An excerpt from Disc Dogs! The Complete Guide by Peter Bloeme and Jeff Perry, Co-founders of Hyperflite, Inc.
In a number of major cities in the United States and elsewhere in the world, our four-legged friends are caninus non gratis in parks and public green spaces. However, even in the most inhospitable environs it is possible to find a spot in which to fling the plastic to Phydeaux…if you’re persistent.
If you are just getting started with your puppy or adult canine, you can hold training sessions inside your home if you have a large carpeted space that can be temporarily cleared of obstructions such as coffee tables, and valuable family heirlooms. You won’t retain the support of your spouse if you smash a cherished family memento or damage the furniture. Spousal support is something that will come in handy as you go gallivanting across the globe in search of disc dog glory with your canine, while your better half stays home with all seven of the children, your mother, and your pet python “Huggy Bear.”
When you do move outside you should search for a level grassy area that is free of debris, holes and other obstacles. If you don’t have a suitable backyard, you must venture out to find public spaces in which to play with your canine. Until you have unfailing control over your pet, choose an athletic field with a fence around in case your buddy should make a run for it. After you’ve located the ideal practice spot, don’t frequent that same spot more than a time or two each week. Be sure to clean up after your pet and, for that matter, clean up any mess that you might be blamed for – even if you didn’t make it.
Many cities now have dog parks where it is possible to take your pet off leash and play without consequence. As a general rule, we don’t recommend dog parks because of the possibility of entanglements with canines that belong to park patrons who have yet to master a semblance of control over their rampaging beasts. Dog parks can be dangerous places for our disc dogs. If you have no other alternative, then go early before the throng arrives.
Resist the temptation to take your canine to a park that is clearly not dog friendly. We would advise against taking your canine, for example, to Sheep Meadow in New York’s Central Park where you are likely to have a very memorable encounter with New York’s finest. If canines are not allowed to set paw in a particular park, then don’t expect an exception to be made just because your canine happens to be a crowd-pleasing all-star. Find another venue. There are always nice areas closer than you think. If you find yourself in the all-too-familiar situation of being accosted by “the man,” be nice, apologize for your transgression and enlist the help of the very fellow who has put the pinch on you and Rover. “But sir,” you can ask politely, “I can’t find anyplace to play with my faithful friend and I’ve searched far and wide – have you any suggestions?” If the formality thing seems to work, then toss in this sure winner. “Kind Sir, I beseech thee to help a poor wretch, and her mangy mutt, find peace through vigorous exercise.” Anyway, you get the idea. Be polite, respectful and apologize profusely for your inadvertent lapse in judgment. You will probably survive with a friendly admonition. If you are warned, don’t go back to the same park for a few months lest ye be smitten from above.
In the suburbs, many corporations will have large manicured green spaces that are ideal for disc play. In the evening hours, only the occasional security guard will remain and they typically are busy watching sports on their “security monitors.” You may get run off from some of these spots too, but you likely won’t be accosted by the gendarmerie. If you are approached, the absence of signs prohibiting your behavior … coupled with the improvised dumb look on your face … will usually save the day.
When all else fails, you can always try your local, elementary, middle, or high school. Most schools, public and private, have green space that you can borrow for 10 or 15 minutes occasionally, when the schools are closed. After all, you’re a taxpayer for cryin’ out loud, and your dogs are your children, right? Avoid the enticing green grass of the school football stadium. If the coach catches you on his grass, he may “gouge you a new orifice” or, worse yet, make you and Fido run wind sprints! You might try volunteering to do a half-time show or presentation for the kiddies to curry favor with school administrators. As long as you clean up after your dog and don’t let your mongrel run wild, you will be amazed at how receptive most schools can be.
No matter where you play or practice, be respectful of property owners and administrators and always carry a spare donut in case you should cross paths with Officer Krupke.
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.