Hoopers: What’s It All About And Why Is It Suddenly So Popular?
Have you heard? There’s a new dog sport in town - and its rapidly growing in popularity.
Hoopers is a fun, low impact, free flowing sport that started in the US but now has a strong following here in the UK. It’s even part of the programme at Crufts now.
So what is Hoopers all about?
Think about the pace and excitement of agility - but with a gentler course that doesn’t have any jumps - and that’s hoopers. The courses are flowing and consist of a series of hoops, barrels on tunnels. There aren’t the tight turns and high-impact activities that you might see on an agility course.
Why is it so popular?
The main reason is the same as for agility, flyball, canicross, bikejor and any other canine sport - it’s FUN!
Lots of dog owners also like Hoopers because they feel it is safer and more suitable for some dogs, particularly older ones. The equipment is cheaper and easy to set up, making it more accessible for more people.
It’s also a great chance to use your Tug-E-Nuff toys as a reward, as part of positively practising for the sport.
Who is Hoopers suited to?
The joy of Hoopers is that it is truly well-suited to ALL dogs. The tunnels and hoops are typically 80cm across, making them large enough for big breeds and roomy for smaller ones.
Because the courses are ground level, they are suitable for young puppies and elderly or disabled dogs (who are otherwise fit and well), who can take part without any worries about damaging joints or bones.
What are the benefits of Hoopers?
To be successful at Hoopers, you must have a strong relationship with your dog. Instead of running around the course alongside your pup, as you would in agility, commands are given at more of a distance.
Practising for Hoopers is a great way to improve the all-important bond you share, which has knock on positive effects on your day-to-day life together. Using interactive training aids is a great way to positively reward your dogs efforts in practice and in the ring.
There is a growing community of UK-based Hooper enthusiasts that you can join, too, giving you a chance to make friends with like-minded, dog-mad people and for your dog to socialise.
It’s fantastic exercise for dogs and for humans, too - and it’s a great option if one or both of you doesn’t have the stamina for more intensive sports.
How can I get involved in Hoopers?
If you’d like to give Hoopers a try (and we think you definitely should!), find out more about the Hoopers community in your area and find a Hoopers instructor at Canine Hoopers UK.