Superior seminars will introduce local dog owners to sport called disc dog

May 7—SUPERIOR — Dog owners seeking to add some high-flying fun to their canine interactions can sample disc dog, a sport that involves flying discs and furry friends, during a weekend seminar in Superior.

Jeff Johnson and Cathy Whitney with the Minnesota Disc Dog Club will lead four different classes — two beginner classes for dogs who have little to no experience with Frisbees and two advanced classes for dogs who are obsessed with flying discs — at the fenced-in soccer field on the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12.

Beginner classes will take place from 10 a.m. to noon; advanced classes will be held from 1-3 p.m. The cost for the class is $20.

Disc dog has been part of the canine culture since the 1970s, according to the American Kennel Club, but the club began recognizing UpDog Challenge competitions as a sport in 2019.

"We do competitions, yeah, but it's mostly for fun," Johnson said.

He and Whitney have three disc dog athletes — 9-year-old Ziggy, a border collie-cattle dog mix; Brick, 6, a McNab; and Chole, a 1-year-old cattle dog. Whitney said she's seen papillons, pit bull breeds, German shepherds, poodles, whippets and other breeds compete.

"If they like to play with toys, they can be good candidates for learning how to play Frisbee. You just kind of transfer that toy drive to the disc," she said.

The couple, who live in Plymouth, Minnesota, were introduced to the sport by a friend from work. They went to watch a competition and started teaching their own dogs at home. Ziggy, Brick and Chloe are their third generation of canine athletes. They are also part of the Minnesota Disc Dog Club, which was established in 2005.

"We organize play dates that are just informal gatherings ... just an afternoon or something that kind of introduces your dogs to disc," Johnson said.

Working together with Eve Graves of the Head of the Lakes Kennel Club, they've developed a more formal curriculum for the weekend sessions in Superior.

"It's a great way to build a bond with your dog," Johnson said.

They encouraged dog owners to give it a try.

"It can be a little nerve-wracking to go try out a new sport and you're not sure what's gonna happen," Whitney said, but it's fun. "People are not judgmental at all, as long as you're out there doing your best and having fun and treating your dog well."

She's seen dogs who start out running all over the place not listening to anyone.

"And then a few weeks later ... they're on it. They want to catch that disc, and they're listening and they're having a great time. So it's fun to see that evolution and it can happen pretty quickly," Whitney said.

Contact Graves, 218-355-0960 or

for more information on the disc dog sessions in Superior. For more information on the sport, visit the

Minnesota Disc Dog Club website


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