Splash Dogs continue in Gardnerville on Sunday | RecordCourier.com

Splash Dogs continue in Gardnerville on Sunday

by Caryn Haller
Special to The R-C
Mary Wheeler's dog Bannor attempts to grab a toy during the Splash Dog competition Friday afternoon at Heritage Park in Gardnerville
Brad Coman |

IF YOU GO

What: Splash Dogs

When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Heritage Park, Gardnerville

Info: www.splashdogs.com

Gardnerville, Nev. — In celebration of his sixth birthday, “Luke” started off the Splash Dogs competition Saturday with a 20-foot, 9-inch jump.

More than 100 dogs participated in the second annual dog dock diving event in Heritage Park.

“That’s not his personal best, but he has fun, and that’s what it’s all about,” Luke’s owner Dawn Nelson said. “This makes him happy.”

This is the yellow lab’s fourth year dock diving at events in Oregon, California and Nevada. “Luke’s” top jump is 28 feet.

“He hasn’t been doing a lot this year,” Nelson said. “And as they get older, they don’t jump as far.”

For Jesse and Siobhan Fajayan, their 7-year-old German shorthair pointer had more experience in diving than they did.

The Carson City residents adopted “Gunner” in May.

“He’s competed before many, many times,” Siobhan said. “The former owner said, ‘Bring him out, he loves it.’ He’s done it so many times he knows where to get out of the pool, and what the routine is. We’re the novices.”

Gunner made a good showing Saturday leaping 19 feet, 1 inch, on his first jump.

“It’s amazing they have such abilities,” Siobhan said of the dogs. “They love it.”

Gardnerville resident Emily Anderson, 14, has been practicing with her dog “Freya” for a month for Splash Dogs.

“She loves to swim,” Emily said. “We have a deck on our backyard, and she’ll jump off that for me.”

According to Emily, the key to a good jump is throwing the ball or toy a foot in front of the dog, and being sure not to throw it too short or the dog will nose dive.

“I play softball, so it’s natural for me to throw underhand,” Emily said.

On Saturday, “Freya” stopped short at the end of the dock staring at her toy in the pool.

After a little coaxing from Emily, “Freya” regained her confidence and made a 4-foot, 1-inch jump.

Another newcomer to Splash Dogs was “Olaf,” a 5-month-old golden lab.

“He did OK,” owner Trina Carter said of his 2-foot, 11-inch jump. “It was his first time. He loves the water, and he loves to play.”

During practice on Friday, “Olaf” jumped 4 feet.

“He was a little bit hesitant at first,” Carter said.”I was excited for him. If they have it again next year, I will bring him back for sure.”

Jack Russell terrier, “Sparky” looked quite content watching all the action from the bleachers.

“He enjoys socializing with other dogs and people,” owner Holly Waters said. “He’s an out-on-the-town kind of guy.”

Waters said she would try and see how “Sparky” did in the practice pool later.

“His only familiarity with water is the bathtub, so we don’t know if he’ll like it or not,” she added. “It’s amazing how far they go, and how eager they are to do it.”