About the Discs
- What makes a disc “dog friendly”?
- Where are Hero Discs made?
- What are the differences between all the different types of Hero Discs?
- I am new to disc doggin’, where can I find information on what discs to throw for my skill level?
- What are “blems” and why are they cheaper? Are they the same discs?
- What do all the different hot stamps mean?
- With all these “specialized” discs, is there any one standard disc?
- Is there a disc made for my young dog? For my old dog?
- What competitions/ organizations are Hero Discs allowed in?
- Does Hero Disc USA put on any Disc Dog competitions?
- What Hero Disc is recommended for children to throw?
- Are any Hero Discs NOT allowed at any competitions?
- What are the differences between a Super Swirl, Super Star and Super Hero?
- What are the basics for throwing a Hero Disc?
- What do hyzer and anhyzer mean?
- Where can I find disc dog competitions in my area?
- Where can I learn about different throwing techniques?
- What is “freestyle” and “mini-distance”?
- How do I increase my throwing distance?
- Why do my discs fall off to the right when I throw them?
- Are there any discs better suited for windy conditions?
- My dog is very hard on discs, what do you recommend?
- Sometimes my dog's tongue bleeds while playing with the disc. Is this bad? What can I do to prevent it?
- When my discs get puncture holes in them, is there any way to fix these?
- How do I become an Hero Disc retailer/distributor?
- How can I order custom discs for my business, club or tournament?
- What type of tournament sponsorship does Hero Disc USA offer?
Disc Dog Competitions
The special plastic formula used by Hero Disc USA is a soft, malleable compound that will puncture, rather than splinter. The $0.99 discs you see for sale at big box stores are made out of a very stiff plastic that can shatter under the sheer force of a dog’s bite, resulting in plastic “splinters” which can potentially cause harm to a dog’s mouth and gums.
Hero Discs are proudly made in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. USA.
Hero Discs range in durability, weight glide and speed. We are putting together a disc flight chart to easily explain all discs at glance. Check back soon!
The “easiest” Hero disc to throw is the Hero Air and Sonic Xtra 215 These are great disc for beginners, and are used by pros as well. For distance throwing, the Hero Xtra is a great, durable and forgiving disc that will help make any thrower look good!!
BLEMS are discs that just don't meet our rigid standards for retail sale. Whether it's a small cosmetic flaw or a hot stamp misprint, these discs fly the same and are from the exact same mold. BLEMS are a great value and are recommended for practice sessions.
Unique hot stamps are a way to commemorate a special competition, or occasion, and are also a fun way to highlight your dog or team. Many clubs around the world also have special hot stamps they use on bulk order club discs which club members then buy directly from their local club. Hot stamps make discs completely unique and “special” to each person, and many discs have become highly collectable due to having a certain hot stamp on them, whether it was a limited run, or from a prestigious event, like the Ashley Whippet World Championships.
There is not a “standard” disc per se, but the Hero Air is a great all purpose disc for both the beginner and the experienced pro. The Hero Air is the perfect combination of float for huge distance throws, predictability for sick freestyle moves, and stability for all around performance. As you progress in the sport, you will find different models of Hero discs more suited for specific conditions, but a lot of pros use Hero Airs.
While Hero discs serve many purposes and crossover well, a very young, or small dog, can be started on the Hero Pup 120, which is a smaller versions of the Hero Air. The Pup 120 disc is great for young dogs because while it is easier for the dog to handle, this will also help get the dog used to the Hero plastic they will be enjoying for many years to come!! A great transition disc, from the Pup to the Air, is the Hero Sonic Xtra 215, which is sized between the Pup and the Air. Perfect for smaller medium sized dogs, and for competitors with smaller hands as they afford the thrower more control. For older dogs, a competitor may want to use a disc with a softer blend of plastic as the dog’s mouth and teeth get more sensitive. The newest version of the Hero , the Super Aero would be a great choice.
While every organization has its own rules, Hero Airs and Hero Xtras are allowed in every competition in the United States. The AWI, UFO, USDDN, IDDHA, FDDO, Skyhoundz, and the Quadruped all allow these discs at their competitions. The Quadruped ONLY allows these two Hero discs. The other mentioned organizations* currently allow all other Hero discs except for the Sonic and the Pup, but we are working diligently on getting the Sonic approved for all organizations.
*The AWI and Skyhoundz allow ALL Hero discs at their events.
Note: these guidelines are for large scale, National and International competitions. Smaller, local competitions leave the allowed discs up to the event organizer, so if you want to use a Hero Sonic or Pup, in a UFO Local for example, check with the event host.
For the last few years, Hero Disc has been putting on the Ashley Whippet World Championship, and the qualifiers for this Final event. Hero Disc USA looks forward to a great future with the AWI and bringing more and more world class competitions to parks near you!!
Any Hero disc is a great disc for children to throw, but with their smaller hands, the Hero Sonic is a perfect choice for children to gain experience with, and because the Sonic has flight characteristics very similar to the Hero Air and the Hero Xtra, the transition to the bigger disc is seamless.
Please see two questions above, but the Quadruped does not allow Hero Sonics, Super Sonics, Super Stars, Super Swirls and Super Heros. And at this time, UFO Majors do not allow Sonics and Super Sonics.
The basic differences are weight and durability. The Super Swirl and Super Star are the same disc, aside from cosmetic changes, and the new bottom dyed Super Swirls have patterns on the bottom of the disc. With feedback from many competitors who draw on the bottom of their discs to help the dog zero in on it in flight, Hero has started testing a bottom dye disc. Weighing in at about 130 grams, the Super Swirls and Super Stars are a bit softer than the Super Hero and very close in durability and puncture resistance.
The Super Hero is the flagship disc for durability, puncture resistance and eye catching colors. Weighing in at approximately 136 grams, this disc is the strongest one we make and is guaranteed to allow more playing time with your furry teammate. If you have a dog who is tough on discs, this is the disc for you!!
Grip it and rip it!! Hero discs are made to go long. The best release for uber distance with a Hero Disc is to release the disc with about 45 degrees of Hyzer (see paragraph below for definition of Hyzer). For shorter distances, in still conditions, a Hero Disc can be released parallel to the ground and will maintain the flight path. When you get into the heavier Hero discs, the Swirls and Super Hero lines, you may find that you need more, or less Hyzer. Experiment to find the release that works best for you; and never hesitate to ask any member of Team Hero for throwing tips and tricks. We are happy to share the knowledge that we have learned from others!!
Hyzer is the angle that you release the disc at. As your arm is coming forward, you want to release the disc at a 45 degree angle (angled downward) to the ground, this allows the disc to level out in flight for a longer throw and it allows the thrower to get more power into the throw for nice, long graceful throws.
Anhyzer is the exact opposite where the disc is released up high, above your shoulder, at about a 135 degree angle to the ground. Anyyzer is more suited to disc golf sports, where the thrower may need to get around obstacles. The FDDO series is currently the only disc dog event with obstacles.
Try a web search for your local area. Also check out the Hero Club Link for information. Other helpful links: ufoworldcup.org , ashleywhippet.info. All of these sites contain links to competitions and clubs, and chances are, there is a club right in your hometown already running competitions!!
Ask any member of Team Hero when you see us at competitions. The internet also contains a wealth of information on throwing tips and tricks. YouTube has numerous disc dog videos, and if you see someone at the park playing disc with their dogs, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. We were all new to this at one point, and everyone one of us had someone giving us pointers along the way. One of the great things about our sport is the willingness of the top pros to give advice and guidance to anyone wanting to experience the joys of throwing a disc for your dog.
Freestyle is a choreographed routine, set to music where the handler and the dog work together as a team, with various throws, tricks, vaults and anything else the team can dream up to do. Teams competing in freestyle are judged on numerous criteria including creativity, the skill of the dog, the skill of the handler, etc.
Mini-distance, also called toss & catch, or distance/ accuracy: This is a timed event where it is the handler, the dog and one disc. The object usually is to make as many catches, as far down the field as possible, with the person throwing the longest and getting the most throws usually winning. The field is usually no more than 50 yards long, with scoring zones approximately at the 10, 20, 30 and 40 yard lines.
Practice, practice, practice. There are some who say weight training will pay dividends, but the most proven ways to improve your distance is “timing, technique and release”, as Mark Jennings says. When the entire symmetry comes together, you will get a hold of that one throw that you know is just going to GO.
That being said, as in any sport, speed = distance. NOT power = distance as commonly thought. With a golf ball, it isn’t if you crush the ball. It is the speed of the club head. So concentrate on a faster arm swing through the motion of the throw. Not trying to throw it hard, but trying to whip your arm around fast.
The design used for canine discs is aerodynamically imperfect. The natural flight pattern of the disc, when thrown parallel to the ground, is for the disc to taper off to the right when thrown with high arm speed. (The disc will taper off to the left if thrown left-handed.) This takes a bit of distance (25+) yards to see. For this reason, when throwing for distance (30 yards +) it is advisable to put hyzer on the disc during your release.
Depending on your style of throw, each Hero disc can be differently suited to your needs. Experiment with our entire line to find what works best for you in which conditions. In 2008, in Houston, TX, multi-time World Champions Maggie and Matt DiAno used a Hero Super Swirl in a heavy cross wind to win the USDDN Super Pro Toss & Fetch division qualifier, and later that year went on to win the USDDN Super Pro International Championships using Hero discs!! DiAno swears by the Super Swirl in conditions like that. “Thrown level, it is the most stable disc, in a nasty crosswind, I have ever used”, says DiAno.
A slightly heavier duty disc, without incurring any extra weight, is the Hero Xtra. If your dog is an exceptionally heavy chomper, the Super Star and Super Swirls are even more durable. Now if your dog mangles a disc like a spoon in a garbage disposal, try our absolute most durable disc, the Super Hero. This is one incredibly durable and sturdy disc, while maintaining the strict standards we have for dog safety, first and foremost.
Sometimes my dog's tongue bleeds while playing with the disc. Is this bad? What can I do to prevent it?
There is not a special disc which will prevent this, make sure your dog has plenty of rest and water while practicing. Bloody tongues are very common and USUALLY not a serious problem. With responsible training and paying attention to your dog’s condition, you stand the best chance to prevent this. When your dogs get tired and hot, they have to expel their heat through their mouths and this causes panting and your dog’s tongue to enlarge. Diligent attention, plenty of breaks to cool down, and using quality discs are the keys to preventing this.
Follow the instructions found in the Disc Repair Tips.
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Hero Disc USA has started a fundraising program called HFR (Hero Fund-Raising).