Competitive dock jumping, once a niche competition for dog owners, is expanding rapidly and made its way to the Lorain County Fair this year for the first time.
Zak Filler, 14, of Twinsburg, brought his 10-month-old Belgian Malinois, Duke, to see how they measured up after just getting started recently with dock diving.
“We found out about this through the Dock Dogs online community and got started about a month ago,” he said. “Duke has passed his personal best jump just about every time going out.”
After four events, Dukes is heading to the North America Diving Dogs championship Dec. 17 in Orlando, Fla.
Michelle Filler, Zak’s mother, said the event has brought her son and his dog closer together.
“We go to the training area in Shelby for practice,” she said. “It’s really the only place around with a dock and a setup. We also get practice in while camping and at the lake. I guess it’s becoming more and more popular. We were in Cincinnati last weekend at a competition with over 50 dogs. It’s so much fun. Zak and Duke have developed such a bond and respect for each other through this and it’s really cool.”
Wellington’s Amy Ryder trains narcotics detection dogs and has traveled all over the county and internationally to compete in dock diving. She brought her seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, Deacon, to the fair.
“I was just looking for a hobby to do on the side with my dogs,” she said. I run narcotics dogs to schools and correctional facilities. Deacon is a rescue and isn’t a narcotics dog. He’s been competing in dock diving for three years and I’ve been doing it about five years. We’ve competed in 20 states and been to the world championships in Iowa. While in Australia, I didn’t jump any of my dogs but did jump other dogs there.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Civitas Media Zak Filler, 14, of Twinsburg, brought his Belgian Malinois, Duke, to the fair after competing in Cincinnati the prior weekend. He plans to go to the North American Diving Dogs championships this December in Orlando.