"Go East, Young Dog"
A long time ago (last year) my young dog Cooper would play "one way" soccer with me, always trying to move any object east as I would kick it west in the back yard. I couldn't get him to play the other direction. This eventually led to the dog bringing me a tennis ball while I was stationary and could stay in the shade, kind of in the corner of the patio, so I thought of "hand ball" while playing, watching him try to block in every way and body part imaginable, hence the name "paw ball". So "cool" is an underlying reason for the birth of this sport and the evolutionary development of its rules and practices. It also helps to have an aggressively athletic active dog.
- One tennis ball
- One human
- One dog
- Designated concrete kick zone
- Rest of the back yard, or equivalent
- Barriers to make it more challenging for the dog – i.e. lawn furniture, gnomes (not real – plastico or ceramic), flamingoes (not real - plastico), garden hose, etc
- Swimming pool to make it more challenging for the human.
- Lawn chair – yes, you can even play while seated.
Human tries to kick the ball in one general direction from a mutually defined kicking zone, and the dog tries to prevent this activity. Care should be taken by the human to avoid kicking the ball into the dog. IF the dog chooses to use his body to block, that's the crazy dog's business, no penalty points against the human. Yes, there are points.
The game is lopsided in its actions of offense and defense: The human (offense) kicks the ball, while the dog (defense) tries to stop & limit the distance of travel, and return the ball as quickly as possible to the kicking zone. Each kick of the ball can result in zero to many points for the dog and/or the human.
Points for the Human:
- Kicking the ball into the swimming pool. Number of points depends on the size and distance of the pool from the kicking zone.
- If dog looses track of ball and human has to find it in the grass or barriers
- If ball makes it all the way to the farthest boundary of the playing field
- Moving the ball in such a minimal manner so that it rolls under the dog without him knowing it and he starts looking for the ball and is surprised to find it under him. There needs to be a clearly defined sense of dog surprise, i.e. head jerk or he says the canine equivalent of "That was awesome, dude!".
- If dog tries to catch ball more than twice while it is in motion during one kick.
- If dog outruns the ball by more than its body length
- If the ball changes directions (it has to bounce off a solid surface) more than 3 times before dog catches it.
- If the dog stumbles, trips and rolls into a cloud of dust. The louder it makes you laugh, the more points per dusty dog cloud.
Points for the Dog:
- Catching the ball in mid-air
- Catching the ball in mid-air after it has bobbled the ball in mid-air but the ball has not touched the ground
- Being completely off the ground when catching the ball in mid-air. The dog should always receive applause for this super-dog accomplishment.
- Stopping the ball before it has gone a certain distance – this is defined by the size & speed of the dog and playing field.
- If dog barks in a sassy "Hurry Up You, Slow Poke" manner, unsportsdoglike conduct.
- If human kicks dog while trying to kick the ball
Tips for Playing
for Humans: Things To Do To Try To Trick Dog
- Make sudden noises before kicking ball, but remember, nothing sassy.
- Cooper has tendency as he is bringing the ball back to drop it as far away from me as possible and have it roll to the kick zone, which limits my ability to get it airborne. Therefore right before he gets ready to drop the ball to give to me, I start backing up so he continues toward me, then immediately after he drops the ball rush toward him to be able to get my foot under the ball to get some distance and height on the ball.
- Kick the ball gently to get it rolling then kick it a second time for distance.
- Say something tricky & distracting, like: "Is that a cat over there?"
for Dogs: Things To Do To Try To Trick Human
- Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff human ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff.
- Ruff ruff ruff ruff growl ruff ruff ruff ruff rand run real rast.
- Snarl: ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff. Ruff ruff ruff ruff rasketrall ruff ruff rike Richael Rordan.
2007.09 - Variation - Introduce Squeaking, Counting & Regularity to the Game.
Equipment change: Use a squeaky ball
- When the dog drops the ball, step on it for 3 squeaks
- Count to 3 audibly at the same rate that you just squeaked the ball
- Immediately kick the ball
Authors: Ernest S. B. Boston & Cooper the Dog
Game Creator: Cooper the Dog
Game Rules Version: 2007.09