Tuesday, August 3, 2010
By Julia Williams
It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Jeff Wright’s Flying Houndz, a team of six talented canine athletes who excel at what they do. On the surface, one might describe this as “performing dozens of different tricks with flying discs.” But what these dogs really do is amaze, thrill and delight audiences nationwide.
These extraordinary canines are powered by CANIDAE dog food, and they’re part of the company’s Sponsored Dog Program. CANIDAE accepts only the very best canine athletes for sponsorship, and the Flying Houndz are a perfect example of how premium dog food can contribute to athletic excellence.
Sadie, Sampson, Vegas, Ace, Tango and Turk leap, flip, vault, dance and spin. They perform high-flying acrobatic feats and catch flying discs with remarkable ease. The professionally trained canines perform before crowds of every size, from as small as a few hundred to as large as 25,000. Fairs and festivals, pet expos, sporting events and schools are just a few of the places the Flying Houndz have entertained spectators with their exciting show. Depending on the venue, their show lasts anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.
The newest member of the Flying Houndz pack is Gizmo, a 3 month old male Border Collie who Jeff says is “very smart and learning quickly.” Gizmo began playing with the Frisbees in his very first week with the family, so it seems certain he will be a great addition to the show when he makes his debut in 2011.
Like many pet owners, Jeff and Misty Wright consider their dogs to be an integral part of their family, their “canine kids” if you will. These dogs are not used solely for the purpose of entertainment. Above all, they are loved and appreciated for the unique beings they are and for what they bring to the family. The Wrights have adopted most of their dogs from shelters and rescue organizations, and are grateful to have each one in their family, regardless of what they can contribute to the show.
Some of the dogs, like Sadie who is considered the “star” of the show, utterly adore their time in the spotlight and can’t get enough of it. Others were rescued from sad situations such as being raised in a puppy mill or found as a frightened stray, and they’re still a little timid about performing. Jeff takes baby steps with these dogs and makes sure they only do what is comfortable for them at the time. Their well-being and health are always a top priority.
As responsible pet owners, the Wrights nurture their dogs emotionally, and rely on CANIDAE All Natural Dog Food to keep them healthy and fit. Because these dogs are serious athletes, Jeff has done a great deal of research to determine their nutritional needs. He believes it’s vital to learn as much as possible about the food he feeds his dogs to ensure they not only perform to the best of their ability in the shows, but live long and healthy lives as cherished members of the family.
“When competing and performing, my dogs are always at their best on CANIDAE. The choice of ingredients is superior to any on the market and is a perfect fit for the needs of my dogs. Believe me, we have tried many of the top dog foods and none have shown the results that CANIDAE has. My dogs not only maintain their energy throughout the day, but they are happy, have beautiful coats, and are gleaming with good nutrition inside and out.”
Jeff has been performing with his dogs for about four years, and it’s clear to me (and to the audience) that this is truly a labor of love. The focus of every show is to share the special bond he has with these amazing canine stars, while having lots of fun and entertaining all ages.
Jeff says he’s “loved dogs since I could walk,” and like many youth, he played with Frisbees. So naturally, he began throwing the flying discs just for fun with his first Border Collie Sadie. This led to his discovery of disc dog competitions. Jeff and Sadie entered one, and placed third at their very first event which was a world championship with top teams from around the world!
This competition also had a canine freestyle disc event. The incredible talent Jeff saw that day inspired him to go home and immediately start practicing some tricks with Sadie. And as the old saying goes, the rest is history.
Says Jeff, “Spending time with my dogs this way is so rewarding. Learning together and particularly watching my dogs grow and overcome new challenges in training is very inspirational.” He’s also pleased to be able to bring smiles to the faces of young and old alike. One touching memory also makes him smile. It was the day an elderly lady asked to have a picture taken with one of the dogs. She didn’t have email and didn’t even know how to use a computer, so she asked Jeff if he’d mail it to her for Christmas. Jeff was delighted to print out and mail the picture to such a special fan!
When pressed to share some of his dog training secrets, Jeff says that “the key to successful dogs that are happy with life is to first train the best classic trick of all—the dog kiss! All of my dogs are trained to give big kisses! There’s nothing like watching parents take a picture of their child with my dog giving them a big kiss after a show!”
Read more articles by Julia Williams