Category Archives: Dog Sports

AKC Coursing Ability Tests (CAT) are for any breed!

(as opposed to lure coursing tests that are for sighthound breeds only)

cat_blogBelow is a link to the AKC’s summary description of the CAT. This outlines the distance of the course based on dog size (300 yards or 600 yards), rules for dog age and what collar they may wear. To pass the course, the dog must complete the course:

  • Uninterrupted
  • With enthusiasm
  • In under 2 minutes for 600 yards or under 1.5 minutes for 300 yards

To earn their first title, the dog must earn a minimum of three course passes. There are various titles beyond that ranging ten course passes and up.

Here is the link to search for local clubs hosting CATs

Come course at Courteous Canine’s 200 yard course to practice for these events! Our course meets the safety recommendations of the AKC that there be no turns more acute than 90-degress for non-sighthound breeds.

Happy Lure Coursing the Staff of Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa


Homemade Agility

By Brenna Fender

Power-IPOC-6443Before you could buy agility equipment online, and even before plans for making agility equipment became available, people practiced agility for fun in their backyards, and you can too! As long as you keep safety in mind, you can keep your dog active, help him get in shape, challenge his mind, have fun, and do a little training all at home without spending much, if any, money.

How can you do it?

Jumps are the easiest pieces of equipment to make, and that’s great because you can set up several challenging sequences with just a few of them. For fun and fitness, backyard jumps can be kept low so that they are easy to build and safe for your pet.

In order to make a jump, you just need a “bar” – the thing your dog will jump over, and “standards” – the things the bar rests on. The most important thing is that your jumps be displaceable. That means that the bar needs to be easily knocked down. If your dog is large, a broomstick or other similar item might work, but for small dogs, that may be too heavy to move if bumped. You might need to purchase or borrow a few lightweight PVC pipes to use as jump bars.

Standards can be anything that you can sit the bar on in a way that it can be easily knocked off. For small dogs, or for very low jumps for big dogs, soda cans on their sides and dented in a bit can work. Paint cans, large buckets, flower pots, and similar items can make great jump standards. Chairs work too, but they can be too high and parts of the chair may keep the bar from displacing. If you use chairs, you can use two bars, propping one end of the bar on one chair and the other on the ground. Do the same with the other side to form an X. This will allow your dog to jump lower and to knock the bars down if necessary.

Other kinds of jumps can be made out of a stack of cardboard boxes. Those kinds of jumps can be made with a little “width” to them to simulate double jumps or wall jumps.

Hula hoops and irrigation piping fixed into a circle make nice “tires” to jump through. A ladder on the ground makes a great training obstacle to teach dogs to understand where their hind feet are. A large cardboard box with the ends open can make a beginner tunnel. Encourage your dog to push through a towel or sheet to simulate a chute. Use your bed or sofa to practice sending to the table, and to practice downs and sits on the table. Use cones, or even trees, to send your dog around.

Test out your homemade equipment carefully to make sure that your dog will be safe when using it. And then have fun doing some homemade agility!

New Dock Diving Opportunities in Florida

N-America-Diving-Dogs_Final-logos-2014A-smallThe American Kennel Club (AKC) is now recognizing dock diving titles and Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa is giving Floridian dog owners their first in-state opportunities to compete! Dogs attending North America Diving Dogs (NADD) sanctioned events can earn titles that owners can then apply to have recorded on their dogs’ AKC records. That means that NADD titles can become part of a dog’s AKC pedigree and appear on other AKC documents.

Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa is currently the only NADD sanctioned facility in the state of Florida and we are hosting our first competition October 11-12, 2014! Martin Schlossnagel will be judging the event, which will offer competitors the chance to earn a title in one weekend. Angelica Steinker and Jan, both of Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa, are in training to become judges as well.
If your dog isn’t ready to compete, consider coming out to watch this historic event!

Tampa Dog Trainer Brenna Fender: What is UpDog?

4 Way Play Frizgility 10361263_1512780378945583_2448123466868105570_nTampa Dog Trainer Brenna Fender: What’s UpDog?

UpDog is a brand new dog sport organization created by Kat and Jack Fahle, Andrea and Jason Rigler, and Babz Mahony. These dedicated disc doggers wanted to expand their favorite sport to include a wider variety of dogs – and people – than seen at typical disc dog events. Traditionally, while many people enjoy games with discs in their yards, only athletic dogs of certain body types and handlers with great disc throwing distance and skills are very successful at disc dog competitions. UpDog organizers wanted to change that. “We feel that everyone should be able to participate in the game of disc. It’s one of the most fundamental things people do with their dog – play fetch. As such, we’ve created games that allow all levels of people and dogs to play. We’ve helped make the sport more beginner friendly by creating games that incorporate short tosses, by allowing the use of soft discs, rollers [discs that are rolled on their sides rather than thrown in the air], and, in many games – multiple discs,” says Kat Fahle. UpDog’s website says, “UpDog is dedicated to expanding the awareness and participation of people and dogs in athletic endeavors. We want more people and more dogs having fun, playing together. So we designed some fun games built around the opportunity for every dog and human to work towards their own personal bests. You will have fun (Play), you will earn achievements (Achieve), and you and your dog will learn and grow (Expand).”

UpDog offers a variety of games that incorporate elements of agility and flying disc. But extensive training in either sport is not required. If your dog can catch a thrown or rolled disc and/or can do agility jumps and tunnels, you can have a great time at UpDog events. The games offered through this venue are fun in and of themselves, but they also provide a stepping stone to other dog sports. Fahle says, “Not only is it easier to get started in disc via UpDog, the other great thing is that as you play our games you are building foundation skills needed to play Freestyle should the day come you want to try that out. So you and your dog are learning while playing!”

Everything about UpDog is “beginner friendly,” as Fahle says. “If your dog is at the point in his training where he will only return a disc if you have another disc, we have some games that allow multiple discs. Say you can’t throw more than six feet; we have games where short tosses are all that are needed and then once you build your skill set there are more games and more levels to explore. We also allow you to roll the disc, which may allow for a new person to get more distance at first while they learn better throwing mechanics.  For dogs not yet used to hard discs; we allow soft discs!  Say you have a physical limitation that doesn’t allow you to ever throw farther than 6-10 feet; you can stay in level 1 for as long as you need. Simply because you earn enough Ups [qualifications] to move to level 2 doesn’t mean you have to move to level 2.  Conversely, the games and levels offer challenges for even the most skilled disc dog teams as well.  In UpDog, there is something for everyone at every level of play,” says Fahle.

Unlike most disc events, you don’t have to place in your class to “win.” Fahle says, “We’ve built in a system of achievements and UPs so that every person who earns even just one point while playing is rewarded. Each game has achievements that can be earned. Starting this fall, when a team joins UpDog, their achievements will show on their digital profile, which can be shared via social media, linked to on websites, et cetera. Then, as they accumulate achievements, those count towards UPs. These are physical rewards somewhat like dog tags that participants can earn and collect. The earning of UPs also allows teams to move up from one level to the next somewhat like titles in agility.”

UpDog has been very well received in the disc dog community, and it is beginning to make waves among dog sport enthusiasts of all kinds. Even though the first UpDog classes were offered just this spring, the upcoming UpDog event, planned for August 9th in Plant City, filled up all available competition spots in just 13 hours (spectators are welcome). The UpDog team traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan, recently to present the sport at the United Kennel Club’s national event, the Premier, and it was very well received. The fall will bring UpDog competitions to Illinois, New Hampshire, and Canada. Pretty great for a brand new organization born right here in central Florida!

For more information on UpDog, visit their website at or find them on facebook at

Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa offers dog training, puppy training, working with aggressive dogs and rehabilitating fearful and shy dogs.  In addition we offer cat training, agility, pushball, Fun Scent Games, disc dog sports and dock jumping. Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa is a full service dog school that offers doggie day care, pet sitting, group classes and boarding!