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  • thewayofthewag

Dogs Got Ball

Why do dogs play fetch? The easy answer is that it's fun! But we believe that it goes deeper than that. The activity is most likely inherited with hunting and retrieving skills passed down from previous generations. So now, we humans play fetch for enjoyment, and the dogs get hooked along with us.

The bonding experience is special between humans and dogs, and the puppies out there need an outlet to burn off their big battery.

Our family previously lived in the country near a river where we were surrounded by cornfields. It was a quiet area and I worked out of our house. My dog, Deeker would sit patiently by my feet under the desk until it was playtime. His fetch training was easy - give him a ball as a puppy.

We would go outside where Deeker would find anything for me to throw, including tree branches and any balls he could get his paws on. Heather, my wife and I are avid garage sale bargain hunters and we were lucky to find a hoard of balls during one of our outings. Baseballs were sacred and were only to be used by the kids, and Deeker would quickly chew up tennis balls, so softballs were a great alternative.

We lived busy lives and workers or neighbors would come over to chat, but Deeker always wanted attention. I threw the softball as far as I could into the cornfield and Deeker took chase. That would buy me at least 10 minutes. Deeker's powerful nose would hunt that ball, find it every time and bring it back, and would be eager to do it again.

Deeker was a Frisbee catcher too. There was a community soccer field across the river and after the soccer games, we would go play Frisbee. I would throw the Frisbee over 50 yards and he would speed off, catch it with ease, trot back, drop it at my feet and beg me to do it again. Deeker had unlimited energy.

Fast forward to Coolwag. 5 years ago, we opened our doors for Doggy Daycare and Hotel boarding and we started playing ball with all the dogs. Some are shy, some are laid back, but some are pure athletes like Deeker. A lot of these skills can be trained.

We play Frisbee with the dogs and they love it. I would call out plays and routes to the dogs and tell them where I was going to throw the frisbee. Go 20 yards and do a Dog Leg Left. Our Labs and Retrievers (we call them Receivers) were our best offensive players and the Herding dogs are naturally the best defensive players.

Then we took it a step further and created the DFL - Dog Football League. We dress up the dogs in red and blue uniforms, toss up a ball and the dogs compete to catch it. These dogs really go after it. Our dog Handlers dress up in referee uniforms and ensure the dogs do not lose their temper and they play by the rules (we made up the rules as we went along). If a dog catches the ball, it is a Reception. If a dog goes up and misses a catch, it is Incomplete. If a dog is running with the ball and drops it or another dog strips it, it is a Fumble. If a dog catches and crosses the line on the Astroturf, then it's a Touchdown.

At CoolWag, we are always looking for fun and exciting activities to enrich your dogs' time with us. Fetch, Frisbee, Football and now Diving Dogs and Agility.

In 2019, CoolWag added a Dog Dock Diving Sport to our facility. The sport is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and organized by North American Diving Dogs (NADD). With this activity, dogs learn to play Fetch by running for their toy off of an elevated dock and jumping into a 40-foot long pool. Distances and Heights are recorded for the competition and ribbons and awards are given out. Dogs travel around the country, enter competitions to qualify to go to the Nationals.

Currently, our new Agility yard is under construction. We have all the Agility equipment; Jumps, A-Frame, Dog Walk, Seesaw, Pause Tables. Tunnels, Weave Poles. Let’s the games begin…soon!

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