My fiancé decided that we should be attending a Canine Hoopers event. I didn't know what this was however, I did want to find out more. Now I knew we were going it left me more intrigued and wondering what is Canine Hoopers and why should we use it? I did a little research and here is what I found.
What Is Canine Hoopers?
Hoopers is a fun dog sport for everyone regardless of ability. Dogs must navigate hoops, tunnels, and barrels without the risks of traditional agility courses. It is similar to agility courses but without the tight turns and is great for a bonding experience with your dog.
Many pet owners will feel happier about choosing an event such as Canine Hoopers over an agility course due to the positive benefits it can bring to your dog. Surprisingly, there is even the opportunity for a little friendly competition because there is a chance to win something.
What Do You Do At a Canine Hoopers Session?
- You communicate with your dog by navigating hoops, tunnels and barrels
- There are no jumps or sharp turns
- You can run through hoops
- Go around barrels
- Venture through little tunnels
Almost every dog and owner can get involved. You will see old dogs and young puppies which is great for socialisation especially for the younger ones. Canine Hoopers training requires you to work methodically on your communication and holding your dogs attention. When your dog first comes into contact with the items used in training, you will more than likely have a good laugh at the start. This is because they may run around instead of through and walk passed instead of going over the different obstacles. This is good news though as you will be able to see the changes as your training slowly starts to improve as you attend each session.
The positive benefits this training can bring to your pup include increased confidence and they can slowly build up independence which is amazing to see in a puppy. We loved the fact that it is all low impact training rather than jumping straight into high impact agility courses. If your dog is big and heavy then injuries can occur easily and this is a great alternative for you. Likewise, many pets with arthritic conditions have been seen attending this kind of training too.
it gets better because much of the training can be carried on at home as some of the items used are not overly expensive.
Your involvement will be from a short distance at the start with a focus on verbal and visual cues which means you will improve as a team thanks to this communication and bonding time. It also means this event is possible for those even with limited mobility which is why it is open to all.
How Do You Join Canine Hoopers?
There is a full network of qualified instructors across the UK so your first point of call is to find an instructor on the Canine Hoopers website. The trainers are known as 'Hoopers' and you need to find your local Hooper to get started. To become an accredited Canine Hooper trainer they will have had to attend a comprehensive instructor course and will either be accredited to a level 1 or level 2 standard.
Level 1 Instructor - This is if you don't want to take it too serious and just want some fun and fitness.
Level 2 Instructor - A level 2 instructor can help you take it up a notch with distance challenging and more complex courses.
You can use this link to search your local areas for your Hoopers instructor.
What Should I Take To a Canine Hoopers Session?
There are a number of items your dog may require to stay hydrated, full of energy and focussed. The items you should consider include:
Where Are Canine Hoopers Events Held?
If you are doing well at your training and decide to partake in the events, then you can find the list of event locations here - Event Locations.
Even though this is less competitive than agility courses and although it is mainly focussed on being fun there is an element of competition which is healthy and needed in all sports. You can win up to four awards which are called the 'Good Hoopers Awards' which are designed in typical medal colours - Puppy, Bronze, Silver and the most desired Gold, although I would just be happy with the puppy one!
How Much Does Canine Hoopers Cost?
As training is with different qualified instructors in different areas, the price can vary but we paid £15 for a session. You need to navigate from the main 'find an instructor' page to the contact details for the instructor and then enquire about a price.
If you want to become a member of Canine Hoopers then you will pay only £5 for five years and you will get access to discounts from suppliers and retailers, entry into the more exclusive competitions. The dog membership is a one off £5 fee for their lifetime membership.
Now we have been through some of the questions lets take a look at what it's like in reality! You will notice some impressive speed in this clip. They are also very focussed and well trained. As a beginner you will not be like this, but what will start as a dream can become reality as shown in the impressive video below from Canine Hoopers World. Well done to Tiny Dog and House Wolf!
Does Canine Hoopers Make Dogs Thirsty?
Like with all sports, hydration is vital and this is very important for your dogs when performing any kind of activity. A dog water bottle will help you keep them hydrated without the worry or need for carrying a bowl.
To conclude, Canine Hoopers is a great and fun alternative to agility training for some low impact exercise for dogs. If you really want that pure adventure dog but don't want to risk their limbs when you are training them, then make this your starting point and work from there.