“We have had the best time over the past few months doing Hoopers.
Thank you for your encouragement and for making it so much fun. We have the Hoopers bug now: can’t wait for more 🙂"
Hoopers is a dog sport, originating in America, (NADAC: North American Dog Agility Council), in the 1990s. It has subsequently begun to spread into Europe in recent years, but, until recently, remains relatively new to the UK. It is based on, but developed as an alternative discipline from, dog agility. It is a unique, fun, and challenging game & a great new tool for training foundation skills and refining handling.
Instead of jumps & contact equipment, the course is made up entirely of hoops but often other obstacles are used too: eg: barrels to wrap around, gates to run past & short wide tunnels to negotiate. As there is no jumping, contact equipment or tight turns, there is therefore, minimal impact on dogs’ joints & limbs, making Hoopers far more inclusive & accessible than agility. It is suitable for most dogs: from puppies, (with sensible precautions in relation to growth plate development), to dogs retired from sporting activities, older or less physically able dogs & to those recovering from injury, (subject to vet approval). The focus is on dog & handler working together as a team & the emphasis is on smooth flowing lines & speed. Hoopers encourages distance handling by verbal & visual cues around a course. Training is positive; without pressure & the dog learns to think for themselves & to work independently.
We discovered Hoopers in the summer of 2016 & have been busy introducing it to people & their dogs since. We were pioneers in the early days in the UK & the first in Cornwall to start teaching it. At that time, we could find no-one else teaching it in the UK & the only information about it had to be gleaned from researching the NADAC rules & translating European websites.
Since then, interest has rapidly grown in the UK & there are now many emerging models. There are those who teach it slowly, using simple exercises from a distance handling perspective. There are now several groups who have written their own competition rules, accreditation & progression routes; mainly running alongside agility competitions. There are those that support the use of contact equipment within Hoopers courses. And there are those, like us, who celebrate Hoopers’ differences & separateness from agility. So, it is important when choosing a place to start Hoopers training, to be sure what chosen model & underlying set of principles form the basis of that training.
While we used to teach agility, we have now chosen to teach & support only Hoopers; a sport we consider to be kinder to dogs; both emotionally & physically, as well as completely different to, & separate from, agility. Our philosophy aims to concentrate on the dogs having fun, as well as learning & so we offer safe courses with smooth flowing lines from the outset, rather than just simple exercises. The dogs therefore not only learn the skills they need as they go along, but also engage the ‘pleasure’ circuits in their brain, work more independently & develop speed & distance in a more natural way.
Hoopers In Cornwall: Combining fun & safety in a dog sport
HOOPERS IN THE UK
WE LIKE HOOPERS SO MUCH
OPTIONS & COSTS
Hoopers is very inclusive & is kind to both the dogs’ physical & emotional welfare. It is suitable for most dogs & handlers; irrespective of age, size, mobility & health. Courses can be approached from walking pace, right through to ‘fast as lightning’ speed, as well as handling from a distance. Our 1-1 sessions make this sport accessible & enjoyable for those dogs who find class situations difficult, or are exempted breeds. There is also the ability to compete via video submissions, rather than the requirement to enter a busy competition with many other dogs present.
The emphasis is on the uninterrupted flowing lines of the course & so, the dog is able to build up considerable speed, without any risk to them physically. The dog is directed far less than in agility & their flow is not interrupted in the same way. Because of the increased speed, there becomes a point where, in order to allow your dog the freedom to run fast & free, distance handling helps both dog & handler.
Also, part of the integral philosophy is the bond & teamwork between handler & dog, with the dog able to make more decisions for themselves; & the handler respecting this by helping the dog with the journey around the course.
Hoopers is refreshingly different & in our opinion, once tried, can become far more addictive than agility!
We offer 1-1 sessions, classes, workshops & challenges which are scheduled throughout the year: all of which cater for different abilities from beginners to advanced level. Please follow our Facebook site for latest events, news & session dates. We are also very happy to run workshops on request, for teams or groups of people, on anything Hoopers-related. Please contact us to discuss.
£20 for one hour, (1 or 2 handlers/dogs)
To be booked in a block of 6 weekly sessions at £50 per dog
Classes have a maximum of 5 dogs & last for one hour
Care is taken to ensure that each dog will be able to work at a safe distance from other dogs
Lower Dacum Farm, Porkellis, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 0PD
Tel: 01326 340627
Mobile: 07813 984662
8:00 AM - dusk
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