magic performed hundreds of disc dog demonstrations at sporting events including Major League Baseball, National Football League, World League football and National Basketball Association games.
Bloeme and his canine companions have also performed numerous times before sold-out stadium crowds all around the world. They have performed half-time shows at sporting events and have made public appearances in countries including Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Sweden. Perhaps his most notable appearance was at the 1995 Japanese Baseball All-Star Game in Hiroshima, Japan where, after the seventh inning, the game was stopped for a ten minute exhibition by Bloeme and four Japanese dogs. Bloeme’s performance was viewed live by a sold-out crowd of 40,000 fans plus an estimated 26 million people on television through the Tokyo Broadcasting System.
During the 1970’s, Bloeme served as technical advisor to CBS Sports for a half-hour television special on Frisbee and toured Europe as a representative of the International Frisbee Association.
Bloeme and his dogs have appeared on television in the U.S. hundreds of times, including featured appearances on shows such as “Good Morning America,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” and on CNN and ESPN. You may remember seeing Wizard opening the Disney movie, “Flight of the Navigator.” In a Miller Lite television ad, Bloeme was responsible for the on-camera Frisbee action. Wizard even had a walk-on role in the spot. Bloeme has also served twice as the color commentator for Animal Planet in their one-hour show on the World Championships.
In 2001, Bloeme, Jeff Perry (1989 World Champion & Hall of Famer) and Greg Perry founded Hyperflite, Inc., a company dedicated to developing advanced disc technology. Their first disc, the K-10 for dogs was introduced in July of 2001.
Bloeme is author of the book, Frisbee Dogs: How to Raise, Train and Compete, a 192-page paperback, illustrated with over 300 photographs and the book, Skyhoundz Images, an 80-page hardcover photo book on the sport with captions in English, Japanese and Spanish ($19.95 U.S.).
Bloeme also co-produced, along with Jeff Perry, the internationally-acclaimed Disc Dog Training DVD, the top-selling disc dog training DVD of all time and Disc Dogs! The Complete Guide. At 360 pages, and featuring more than 600 color photos, Disc Dogs! is the most thorough and authoritative canine disc publication in existence.
Hyperflite co-founder Jeff Perry and his mixed-breed, animal shelter adoptee, Gilbert won the 1989 Canine Disc World Championship in Dallas, Texas. Prior to taking the World title, Perry and Gilbert won the Southeast Regional Championship for three consecutive years. Gilbert and Perry went on to be featured on NBC’s top-rated “Today Show,” along with numerous appearances on CNN and ESPN and other national and international media over the years. As a member of the ALPO Canine Disc Celebrity Touring Team, Perry was a media spokesperson for the 10-year period in which ALPO sponsored the Canine disc Championships.
Throughout the years, in countless interviews and public appearances Perry has extolled the virtues of adopting shelter animals. According to Perry, shelter mutts make wonderful companions and great disc dogs.
Perry and his canines have performed hundreds of times before sold-out stadium crowds at professional football and baseball games all over the world. Internationally, Perry has performed before huge crowds at Olympic Stadiums in Berlin and Barcelona and has made public appearances in Canada, China, Spain Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Gilbert and Perry were featured entertainers at the prestigious “Colare de Oro,” the Italian equivalent of the Westminster dog show.
While performing in Japan, Perry met the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan (the future emperor and empress of Japan) after one of more than 200 shows that he performed in Japan over a five-month period at the Animal Kingdom in Nasu. While in Japan, Perry and his dog Cosmic K.D. also entertained thousands of spectators in the Tokyo dome.
From 1990 to 2005, Perry served as the Chief Judge of the World Canine Disc Championships.
Perry, along with Peter Bloeme and Greg Perry, co-founded Hyperflite in 2000 and, shortly thereafter, designed and patented the revolutionary K-10 disc, the first canine disc designed exclusively for canine competition.
Perry, along with Peter Bloeme, co-produced the internationally-acclaimed Disc Dog Training DVD, the top-selling disc dog training DVD of all time. In addition, Perry co-wrote Disc Dogs! The Complete Guide, the most authoritative book ever written on canine disc sports.
In his spare time, Perry also serves as a Contributing Editor for Flying Disc Magazine.
A strong proponent of the health and fitness benefits of canine disc play for dogs and owners, Perry founded one of the first canine disc clubs in the country. Over the years, Perry has taught countless canine-disc aficionados to throw flying discs and helped even elite-level competitors improve their throwing abilities.
In addition to his canine disc activities, Perry still finds time to engage in some of his other favorite pursuits, climbing, backpacking and flying. Perry, a skilled pilot, has flown powered aircraft and hang gliders for more than 25 years and has logged more than 2000 hours in many types of aircraft. In fact, his aeronautical experience and understanding of aeronautical principles were instrumental in the design of the Hyperflite K-10 disc.
Perry received a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.) in Journalism from the University of Maryland, a Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) from Mercer University and a Master of Laws in International Law (LL.M.) from the University of Miami.