What is Hoopers?

What is Hoopers?
Hoopers is a fun and low-impact dog sport that has been gaining popularity in the UK and worldwide. It's a great alternative to traditional agility, designed to be easier on dogs' joints while still providing mental and physical stimulation. Here’s a rundown of what Hoopers is all about.

The Basics of Hoopers

Hoopers involves a course made up of hoops, barrels and tunnels, which dogs must navigate in a specific order. Unlike traditional agility, there are no jumps or contact equipment like A-frames or seesaws. This makes Hoopers suitable for dogs of all sizes, ages and physical abilities, including those that might be less suited for the high-impact elements of standard agility.

How It Works

In a typical Hoopers course, dogs run through ground-level hoops, around barrels and through tunnels. The goal is to complete the course as quickly and accurately as possible. Handlers guide their dogs from a distance, using verbal cues and body language, which enhances the dog’s ability to follow instructions and improves their bond with the handler.

Benefits of Hoopers

  • Low Impact: Since there are no jumps, Hoopers is much easier on dogs' joints. This makes it ideal for older dogs, dogs with joint issues or breeds prone to such problems.
  • Mental Stimulation: Hoopers requires dogs to think and respond to cues quickly, providing excellent mental exercise.
  • Bond Building: The sport fosters a strong bond between dog and handler, as success relies heavily on clear communication and teamwork.

Who Can Participate?

One of the great things about Hoopers is its inclusivity. Dogs of all breeds, sizes and ages can participate. It’s particularly beneficial for:
  • Senior Dogs: Older dogs can stay active without the strain of jumping.
  • Puppies: Young dogs can learn to follow cues and navigate obstacles without the risk of injury.
  • Dogs with Mobility Issues: Dogs with joint problems or injuries can enjoy the sport without putting undue stress on their bodies.

Getting Started with Hoopers

To get started with Hoopers, you’ll need access to some basic equipment: hoops, barrels and tunnels. Many dog training clubs in the UK, including Pinkfox, now offer Hoopers classes. These classes are a great way to learn the sport under the guidance of experienced instructors. If you prefer to start at home, you can purchase equipment online and find plenty of resources and training videos to guide you.
Hoopers is a fantastic dog sport that combines fun, exercise, and mental stimulation in a low-impact format. It’s perfect for dogs of all ages and physical conditions, making it an inclusive and enjoyable activity for both dogs and their handlers.
Whether you’re looking to keep your senior dog active or introduce your puppy to agility sports, Hoopers offers a safe and engaging way to play and train together. Give it a try – your dog will love it!
We run four-week Hoopers introduction courses, check our Events page for further details.