The sport differs from the usual game in that the pet performs all actions solely on command. That is the difficulty of this sport – a man and his dog must have a complete understanding, which can be achieved only with long training. The speed at which the god performs the task is rather an additional requirement.
The way we see it now, Pitch&Go emerged in Japan in the late 20th century. It was born out of a strong culture in this country where most Japanese try to teach their pets at least the basic commands “Sit”, “Down” and so on. In this atmosphere, the idea of turning the traditional “game with the ball” into a fascinating and fun sport looks logical.
It has not become an official discipline – today it is rather a hobby-sport, although it has a detailed system of rules and awards, and regular competitions around the world. Nowadays there are also competitions in water pitch and go, in which a dog should not run, but swim and retrieve an object back.
Pitch and Go: General Rules
Pitch and Go competition is open to all breeds (including mixed-breeds), ages and sizes, except for aggressive and sick dogs. In competitions, the dogs are generally categorised according to size:
- Mini – whose height at withers is less than 35 cm;
- Midi – between 35 and 43 cm
- Maxi – 43 cm and over
The handler can be an adult or a child – the main requirement is the ability to control your pet.
- Equipment. Pitching is done with a variety of objects, mainly commercial dog toys, balls, solid fabric poles, etc. The “frisbee” disc is not used in pitch and go – it is a separate sport. During the competition 1 team can only use 1 item.
- Playground. It is a playing field with a length of 25 m and a width of 10-15 m. Every 5 meters it is divided by transverse strips into 5 zones, which correspond to a different number of points – from 5 to 25. Within some of these zones there may be circles where a hit from a ball gives more points. In front of the playground itself there is also a start zone, separated from the first zone by a start line.
- Task Performance. Each team has 90 seconds to perform. The timing starts when the object crosses the start line. During the throw, the handler and the dog must be in the start zone without crossing the line. At the master’s command, the dog must run to the area where the object lies, pick it up with his teeth and retrieve it, with at least one of his front paws crossing the start line. The dog must pick up the object either on the ground or during the bounce. If he picks it up in the air, no points will be scored.
- Scoring. Points for each throw are awarded according to the areas where the object was thrown. The total score is calculated by adding all the points received. If the teams have the same number of points, the team with the lowest score wins. If this score is also the same, a series of additional throws are assigned.
Pitch and Go is very popular because of its accessibility to practice at home.