Jumping high, swimming fast, and barking are just a few of the many incredible features the majestic dolphin is known for. The legs and fur are unusual traits for this species, but this team of domesticated dolphins use these unique attributes to their advantage. These aquatic mammals are passionate about competing in water sports, and have adapted to dog toys and car rides. For this week's Working Dog Wednesday, we've decided not to feature a dog this time, but three hard working dolphins! Meet the Team Trifecta Dock Dogs: Parker, Dillon and Axel! These athletic pups will blow your minds with their incredible hops and love for water, you might even forget they're dogs! Here is their story:
Meet the pups: Axel is a seven-year-old chocolate Labrador, Dillon is a five-year-old yellow Labrador, and Parker is a two-year-old Black Lab/GSP mix. We have all three of the Labrador Retriever colors, hence why our team name is Team Trifecta. Axel and Dillon have been competing for over three years and we are actively working on getting Parker to compete.
- How did you get started with dock dog competitions?
April worked in a nursing home, where a guy who brought in his lab as a therapy dog, got her interested in the sport of Dock Dogs. We started practicing and training with him at The Canine Spa, located in Dillsburg, PA. We realized how much our dogs loved the sport and just got hooked from there!
- What events do they compete in?
We compete in Dock Dogs at both the national level and the club level. Dock Dogs has three events, Big Air (long jump), Extreme Vertical (High jump), and Speed Retrieve (100m Dash). If a dog competes in all three events, then they are entered in Iron Dog, which dogs accumulate points for how well they do in each event. Those scores are then combined to create their Iron Dog score. Dillon competes in all three events and is an Iron Dog. Axel competes in Big Air and Extreme Vertical. Parker is currently training to compete in Big Air.
- What is the training involved?
We are very lucky to have an indoor pool to train at where we are able to practice all three disciplines. When it comes to training, the first step is making sure your dog has a toy drive and is comfortable going into the water. The biggest part of training is to take it slow, don’t rush getting your dog to jump. Some dogs will jump right in and others will take time. Parker for example, we started him out slow and getting him comfortable with swimming. He recently started to jump off the dock, but took over a year to build his confidence and trust with his handler. Like any part of training your dog, it takes repetition and practice. If you’re not lucky enough to have a pool, lakes are a great way to introduce and train your dog for Dock Dogs.
- Is there a particular season for these events or do the competitions occur throughout the year?
Majority of the Dock Dog events take place in the summer months, but when the weather gets too cold to have an event outside, they are able to have the events inside. This allows for the competitions to occur year round and all over the country.
I saw that you guys are headed to the World Championships, congrats! Where and when will this be held and what events will you guys be competing in?
Dillon was the only one of our tribe to get an invite to the 2016 Dock Dog World Championship, which was held in Dubuque, Iowa. Dillon earned a Spartan Iron Dog invite, which is the toughest division in the sport. Dillon finished in ninth in the world and is the top ranked Yellow Labrador Retriever in the world. He also holds the record for the highest Extreme Vertical grab for a Yellow Lab at 7’6”. We plan on going to the World Championships in 2017, which is scheduled to take place in October in Knoxville, TN. Our tribe has a full schedule of events for 2017, mostly located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and possibly Canada.
Watch Dillon, Axel and Parker in action on their Instagram page @team_trifecta_dap where they post awesome videos! You can also find them on Facebook at teamtrifectaDAP! Thanks again for taking the time to participate in our feature and for letting us share your working dogs' story! Good luck to you guys in your upcoming events! Go Team Trifecta!
We love showing off all of the working dogs out there, so if you or someone you know has a pup with a cool job, please message us on Facebook or Instagram to be featured!
-The Impact Dog Crates crew