Sable the Labrador retriever from Whistler has some very special dog skills. When it comes to jumping off a dock to catch a ball or a stick Sable is a total natural.
She and her owner Sherri Fleck of Whistler were at the Dockdogs event this weekend thrilling visitors to Whistler Olympic Plaza.
Fleck said during the Extreme Vertical event that Sable has been competing with Dockdogs for three years.
“Sable started doing agility and obedience and I happened to send a photo to her breeder of her jumping off the local docks. She said, ‘Forget about obedience Sherri. You have got to enter Dockdogs.’ So we took her down to the Puyallup Spring Fair three years ago and she loved it,” said Fleck after Sable’s first Extreme Vertical jump this weekend in Whistler.
The personal best Extreme Vertical jump for Sable currently sits at five feet and Fleck said her dog has covered 6.7 metres (22 feet) in the Big Air event.
“We plan to go to Victoria in two weeks time and we’re hoping to get another invite to world championships,” Fleck said. “We went last November and if she qualifies during the summer months we’ll go back there.”
Karen Walker of Pemberton was inspired by Fleck and Sable to enter the competition. Walker’s dog Newt likes to jump so the pair trained in anticipation of the Dockdogs event coming to Whistler. For all of Newt’s five years Walker said he has been jumping off docks and loving it.
“He loves it,” she said. “He lives for it, actually.”
Newt’s jumping ability grew over the course of the competition. On Friday he jumped 4.9 metres (16 feet) and increased that to 5.5 metres (18 feet) the next day.
Angel Graham, president of the Puget Sound DockDogs, brought her dog Onyx from Roslyn, WA.
“We’ve been at it for almost two years,” she said of her experience with Dockdogs.
Onyx is a three-year-old black lab blue healer that Graham described as being full of energy.
“We’re always looking for ways to get rid of her energy. This was one of the things we found,” Graham said.
The Dockdogs competition continues through the weekend and in addition to Big Air and Extreme Vertical competitions the dogs are also being challenged with a Speed Retrieval event.