Colie jumping for a orange frisbee with a beautiful blue sky int the background


Catch & Retrieve

This type of trick is actually the most common to be done with a disc and a dog. If you participate in the Alpo events, this will be known as “Mini distance” and most others will be called “Toss & Fetch” but regardless of the name used for the event ordinarily it will consist of being a timed event for the dog and the thrower. The points are garnered by the amount of successful catches the dog can make prior to running out of time. Each round ordinarily lasts one minute. The field in which this event is accomplished is rectangular, and there are lines marked to represent the thrower’s distance. The longer the throw, and subsequent catch by the dog, the higher the point value will be given. In this type of trick, as it were, ordinarily only one disc is utilized as the dog must return the disc to the thrower.

Interestingly enough at the National Capital Air Canines competitions, they are more concerned with the accuracy of both the thrower and the dog. Their field is marked with four differently sized circles. The goal of the thrower and dog team is to precisely have a dog make a catch inside that circle.

The National Capital Air Canines competitions have also created their own type of competition whereby both the dog and thrower must be located behind a start line prior to the disc’s release, but the point where the dog caught it is then marked. The participants ordinarily have two tries to accomplish this, and of course the team with the longest catch will win this event.

There is also an event called the Quadruped, which is also based on distance throws and catches. In this event each team is given three different chances and competition continues until all teams have had a chance to participate, with the remaining or winning team finally declared the winner.


Considered the most spectacular of all the events, this event is known as “Freeflight” in the Alpo events, and by other names depending on the different sponsors of the events. Because these freestyle events are usually accompanied by music, and they are also timed, the choreography between the dog and the thrower are what makes it stunningly impressive.

Within the description of this freestyle falls the vaulting that is truly amazing to see. In vaulting, the dog will leap off the thrower’s body in order to catch the flying disc that has been thrown. Some handlers combine vaulting off their legs, chest or their backs, with many dogs showing how well they can balance on the thrower’s back prior to the leap. In some instances, the dog will sit on their hindquarters and raise their front paws in the air, which always brings enthusiastic yells from the audience as well as thunderous applause.

In some instances, dogs have been known to not only make magnificent leaps, but also have even been known to perform half back flips, which the dog may combine with a half twist. Of course, all of this is done in time to the music, accompanied by oohs and aahs from the audience who wish to express their astonishment as well as exclaim in pleasure, surprise, satisfaction, and tremendous joy at watching such a great team perform.

All handlers utilize some of the tricks at different times in their routines. For instance there is the “butterfly.” The “butterfly” is accomplished by spinning the disc end over end so that the dog has to catch it not only as it comes to the dog, but as it is spinning end over end.

Another freestyle favorite is the weave, much as dogs like to weave in and out of poles, this means that the dog will weave in and out of the handler’s walking or even running legs. Generally this is good for tremendous applause, if the handler allows it to continue long enough for everyone to nudge the person next to them, grin and go back to the dog still weaving.

Many freestyle shows end with the pet jumping high into their owner’s arms. This allows the dog to know for sure that the game is over, and brings the pet closer to their owner of course. In addition, the audience eats that up. They love to see a 50 lb dog, or more, jumping into their owner’s arms for some loving and hugging.