UKDDA Disc Dog to be recognised as an approved activity by the UK Kennel Club
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Two years ago, We started the dialogue with the UK Kennel Club to try and get the sport recognised as an Approved Activity so we could promote, engage and develop the activity as part of a demo at the very least at both Crufts and Discover Dogs.
This first started with a phone call to their activities team, which was almost immediately shut down as We was advised that this is not something The Kennel Club wanted to advocate as a sport.
We asked what the perceived risk was as no dog sport is risk free, and in most cases there are things that we can do as owners and trainers to minimise the amount involved, including keeping our dogs #fitforfunction, doing lots of flatwork, working on body awareness exercises, ensuring our dogs aren't overweight, doing short training sessions, disc placement, only attempting moves that your individual dog finds naturally easier due to their conformation, age and breed. We were not given a convincing argument.
When we got off the phone we felt even more determined! I did some digging, and we am getting the impression that The Kennel Club are very scared of approving the sport as about four years ago at one of their companion dog shows they ran a 'highest frisbee catch' catagory, and tragically a dog got so severely injured it was put to sleep.
As horrendous as that is to happen, a catagory for 'highest frisbee catch' can't be comparable to the sport of disc dog. In UKDDA Games, absolutely no where do we state the dog is marked more for jumping higher.
We put a massive emphasis on safety, and what is suitable for that dog and handler team. In jumpdisc, dogs aren't measured so we allow handler descretion to choose the appropriate height for their dog, as long as no one is obviously taking the pee! We are the only sport, to our knowledge where handlers can request reasonable adjustments for their dogs on their show entry form.
Banning disc dog because of the above unfortunate incident is as silly banning agility due to to someone holding a 'heighest jump' or 'steepest a frame' - that isn't agility.
We finally received a response over a year ago which to be fair, wasn't a straight no asking to send more information. Currently we have almost 400 interested parties on our official UK Disc Dog Association Facebook group, but in comparison to the likes of AgilityNet (18,000+) we are still very much a developing sport in the UK. A handful of people have tried to get the sport going before in the uk but I am convinced that the UKDDA is like a dog with a disc!
At Crufts, we were invited to do a few short demonstrations on disc on a large space in front of our sponsors stand. This even caught the eye of the Crufts Official press team where we actually ended up giving an interview on the activities development in the UK, which apparently ended up being screened on Channel 4, much to our amusement.
We were delighted that this clip was being used in various newspaper articles about the sport here in the UK, but we are also sad to see the link doesn't seem to work anymore.
It did seem odd, very shortly after the link was published, we received an email from The Kennel Club Working Dogs Activities Team detailing they would have a meeting on the 17th May . Some of the materials from this meeting are publically accessible online, which we were surprised to see as they seemed to be marked confidential.
We were reassured multiple times we would hear back about the outcome in the next few weeks. We did however receive an email that they were due to delay the decision until their meeting in mid September. We still haven't heard anything.
We are petitioning the KC WDA team to #approvediscdog, to let the UKDDA retain control over rules and promote the activity at their major events like Crufts and Discover Dogs in the main arena and engage people so their dogs are #fitforfunction and more people can #dodiscdog!
The sport has now been demoed over 50 times nationwide, and we have been booked over 30 times to run introductory workshops to the sport at dog training schools all over the country, including being hosted by a Crufts HTM judge.
We are lucky that we have a broad spectrum of people from other sports who love the activity here in the UK- please sign and get the KC to #approvediscdog
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