Maise, The Leaping Lunatic, Sharon Lynch DVM & DockDogs
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved in DockDogs.
A. As a vet, I have always had a dog – I got my first dog as an adult my final year of vet school and did everything with her – she was the perfect Labrador, Phoebe. We then got Emma when Phoebe was about 7. Fred started competing in agility with her as she was a more active dog than Phoebe and needed an outlet. We knew we wanted a puppy from Emma’s breeder, and so wound up with Maise. Phoebe at the time was 15 and Emma was 7. Her breeder was currently ill with pancreatic cancer, so we also knew that the litter he was having would be his last. We had stayed in contact with him, as his dogs were all agility dogs and he loved watching Emma. Maise quickly became my dog, and although she liked doing agility with Fred, she wasn’t as excited about it as other things. We are in touch with all of the families that own her littermates – they are all performance dogs and mostly do obedience and agility. Her brother Trey lives nearby and we started getting together with his family. He also does agility and rally, but was also going to compete in DockDogs. We realized that Maise loved swimming and jumping off docks, so started competing when she was about a year and a half old. Her first event was at the Dutchess County Fair in 2013 and she was so overwhelmed by all the activity and crowds, she refused to jump! We joined Hudson Valley DockDogs and had her to their practice pool a week or so later, and the rest is history. She earned her first title at the next event we went to – she bypassed Novice and Junior and moved right into the Senior division. In 2014, she earned her first invitations to World Championships in her first full year competing!
Q. What exactly is DockDogs and what events do they offer?
A. DockDogs is an organization that hosts dockdiving events across the US, Canada, the UK and now Australia. On any given weekend, there are up to 8 events being held all over.
There are three disciplines in DockDogs, Big Air, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve. A dog that competes in all three is an IronDog. Each discipline has multiple divisions that the dogs are ranked into. Big Air is the long jump for dogs and at any event, you can see dogs jumping anywhere from 2-3 feet to 20+ feet. The world record is 31 feet currently and held by a whippet named Cochiti and a Labrador named Taz! Extreme Vertical is the high jump and dogs are taught to jump for a bumper which is held 8 feet from the end of the dock, starting at 4’6” high and going up in 2 inch increments. The world record in EV is currently 8’10” and held by a Belgian Malinois named Big Griz! Speed Retrieve is where the bumper is held at the end of the pool and the dog is started at the 20 foot mark on the dock and timed until they pull the bumper down. The world record is 4.442 seconds and is held by a mixed breed, Remy! IronDog is a point system based on height and speed and calculated at events – the current world record holder is Bo, a mixed breed.
DockDogs created a new event a little over a year ago which will be it’s own entity, called Dueling Dogs, which is side by side Speed Retrieve, basically drag racing. This is the first year that it has been a stand alone event and it is super exciting for dogs and people!
Q. Last weekend was your annual K9 Karnival event with Beantown DockDogs, tell us a little about the event, how it went and the highlights!!
A. K9 Karnival was started last year with Beantown DockDogs, an affliated club of DockDogs Worldwide and our vet clinic to bring a family and dog centered event to our area. We are located in a fairly rural area and there are not a lot of dog events in the area, so we wanted to bring something in to generate awareness of various dog activities to the area. Last year, we also had Beantown DiscDogs involved, so there was dock diving and Frisbee playing for the dogs. This year, we had some agility equipment out for people to experiment with as well. We also had a dunk tank, bounce house for the kids and vendors for people to do some shopping as well as gain information. We had shelters present, some dog training businesses, groomers, along with several of the pet healthcare representatives we work with at the clinic. We also have a goal of raising money for charity at this event through a raffle, and in the past two years, have raised almost $4000! Last year’s event benefitted Fairy Dogparents, a Massachusetts charity that helps people with veterinary bills; This year, the money will be going to Chase Away K9 Cancer, who raises money for cancer research. The event is held at a local restaurant, and adds to the atmosphere of the event. Last year, it was nominated for Favorite Event of the Year, competing against the Go Pro Games in Colorado, a huge Sportsman Expo in South Carolina, and the Lumberjack Feud in Tennessee!
This year, we had 240 jumps between several waves of Big Air, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve. There were probably close to 80 dogs competing at one point or another over the weekend. Multiple personal bests were set and lots of dogs were jumping really well. Speed Retrieve had three amazingly fast times for the top three dogs! Big Air Finals were all decided by inches! There were also great times with some of the newer dogs – we had several dogs who just started jumping or were there to try it really entertaining the crowd! Hunter is a young Labrador who started last year at the K9 Karnival and was very reluctant to jump – This year, he was excited to be there with his dad and jumped 5’4” – It might not seem like much, but its huge to his dad! After all, the dogs don’t know how far they jump! We had 2 Legend Dogs ( dogs 10-11 years old) jump and our Emma was the oldest Hero Dog jumping ( 12 years +) We also had Lap Dogs ( dogs under 17 inches tall) and Youth Handlers present.
Q. Tell us about Maise and the rest of your canine family!!! We must also know, how did she get the name, “Maise, The Leaping Lunatic”!!
A. Maise is a 4 (almost 5) year old yellow Labrador. She earned the nickname Leaping Lunatic because she is a bit crazy on the dock and starts leaping as soon as she gets up there! Her full name is Case Pond’s Maise Madra Bui which loosely translated from Irish means Beautiful Yellow Dog. We didn’t take into account that Maise rhymes with crazy! She loves anything to do with water, be it the lake, a dock, a pool or even the hose. We joke it is because she was born in a kiddie pool!
We also have Emma, who is Maise’s grandmother’s sister. Emma is a 12 year old black Labrador who loves all things agility.
Our newest addition to the family is Scout, a 2 year old Belgian Malinois. He came to us as a foster from rescue, so has a pretty sad background. He was originally fostered by friends who are dog trainers to work on some of his issues, but then had some medical problems, so we offered to keep him while we treated him. He is as crazy as Maise and the girls love him, so he is staying here!
Q. What are their quirks, if any?
A. Maise hates the rain! She refuses to jump if it’s cold and rainy!
Q. What are their favorite things to do outside of the pool?
A. Maise is also starting to compete in disc – she adores playing Frisbee and is getting really good! She will retrieve anything and everything, all day, everyday! Emma loves doing agility, although she doesn’t do much anymore. Scout seems to really like disc as well, so we will work on that with him this year. All three love hiking in the woods near our house and playing in the lake. Once Scout learns that bringing the toys back is more fun, we will try to get him jumping off docks as well. He came to us with some really bad fear issues, so we have been working on his confidence and training since we have had him. Emma is a fantastic mouser and loves wrestling with Scout! She also adores my almost two year old nephew!
Q. What is Maise’s favorite event?
A. Maise LOVES Dueling Dogs and Speed Retrieve! Anything where she can jump and swim fast wins with her. She has always loved Speed Retrieve, but Dueling Dogs really took the prize with her – she is super competitive with another dog in the water! They are separated by a clear divider on the dock and in the pool, but the thought that another dog could get her bumper is huge for her! She does all three DockDogs disciplines, but Speed Retrieve is her favorite!
Q. How do you prepare for your competitions?
A. We do a lot of different types of exercise during the week – she gets at least 45 minutes to an hour of training a day. Believe it or not, most is on land. We play a lot of disc or do basic retrieving with a ball or a bumper. We do a lot of retrieving up hill to keep her strong and fit. We try to take a long hike ( 5+ miles) at least once a week, some off leash and some on leash. We do go to the lake in the summer a couple times a week to swim and retrieve. We practice timing and speed retrieve in the back yard with some agility equipment . She also is on the treadmill over the winter – we have a dog pacer treadmill which has been awesome for her! In the winter, she also swims once a week in a heated therapy pool with the jets on. She wears a Fitvest in the water and on the treadmill which carries some weights to add to her resistance. I just got some Fitpaws equipment for her as well to help do some strength training as well, so we will see how that all works!
Q. What are Maise’s greatest accomplishments?
A. Her current personal bests are amazing to me! She gives me everything on the dock and is just awesome!
Big Air – Current title is Master , PB on camera 22’10” and manual judging 24’ . She is flirting with an Elite title which is at least 5 jumps between 23-24’11” at the club level.
Extreme Vertical – Current title is Cadet and PB is 5’10”
Speed Retrieve – Current title is Nitro – PB with electronic timing 6.347, with manual timing 6.014
IronDog – Current title is Titan – PB is 2874.21 Dueling Dogs – PB is 6.229
She has been to World Championships in 2014 and 2015 for IronDog and Speed Retrieve. This year, we are going for Big Air, Speed Retrieve and Dueling Dogs!
Q. How does some one get involved in such events?
A. Easiest way to get involved is to go to an event and talk to competitors and staff. The schedule is on the DockDogs website (www.dockdogs.com) Another way to get involved is to find a club near you – there are lots all over the country and can also be found on www.dockdogs.com. There are other organisations that also hold dockdiving events – NADD, Ultimate Air Dogs, Pier Pups, Splash Dogs – all depending on where you are located.
Q. Any advice for newcomers that would like to compete?
A. If your dog likes to swim and chase toys, give it a try! It’s a great way to spend some time with your dog and make new friends!
Q. Last, but not least, how do you prepare for competition, do you get nervous and if you do, how to you work past those feelings?
A. Day of a competition, we typically arrive at the venue early, set up our canopy and the dogs’ crates and check in. We will typically jump 2-3 times a day and the events are typically 2-3 days. During the off time, we are typically hanging out with friends/other competitors and cheering each other on. Before Maise jumps, we will do some stretching and lately, I have been throwing a Frisbee for her a few times to loosen her up. I get nervous before some events and turn on some music and try to chill out a little! One of Maise’s biggest fans who has an amazing dog and has given me some great tips to improve told me that Maise’s theme song should be Uptown Funk, so I generally have that on repeat along with some U2!
You can follow Sharon and Maise on their latest adventures on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MaisetheLeapingLunatic/?fref=ts
Thank you so much Sharon for your time!! It is always a pleasure!