WATCH: Preston Trick Dogs paving the way for the UK in the global K9 Frisbee Toss and Fetch championships
It may amuse some dog owners to know that while they are throwing a frisbee to their dog, they could actually be competing in an exclusive sport, with a world-wide league.
Teams of more than seven play in the safety of their own club space and log their scores honestly online.
With only two clubs in the UK, Lancashire residents are lucky to have Preston Trick Dogs represent the county in the league.
The club’s canine trainer Dawn Heaton, whose collie dogs Hollie and Sprocket, are in the team, says: “I am a trick trainer originally and I started off throwing a frisbee to my dogs and then I discovered K9 Frisbee league run by Mark Vitullo. It is really big in America but there are teams from all over - Mexico, Canada and lots of European countries.
“Last season a woman from Stoke on Trent put a small team together and then we joined with Preston Trick Dogs, so we were the second UK team to start playing.
“We have a team of 10 handlers and 11 dogs. Each handler has one dog and they play for 60 seconds on a 50-yard pitch.
“The handler throws a frisbee and they get points for how far they can throw it. 10 to 20 yards is one point; 20 to 30 yards is two points; 30 to 40 yards is three points and 40 to 50 yards is five points. If the dog catches the frisbee with all four feet off the floor, they also get half a point.
“We have two rounds each of 60 seconds.
“We are only scoring around 4.5 at the moment - our highest score was seven. We are nowhere near the top 40 per cent but we are just happy to get points.
“It is great fun and the dogs have a whale of a time.
“We do the rounds one dog at a time so there are no other dogs around as they can get quite excited.
“We play at the same day and time for the five-week season. There are four seasons altogether. We are just about to end our summer season and our next time will be in the autumn.”
Dawn is now encouraging dog owners across the country to set up a team.
She says: “I am trying to get more people involved. If we get more people in the UK playing, we can have more teams in the league.
“Dogs love fetching so this is the same, but with a frisbee and more structure.
“We also have a warm up and cool down - we don’t let the dogs run crazy.
“Most people on the team are dog professionals - there is a canine massage therapist, there is a dog groomer and one member is training to be a trainer with me.”
Dawn, who has five dogs altogether, has been an official trainer since 2015.
She adds: “I had a dog and went to training classes in Preston where we learnt about teaching dogs tricks and how it increases the bond.
“Unfortunately that dog died but I got a new puppy and returned.
“The trainer said she had the perfect puppy for me. I couldn’t resist and so I took Hollie, who is now one of my disc dogs. She is very reactive and can be a handful and quite naughty.
“I began to teach her tricks and it went on from there. I get so much fun and delight out of it.”
The summer league has now finished but the team will resume in autumn at Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre on Thursday evenings.
For more information visit http://www.prestontrickdogs.co.uk