Our hoopers story

My name is Carrie and I’m a crazy dog lady. I grew up with collies, shepherds and toy poodles. I got Tizer my terrier followed by Chica chihuahua and Munch a rescue, and my journey to be a trainer began. Before becoming a dog trainer I was a horse groom, riding instructor, Cattery manager and worked at a dog groomers. I would have said I’m a pet dog trainer with a passion for tricks. I’ve tried rally, agility, tracking, bite work, scent work, real dog yoga and lots more. My 3 older dogs all tried several of these different disciplines and really enjoyed them. But none were the right fit for my youngest Minx.

Now let me tell you a little bit about Minx. I bred her, raised her and started her training ASAP. She was fabulous and so confident for a 4kg Chihuahua. She came everywhere with me to training classes, instructor courses, workshops etc. Then one day a group of us had our dogs out together and someone bought their new dog into the field. All the dogs were off lead doing dog stuff and the new dog decided the little dog was interesting, he was very full on she panicked and ran, he chased and the game started to not be a game. Physically she was fine but mentally we were both very upset. She decided training wasn’t safe anymore, new dogs weren’t to be trusted, off lead dogs were scary and so it happened. I had a ‘reactive dog’.

Because she found the world so stressful and to be honest could be very embarrassing at time, I left her at home when I went training. I would try the stuff with her when I got back but it wasn’t the same as having the instructor there. I became friends with another trainer and we started to walk together it took Minx nearly a year to be fully comfortable around her dogs.

That trainer was holding an introduction to Hoopers and I really wanted to take Minx but decided Munch was a better option. Well I made a bad choice. Munch got so excited she thought we were doing agility which makes her silly, she doesn’t listen and just wants to zoom.
Which isn’t at all embarrassing (it’s mortifying at times!) so my friend suggested I try Minx next time. We were paired up with a lady I knew, so wouldn’t feel self conscious and her lovely little poodle. I forgot to mention Minx is a bit breedest, she likes a few select breeds poodle, sheltie, chihuahua and dachshund and dislikes everything else.
Hoopers has taught us to work together. It’s helped her trust me to keep her safe. It’s taught her other dogs are ok because we have fun when they are around. In one year she went from the dog
I left at home to going to competitions and coming home with ribbons.

Not everyone wants to compete. Not everyone can compete, the environment maybe too stressful for your dog. Your dog may find new people a worry, or may find other dogs too much and that’s ok. You know your dog. But hoopers is more than training for competitions. It’s about spending time with your dog. Working on new skills that will improve your life together. Giving your dog a job. Nearly all breeds were created with a specific job in mind and the modern world has made these dogs unemployed. Hoopers allows your dog to work with you as a team, rather than going self employed.

If you are wondering whether to try hoopers, why not? The cost is low for equipment, and doesn’t take up loads of room. It’s low impact but burns energy. It strengthens your bond and gets your dog to listen to you. It will improve your dogs fitness and body condition. It will help your dog gain confidence in themselves and you. From Frenchies to wolfhounds any breed can join in. Most importantly it’s fun!

That ladies, gentlemen and of course dogs is my hoopers story, and why I have set up Canine hoopers world.
We worked through the exercises. Minx even had a sniff with her new buddy and we were hooked. I started taking her to classes regularly and we practiced stuff at home 3-4 times a week. I’d got my training mojo back with my tiny dog. Hooray. Let’s fast forward we started going to other places meeting other trainers that love hoopers. The more places we visited, the more fun we had in different environments, the more her confidence grew. I had my sassy little madam back rather than a worried stresshead. I’m still very protective over Minx and I’m mindful that we keep her as stress free as is possible, we stay away from new dogs and keep to the quiet areas rather than in the hustle and bustle. I also have a secret advantage. I can pick her up. At competition now the type surface we run on is more of a concern than the other dogs. Sand and rubber are not her favourite I’m not sure it’s not because it’s deep for little dogs to run, grass you can zoom.

There has also been a positive impact on her health. Not only is she fitter but all the gentle turns and running have increased her muscle. The vet was worried she may have a problem with her platella, which is common in small dogs. At her last visit the vet said there is no problem and the hoopers has really helped her physically. And I would definitely say mentally. Her confidence has grown and she’s so much happier. She’s less reactive in daily life and can be off lead in a group of familiar dogs without a care.

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