Monday, November 26, 2007

Leapin' Lenny & Dock Diving

The first day I met Lenny - at the OSPCA, Stratford, ON

This blog is dedicated to my dog, Lenny, who is a black Lab mix I rescued from the Stratford OSPCA in Sept 2006. He came home with me on Sept 13/06 as a 5 1/2 month old pup. Lenny has developed into an AMAZING dog!! He is smart, he is very athletic, and he is game for anything!! I started him in basic obedience shortly after he arrived home, and then we went on to Novice Rally-O (which is fun obedience, as opposed to regular obedience) and then on to Agility (we have completed Level 1 & 2 and will be starting Level 3 at the end of Feb/08).

Then, in Aug of 2007 we discovered Dock Diving!!

I have to back up a little bit here in order to tell of Lenny's path to his first Dock Diving event. Lenny really didn't discover that he loved the water, as all Labs do, until the early summer of 2007 when it started to warm up. We were at one of our favourite woods, and as I said, it was quite warm when Lenny went in the creek. It was like a lightbulb went on in his head! Wow! This feels GREAAAAT!!! Ever since then, Lenny didn't wade into the water, he LAUNCHED himself into the water. I started to throw a tennis ball for him to chase & he launched himself with even more enthusiasm. Then I started to ask him to wait when I threw the ball, and then released him . . . . .HUGE leaping into the water!!! Then a lightbulb went off in my head & I remembered I had seen Dock Diving on TV a few years previous. So, I thought, hmmmmm . .. . maybe we should try this dock diving thing!!

We were well into the summer now, and I heard about Dog Days of Scugog up at Port Perry (a wonderful weekend dedicated to dogs with all kinds of activities & events going on including agility and flyball) & that the Dock Dogs were going to be there. I went up & had a look, asked some questions of the Ontario Dock Dog people who were there and they directed me to the internet to the Dock Dogs website which had lots of info about this newest dog sport of dock diving. As luck would have it, there were 5 other upcoming events listed.

We entered our first Dock Diving event in Binbrook (near Hamilton, ON) on Aug 11/07. This was a Regional event put on by the Ontario Dock Dog club . Lenny's first official jump was 9'8". He finished the day with a new personal best of 12'1"! We were hooked!!!!!!

Next event . . . . . . Barrie Fair . . . .Aug 25/07!

We had a fabulous day on Saturday! Lenny got a new personal best of 16' 2" and got the last spot in the Pro Finals cut!! So, I drove back up the next day & we finshed 10th in the Pro Finals. Very exciting!! It was a wonderful weekend . . . everyone is so nice & helpful.

Next on Sep 7-8, we were off to London, ON. The Dock Dogs were at the London Fair so I took a couple days vacation and went there for some training. On Thurs, there was only me & Lenny and one other team. Then on Fri, a few more teams showed up. We had a great time in spite of the rain on Fri. Lenny achieved another Personal Best - 18' 1" !! Heather McLeod is the Canadian rep for Dock Dogs and she is a tremendous help. You'll usually find her on the dock, fairly wet, but always with a smile. Heather also has Canada's first Elite dog, Diesel, who jumped a personal best of 25' in Ottawa on Sep 30th!!

Next stop was Pickering Sept 22-23rd. This was a real treat because it was so close to home! Also, it was our first indoor event which was kind of unfortunate because it was absolutely beautiful & sunny all weekend. I set up "camp" across the parking lot where I pitched the easy-up canopy I borrowed from Lin and had quite a nice little spot to take breaks & let Lenny relax between waves.

Here are Lenny's results (each team gets 2 jumps/wave & the highest score of the two is used). He achieved the following results on Sat:

Wave #1 16' 10" 17' 2" participant medal

Wave #2 18' 5" 15' 5" 2nd Senior medal

Wave #3 17' 8" 18' 0" 2nd Senior medal

Then on Sunday: Woooohoooooooooooooooo!!!! We had an awesome day!! There were 2 waves, at 10am and 12noon. Then the finals at 2:30pm

In the first wave Lenny jumped 18' 1" and 17' 5" 2nd Senior medal
In the second wave he jumped 16' 1" and 17' 4" 3rd Senior medal

He made it into the Pro Finals!! They take the top 24 from all the waves of the wkend, then 1 -12 are in the Pro Finals and 13-24 are in the Amateur Finals. In the Finals, you get 2 jumps as well, and then they take the top 4 distances and those teams get 2 more jumps and then the top 4 distances out of those 2 jumps are the winners. They pay to 4th place & give medals, then 5th to 12th get medals as do the Amateurs.

So . .. . . .in Lenny's first jump in the Finals he got 17' something, I think . . .I really can't remember. Then on his second jump . . . . . . . . . . . . . . he got 19' 2" !!!!! I am THRILLED!!! I'm soooo proud of him!!! What a guy!!! I couldn't get the smile off my face for quite some time!!!! We finished in 6th place ... . not too shabby for a beginner!!! The winner was Diesel, one of Heather's 4 dogs (he's a border collie) with a 22' + jump! He currently holds the Canadian indoor dock diving record of 24' 10".

Our last stop of the season was at Dundas Veterinary Clinic in Winchester, ON for a one day Dock Diving event on Sept 30th. It was a blast!!! Lenny & I drove down the night before & stayed at a motel not far from the venue. Just after we arrived, we ran into Heather & she invited us to go with her into to Ottawa where she was meeting some Flyball friends for a litlle practice. This was very nice of Heather because otherwise, Lenny & I would have been sitting in our room all night with not much to do but watch the tube! So off we went, and Lenny had his first lesson in crating in the vehicle - he did very, very well especially since he had to stay in the crate for most of the evening until everyone else was done with their training (a couple of hours). Then Lenny got to try his paws at the beginnings of flyball . . . . running the flyball jumps, which he did with great speed. Someone would hold him, I would run to the other end, call him, and have a toy for him to go for. The first time we did it, he tried to jump for the toy as if he was jumping off the dock! It was pretty funny! After that, though, he got the hang of it. This turned out to be excellent prep for his dock diving the next day as he had a lot more speed on the dock.

And, he made it into the Finals Top 12 (they only had one finals, not 1-24 as usual b/c it was just a one day event) and . ….. he made the Final Four and . . . . placed 4th!!! (4th pays $50!!) He was in 3rd place going into the Finals. I’m so thrilled!!!! I’m so proud of him!!!

His jumps were as follows: Wave #1 19' and 21' 1", Wave #2 19' 11" and 21' 7", Wave #3 18' 9" and 20' 10". I can't remember his scores in the Final 12, but his scores in the Final Four were 19' 6" and 20' 11". What a guy! He definitely makes me look good!!

This is Lenny's 4th Place medal. He was a very, very tired boy by the end of the event . . . . you can see he looks a little sleepy here! The venue was only about 15 minutes from the 401. When we left for home, I'm sure Lenny was off the air before we got to the 401 and he barely stirred all the way home!! What an awesome dog!! This rescue dog has really blossomed into the most amazing team-mate.

We can hardly wait for Dock Diving season to begin again!! The first event of 2008 is at the Cottage Life Show in TO at the International Centre, Mar 28-30th. We'll be there!!!!