Dog act at Greeley Stampede provides home for rescued dogs with too much energy | MyWindsorNow.com

Dog act at Greeley Stampede provides home for rescued dogs with too much energy

Jason Keller
jkeller@greeleytribune.com

For the 30 or so spectators in the crowd, watching the Disc-Connected K9s leap six or seven feet into the air and catch Frisbees in their mouths was good fun. For Kyrsten Golding, 18, of Greeley, it was an inspiration.

The Disc-Connected K9s, a traveling duo of dog trainers, brought a crowd of all ages and interests to the Greeley Stampede each night during the 11-day festival, including inspiring futures veterinarians such as Golding, who hasn't missed a single show in Greeley.

"I just saw the dog stuff on the website and said, 'Oh, I have to go!'" she said this week from a show.

Spectators were privy to a free show, featuring Frisbee-catching dogs performing a variety of choreographed stunts and tricks set to music. And all 18 of the dogs — who travel the world and place in national competitions and work their tails off in shows — are rescue dogs, a fact that speaks to Golding.

"I love that they rescue them," Golding said. "We normally rescue all of our dogs, too."

So how do you go from rescue dog to world champion finalist? Just ask Lawrence Frederick, leader of the Disc-Connected K9s. His organization has been rescuing dogs since 1992, but Frederick has been training them to elite status for 49 years. At age 12, he began tossing Frisbees to his family dogs, but it wasn't until he went to college at the University of Miami he really developed an interest in dog training. "My roommate had a dog named Scruff, and the dog used to follow me everywhere because I'd throw a Frisbee for it. Once I got involved with Scruff, it became a lot different," he said.

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Frederick worked as the vice president of technology services for an international corporation until he retired in 2006. Now he trains the Frisbee-catching dogs full-time.

When selecting a dog, he looks for high-energy dogs to adopt, specifically those with a strong predatory drive. Training regimens are different for each dog.

"What you do is take the dog's interests, athleticism and what they like to do, and you build a routine around that," he said.

According to Frederick, many people get these high-intensity dogs and aren't able to keep up with them, so they're often relegated to shelters. He and the Disc-Connected K9s team seeks to give these dogs a safe and productive outlet for their natural stockpiles of energy.

"We look for dogs that are very hyperactive, dogs that people don't want in their home, that destroy things. Those are the dogs that we want," he said. "We're kind of giving them an outlet to take their personalities, their physical traits, and their prey drive, and channel it into something that's positive."

When a dog does get adopted by Fredrick's organization, it is housed on a 5-acre farm in St. Augustine, Fla., which is built specifically for the dogs.

"We have three major training paddocks. We have a gigantic pond and an indoor training facility. The dogs have free reign of the property," he said.

And when a dog gets too old to perform, the dog is retired and lives a carefree life on the farm, playing Frisbee and living out its twilight years, he said.

As for Frederick, he's far from retiring from the Disc-Connected K9s. He's living out his passions, traveling the country with a team of trainers and dogs. Training is his passion, he said.

For Golding and others in the crowd, they can only look on in awe as the dogs leap into the air, vault off of trainer's backs, and snatch Frisbees out of the warm, late-afternoon sunlight.

To see the show

The Disc-Connected K9 show will take place at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. today, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday at the Kids Korral at the Greeley Stampede in Island Grove Regional Park, 501 N. 14th Ave. On Sunday, the shows will take place at 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

About the dogs

To learn more about Disc-Connected K9, go to http://k9frisbee.com or http://www.facebook.com/K9Frisbee.

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