Unlike agility, Hoopers has no jumps. Instead, ground-level hoops are used for the dog to run through. It has the same pace and excitement as agility, but the courses are flowing and don’t involve the tight turns of agility, making it safer for dogs. There are no jumps or high impact equipment: just hoops, barrels and tunnels – not only making injury less likely, but also making it cheaper and more accessible for pet dog owners to partake and practice at home.
Hoopers is a low-impact sport suitable for all age dogs, including puppies and older dogs. Retired ex-agility dogs can return to dog sports through Hoopers. It’s not just ability dogs that this sport caters for: unlike agility, where you run the course with your dog, the long-term goal of Hoopers is to distance-handle everything. This means the owner stands still as the dog is directed around the course, through hand signals and verbal cues. This makes it an exciting, fast-paced dog sport that is accessible to owners with restricted mobility.
Points are scored in competition by managing to direct the dog through the elements of the course from a ‘handling’ box, staying within zones or remaining in one dedicated spot whilst your dog completes the full course.