What Hoopers is and How, it can help your dog.
Hoopers is a low impact agility dog sport with no high-power jumping, no jarring sharp turns, and no large pieces of equipment to navigate.
It is about handler-dog connection, communication and confidence. Three traits everyone wants with their dog all developed in one fun activity.

‘Canine Hoopers World’ brought Hoopers to Perth, WA, Australia in 2019. Hoopers although originated in USA, had been sweeping the UK and Europe for almost 10 years. Hoopers is fun, we can’t say that enough. It is ideal for all aged dogs and guardians. Some dogs like to take off like a rocket and run (get your gym shoes ready and be prepared to sprint), some dogs like to canter (taking things in their stride and enjoying the moment) and some dogs want you to get out of their way (communication from the sidelines is all they need from you). Which team are you?

What do you do in Hoopers?
You and your dog learn a personalised way of communicating to manoeuvre around a course at your dog’s pace. It has all the fun and skillset of agility style games. Hoopers is focused on the ability of dog and handler to work off leash together. You need to be in sync with your dog, it’s a team sport.
Hoopers equipment is low cost, easy to DIY and set up, which sets it apart from agility. Hoopers equipment doesn’t take up much space and can be stored in a cupboard, garage or shed.

There are three pieces of equipment you use to make up a Hoopers course:

• the Hoops which dogs run under,
• Barrels, which dogs go around,
• and large straight Tunnels for dogs to run through.

Your dog learns to run through a sequence of hoops, around barrels to adjust their direction and through tunnels to complete courses. It sounds deceivingly simple so how much fun can it be?

Hoopers is generally taught with two different styles.
One where you, the handler, gets a head start and your dog catches up, like in agility, and you do your best to lead whilst running alongside your dog on the course. Or there is distance handling; where the handler’s physical movement is minimal and with clear communication and strong foundation work, your dog navigates through the course with calm verbal and visual directions.

Once the foundation skills are under your belt (e.g. see a hoop, run through it, see a barrel, navigate around it), watch as you both thrive in an engaging activity and see how movement alone can be such a positive motivator.

Which style should you choose?
Whichever way works best for the individual partnership, the aim is to navigate around and through equipment fluidly as a dog-handler team.

Some dogs find the pressure of you running that close too overbearing and don’t like it. Other dogs need you to stay close to them whilst guiding them throughout the course. Work with the style that suits both participants for the best success.

How do dogs take part in Hoopers?
Begin by finding a qualified instructor through Canine Hoopers World instructors as they have undergone training with Hoopers experts.
Most instructors run classes in pairs or one-on-one to get you succeeding quickly with a personalised training approach.

What is the benefit of Hoopers?
For the dogs… confidence, resilience, connection, body awareness, engagement, the significance is continual, and the growth is inspiring!
The fact that dogs are off leash, means your dog gets to make their own choices building on independence. We add in the mental challenge of understanding how to manoeuvre each piece of equipment and see the certainty and enjoyment that comes when you celebrate with them for mastering a course successfully as a united team.

For over excited dogs who have minimal perception of their personal space (or yours), Hoopers helps with proprioception, which means it helps dogs to be aware of where they’re placing their feet and bodies.
For dogs who are overthinkers, easily distracted, or disconnect if feeling uncertain or pressured, the reassurance from only having three types of equipment gives them confidence to know what to do.
There are also multiple benefits for you. A relationship with your dog at a distance increases trust, leading to increased amazement at how brilliant your dog is whilst interacting with a group of likeminded dog enthusiasts and remember “it’s heaps of fun!”

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What kind of dog is ideal for Hoopers?
Hoopers is for dogs of all ages (+6 months), all breeds, all sizes and pretty much most temperaments.
It’s perfect for high-vigour dogs as it channels their focus; and it’s a great energy burner too, both physically and mentally.
Because Hoopers is a ground-level course, gentle senior dogs can join in as it puts less strain on their joints, making it appropriate for teenage dogs, retired agility dogs and younger dogs. Hoopers courses are designed to be fluid and flowing so they don’t involve tight turns; massively reducing the impact and likelihood of injury for your dog.
We saw the potential for Hoopers to help dogs who are anxious, or show big emotions often described as ‘reactive’. Hoopers provides them a safe space to engage with their guardians in a stress-free environment.
We love teaching anxious, nervous, or reactive dogs who can’t participate in group classes. Often their owners tell us that they’ve always wanted to participate in a fun sport with their dogs and they’ve felt left out.

What is it about Hoopers that dogs enjoy?
We can only guess why dogs enjoy playing Hoopers. There are plenty of options to consider.
Is it the independence of being off leash?
Do they love the fact that they can accelerate, find the track, stay on course, zoom through tunnels, make turns around barrels… is that part of it? Or is just about running?
Is it that you are having fun with them? Learning something new together? Learning a new language? Is it your favourite time for just you and your dog?
Do they love the joyful feedback? Do they love that you don’t get upset when mistakes happen. You love them for trying, being involved and for tolerating your side of the learning journey. The development of Hoopers goes both ways… you grow together, you start to see and listen to each other, you reflect and work as a team in motion.

Can you practice Hoopers at home?
Once you’ve learned the foundations you can absolutely practice the skills at home. We encourage you to do so and add fun tricks into your daily walks. You strengthen your skills at home, from obedience skills such as ‘wait’, sending your dog around objects, right down to working on your warmup routine to ensure that you and your dog stay in Hoopers shape.
Can you run a course at home? That can be tricky. We perceive for many city dwellers we are often restricted with space limitations. However, if you have a large grassy secure space, go for it! Due to such common limitations, we think it is paramount to join a Hoopers training community and get amongst it!

What made us decide to be a Hoopers instructor in a country that hadn’t heard of it?
We had been watching Hoopers take the UK by storm. When we heard that Canine Hoopers World was coming to Australia in early 2019, We packed our bags, flew to Perth and completed the Canine Hoopers World Level One instructor’s course and recently again in late 2023 to become accredited Level Two instructor’s.

After our initial experience with Hoopers, we immediately realised what Hoopers could offer our urban dogs; we each purchased a set of Hoops that weekend, bought extra luggage space on the plane, and never looked back.
We are delighted that we offer an ongoing sense of support and continual development for our community beyond life skills courses, where our clients can grow. This remains priceless.
Success in Hoopers shows its weight in gold when we see understanding and improved teamwork. Our dogs are listening at speed, in the moment, potentially in a challenging situation… and yet trusting the guidance, making great decisions. That is worth more than words can describe.


What kind of comments do we regularly hear in class?

“My dog loves Hoopers so much! I think it’s the highlight of their week!”
“I love this. Thank you for providing this space for us”
“That was my fault, not my dogs“
“Can I run through that course again? I think I know where I went wrong”
“When is the next Hoopers course?“
“You can see that people love working with their dog and they get genuinely excited when they see what their dogs are capable of.” – Fellow trainer watching.

Where can people find out more?
Start your Hoopers journey at Canine Hoopers World website and Facebook page Canine Hoopers World.
What are the dimensions of the apparatus?
Tunnels 80cm diameter and 1 or 2m in length , Hoops, Barrels over 50cm diameter
Click here to enrol into classes now Hoopers: