'Frisbee dogs' come To Tampa - WNCT

'Frisbee dogs' come To Tampa

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Most people are happy to just get the dog to "sit" or "stay." If you're one of those people then you'll be amazed at what the dogs, and owners, at the Ashley Whippet Invitation can do. The contest features frisbee-catching dogs from around the world. It's happening at Curtis Hixon Park this weekend.

Gary Duke runs the tournament. He also trains frisbee dogs. 

"The traditional sake of throwing a frisbee to a dog you know you throw it have them catch it and bring it back," Duke said. "We turn that up a notch in the freestyle portion where they're launching off the person's body, and catching frisbees 10 feet in the air."

Even though a lot of people still aren't familiar with the sport, it's been around for awhile. Frisbee dogs launched into the spotlight back in the 70s when a guy named Alex Stein took over the field during a Dodgers game with his dog, Ashley Whippet.

"He throws his dog over the fence, he starts chucking frisbees nine feet in the air and the dog starts catching these discs and the crowd starts to go crazy," Duke said.

Stein got arrested but also got his big break. After his field appearance, he went on national TV shows, promoting frisbee dogs. Dozens of Ashley Whippet Invitationals later, and people and their pets are still at it.

"Just to see a dog that can sit, stay, go get something and bring something back people are amazed," Duke said. "But to see what these dogs are capable of it's just incredible."

The opening ceremony is at 9 a.m. Saturday. The event is free of charge. Sunday is funday for everyone to come out and play with their dogs.

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