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... And Decades of Flying Pups

Dogs love Frisbees. They chase them. They chew them. And some dogs even catch them for a living. First place at a dog Frisbee-catching competition can fetch a dog (and its master) $50,000 in prize money. That's a lot of chew toys.

No one knows when the first Frisbee competition for dogs was held. But the first national competition was at California State University, Fullerton, in 1974.

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"It's amazing to watch dogs leaping 10 feet, twisting in the air, and catching Frisbees with their teeth," says Peter Bloeme. He has not only won a World Frisbee Disk Championship by himself, he also won a world championship with his dog, Whirlin' Wizard.

"You don't need a pure breed to compete," Mr. Bloeme continues. "All you need is a dog that loves to run, jump, and play catch."

In a competition, contestants have from 90 seconds to 2 minutes to showcase their catching routines. The performances are judged on leaping ability, showmanship, execution, and degree of difficulty.

If you want to train your dog to catch a Frisbee, Bloeme suggests starting simply. Teach your dog to fetch a ball or a stick and work up to tossing or rolling the Frisbee. And, "Don't be discouraged if your dog gnaws up the Frisbee," he says.

* For information about dog Frisbee competitions, see the Skyhoundz Web site: Call 888-444-ALPO for a free Frisbee dog-training manual.

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