Updated: Sep 11, 2019
A focus on fun for everyone with their pups and a frisbee…
UpDog Challenge opens the Frisbee Dog doors to all players
The story goes that it all started in 1972 when a young man named Alex Stein crashed a Dodgers game with his dog, Ashley Whippet and though arrested for trespass, had enough time with Ashley and his Frisbee to excite the crowd and be seen on the national broadcast of the game. This has cemented Ashley Whippet into the legend of the game.
The reality is, as long as there have been Discs and dogs, they have gone together. Over the decades since, several leagues have evolved around the USA and Internationally. The contests usually have been one of - or a combination of - distance, timed and “Freestyle” (More on this below) elements. UpDog Challenge is one of the newer leagues and for many, the most creative.
What is UpDog Challenge?
It is true that Frisbee (Called Disc for trademark reasons) Dog Leagues have been around for decades, but some believe the focus on disc skill and rigid points system to advance is too restrictive for the wider community of people who like to throw Frisbee's with their own pup.
UpDog Challenge started as an idea between some friends one day. Kat and Jack Faye, Bryan Batchelder, Andrea and Jason Rigler, and Babz Mahoney all had different motivations to add a new league in 2014. By this time there were others in the US and around the world that have been established for decades. They still felt something was missing, and all agreed to do something about that.
“We want more people to play with there dogs, be active and social together for their dogs” – Jack Fahl
"Babz" StoryBarbara "Babz" Mahoney is a frequently seen trainer, handler and competitor around Florida dog competitions, and one of the UpDog Challenge founders. While living in Atlanta, Georgia with her Poodle Joleen she joined in local Disc Dog events, but with a broken clavicle, was frustrated by the athleticism needed for the traditional contests. Her impression became the contests lacked imagination and flexibility for people with disabilities.
"Babz" and the other founders created a new league that aimed to tackle the short comings they saw and the result is a clear focus on opening the gates to as large a field of dogs and players as possible.
Up Up UpDog
Today the UpDog Challenge has its HQ Dade City with 2nd in office in Eureka MO
Events are both National and International aims being over 52 events annually and Over 10,000 members, but first and foremost is the drive to expand the number of folks of all walks of life and ability to come enjoy the games with them.
UpDog is dedicated to expanding the awareness and participation of people and dogs in athletic endeavors. – UpDog Challenge
Bring on the Games!
Imagination and cheeky word play are hallmarks of the games available. Far Out, Four Way Play, Freestyle, Frizgility, FunKey, Seven Up, Spaced Out, Throw N Go, Time Warp go from variants of more common distance games, to clever field and hybrids that include elements of both Disc and Agility.
The pinnacle for those teams who want to push the edge is Freestyle. This is one of the most dynamic games and not significantly different to other leagues in most ways accept that the tiered achievement system of UpDog Challenge allows players to progress in skills and aptitude to take on the complex dance of dog and human that is required for Freestyle.
To encourage and expand opportunities for all the Bad Azz Disc Dogs and their humans, UpDog Challenge includes many categories that include (not restricted to) Size of Dogs, and level of player in “Achievements”.
The “Achievements” are the leagues unique way to see all participants can see reward and sense of advancements through the wide variety of games. You do not need to participate in all games, and in fact, don’t even need to be that great to feel a sense of satisfaction and rewards. There is nothing that serious in UpDog Challenge. It’s all about having fun with your dog.
You will have fun (Play), you will earn achievements (Achieve), and you and your dog will learn and grow. (Expand) - UpDog Challenge
Is it safe?Probably the greatest stigma of Disc Dog among many people, is the question of safety. With the dogs often pushed to extremes in games like Freestyle. This is a reasonable concern and one that all the Disc Dog organizations have faced. Currently the common restrictions include age requirements for dogs to compete in various games. This is to allow for the dog’s full development physically and avoid permanent injury. Additionally, there is a very strong emphasis on the dog’s health and athletic training to limit any risk of injury. As with any athletes, sprains and bumps along the way can not be totally prevented, but UpDog Challenge is serious about ensuring that your pups’ chance of any harm is minimized. - The Right “Discs”! UpDog Challenge is very flexible with the discs allowed with one caveat. They must be approved for use with dogs. An important (and common) mistake is using potentially dangerous discs with your dog.
Many store-bought discs are too brittle or hard and can splinter and crack causing injury. Bad Azz Dogz STRONGLY encourage you to do your research to ensure your own pup stays safe while playing.
Expanding and Accepting
In today’s fast evolving of faster communication and information through the internet, we see many new and traditional dog sports starting to expand and merge into larger combined communities. Boundaries and “Turf Wars” are dissolving.
Dog Shows now often include a mixture of traditional Conformation or Agility along with Dock Diving and Disc Dog. In Florida this year, that Disc Dog League has been UpDog Challenge in most (If not all) larger events. These events are often called “Clusters” now. At the recent Treasure Coast Pirate Cluster we saw Agility, Barn Hunt, Lure Coursing, Dock Diving and UpDog Challenge all combined. Different leagues with one goal. To bring together the largest groups from around the country to participate and support the dog sports community. These increasingly popular events can draw sizeable spectator audiences and newcomers into the games.
“UpDog Challenge Teams aim to be… Supportive, fun loving and bonded with their dogs” – Jack Fahl
Tara and Chesney We first saw Tara and Chesney while covering an UpDog combined Dock and Disc Dog event in Lutz, Florida. This pint sized little girl and her mom headed out on to the field in the early Florida Sun, and then something unexpected happened. This little girl can really sling that disc. Tara told us that Chesney (now 4 years old) has been playing Disc Dog games since she was two. TWO!? They love UpDog Challenge for the variety of choices and rewards every level provide them with their pups and clearly the bond between mom, daughter and pups is both clear and very inspiring to all who meet them.
Mother and Son team with their pups Malachi, Merlin and newcomer Watson make up Team Mischief. Another great active dog family of Linda, Jess and Landon. The Florida family are regulars around the state at several Dock Diving and Disc Dog events and created Team Mischief. All UpDog Challenge teams get their own team page on the official site and Team Mischief goes all out with social media pages too on Facebook and Instagram for their friends and fans to keep up with their adventures.
Getting Started- Step one is pretty easy. Get a safe disc, go outside with your dog and start playing. - Step two – Get in touch with a local club or just come to one of the many Disc Dog events that continue to increase around the state. * Can’t Find One? Make sure to Like Bad Azz Dogz on Facebook for alerts from most comprehensive dog events calendar in the state.
Central Florida Disc Dog Club (CFDDC)
With UpDog Challenge based in Central Florida, it is no surprise to find the Central Florida Disc Dog Club is a major presence at many events. This is probably Florida’s oldest Disc Dog Club and current Director Gary Duke leads the events with both championship skills and a great sense of humor that keeps everyone laughing. Information
Jax Disc Dog League A new club for the N.E. Florida, but led by Florida Disc Dog icons, Colleen and Bob Heygi. The Heygi’s have been foundations of the Florida Disc Dog community for a very long time and welcome newcomers like family.
The UpDog Challenge is likely the fastest growing Dog Sports league anywhere, and largely because of their core commitments to making their games as welcoming to a four-year-old as to a forty-year-old. If you want a laid back and fun community that quickly makes you feel part of the family, you can’t go wrong. Additionally, UpDog Challenge is one of the many organizations showing support and providing feedback on Bad Azz Dogz development of a Disabled Vet and Dog Sports league and supporters of our core mission of connecting all dogs with loving and active homes for life.
Looking for events?
Come Like our Page on Facebook for constant updates from our C. Central Florida Dog Event calendar. Get more news, updates and Bad Azz Dogz... Facebook:
UpDog Challenge https://updogchallenge.com/ UpDog Challenge Facebook Group
Central Florida Disc Dog Club (CFDDC) On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cfddc/
Jax Disc Dog League On Facebook
For the latest events (or to add yours to our calendar) Follow us on FaceBook and watch our @Bad Azz Dogz event page.
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