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Hoopers - The new dog game that's sweeping the country
What is hoopers?
Hoopers is a dog agility game that has become popular in America and has now made it's way over here to the UK. It's based on agility but instead of going over jumps the dog runs through specially designed hoops.
The North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC) offers titles in hoopers as one of their many different categories of agility. Unlike us they have several different categories in their agility organisation and they include things like tunnelers and weavers as well as regular jumping and agility classes.
The Hoopers class is a course as designed by the handler to demonstrate the dog’s ability to follow directional tests upon the direction of the handler. The game is catching on over here as a discipline that is separate to agility and many people see it as a fun way to exercise dogs that have retired or dogs that may be building up their fitness after injury. When you see the American dogs though they are far from elderly or infirm. One thing that may appeal to people is that you don't always have to run with your dog.
If you want to see the sort of thing that can be achieved in Hoopers have a look at this video on Youtube.
Some Hoopers trainers also incorporate tunnels and other agility equipment in their courses and a lot of people are saying the game is tremendous fun. What people are asking now is where can I buy the hoops? The answer is probably on ebay as everything goes onto ebay but Agility Bits started as a website for the thrifty and those who are seriously hard up.
Of course I had to have a go at making a hoop. Well you can't see something like that without giving it a whirl can you so here goes. I knew I had various bits of plumbing pipe and fittings lying around from other projects so I hunted through the sheds until I found some T joints and an elbow joint and some pipe.
The hoops that I saw for sale were 34 inches wide and 3 feet high.
The photo below shows the pieces I cut to make the long part of the base and the stabiliser on the right. The long piece across the bottom measured 34 inches when pushed into the pipe fittings. The smaller pieces are just for stabilisation and so the lengths aren't important.
The pipe is pushed together so that it holds firmly. If it moves easily then put a bit of sticky tape round the end of the pipe so that it's a tight fit in the joint.
On the other end of the base you'll need an elbow joint.
When the base is all put together it should look like this.
Now you need two pieces of pipe for the uprights about 18 or 19 inches long and a hula hoop. I bought a hula hoop from the local Market for £1.99 but you may be able to get them in a pound shop for, wait for it ......... £1. (People do go in the pound shop and ask, 'How much is this?' Anyway, I pushed the two pieces of pipe into the base and took the hula hoop apart.
The hula hoop just fits nicely into the uprights to make a hoop similar to the ones used by the NADAC.
Sasha had a go but was as suitably daft as
only Sasha can be.
As you can see Jilly goes through the hoop from the front when I use my left hand but from my right hand side and using my right hand she goes round the back of the hoop. I asked her why.
'Well it's like this. You send me in from your left and it's a left hand weave entry, send me in the other way and it's a right hand weave.'
I didn't tell her this was a different game and they're not weave poles. I put the hoop away quietly in the shed and made a cup of tea.
(I was right by the way. You can get the hoops from ebay but they're currently being sent over from the USA. I won't put a link on here as the shipping prices are just silly.)
Hoopers is rapidly growing in popularity in the UK. So much so that our dog club chairman, Mike Palmer, decided to make some and take them to our show. We put out a simple little course and for the duration of the show people were able to try out Hoopers to see if they liked it. It proved to be quite popular and so we decided that at a future show we may run a Hoopers competition. We'll need to get someone to judge it but hopefully that won't be too difficult.
After the show I brought some of the hoops home to look after and to play with. It saved Mike from having to store them. I added a leaf bag 'barrel' to go round and put the hoops out in the garden. Sasha turned her nose up as the grass was wet but Jilly had great fun.
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