Toys & Training

Dozens of diving canines check simply how far they’ll leap in Palmer

Zeke leaps after a toy thrown by handler Bob Beck on July 4, 2022 on the Alaskan Diving Canine Qualifier. (Laura Philion/Alaska Public Media)

Dozens of individuals and their canines gathered in Palmer on the Fourth of July for the 2022 Alaskan Diving Canine Qualifier, hoping to attain excessive sufficient to make it to the Northwest regional competitors in Seattle.

Each jiffy, a canine rocketed off the top of a dock right into a 40-foot-long above-ground pool, leaping after a toy. 

The canine opponents included Zeke, leaping for his “Wonderful” title within the Grasp Division. Meaning he jumped 55 occasions between 20 and 24 ft. After which there was Maddox, a pit bull who needed to don his life jacket earlier than taking the leap.

Maddox, a pit bull, leaps in sporting his life vest. If he didn’t put on one, a decide mentioned, he would sink. (Laura Philion/Alaska Public Media)

The annual multi-day occasion included a collection of contests to check canines’ leaping and swimming skills.

“There’s the gap leap,” mentioned Future Lytle, one of many occasion’s organizers and a canine handler. “We even have air retrieve, which is the place we’ve got a toy suspended 4 ft above the water, and it strikes out in 1-foot increments … after which we even have hydro sprint, which is a timed occasion.”

Canine of all sizes and styles competed — from a small Australian shepherd to a loud and boisterous yellow lab. A number of the opponents have been search-and-rescue canines, some have been private safety canines and plenty of others have been merely pets.

“It’s a sport for anybody,” mentioned Kimberly Beam, a decide on the qualifier. “Everybody’s tremendous pleasant, welcoming. We’re serving to one another out.”

A dog lands in a poolPolaris makes a splash. (Laura Philion/Alaska Public Media)

Chinook jumps only one inch shy of 9 ft. (Laura Philion/Alaska Public Media)

That welcoming ambiance drew Lytle to canine diving in 2015. She and two of her canines have been attending a special competitors within the Decrease 48 and stopped by a pool the place a dock diving contest was underway.

“I received each my canines up on the dock,” mentioned Lytle, “On the time it was a German shepherd named Ven and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi named Irene. And so they each received up there and jumped, and so they beloved it, and the group beloved the little corgi leaping off the dock — so at that time, I used to be hooked.”

Z, the 2017 North American Diving Canine champion and Future Lytle’s canine, holds his toy. (Laura Philion/Alaska Public Media)

Imaginative and prescient jumps in after a toy. (Laura Philion/Alaska Public Media)

Now, along with operating Alaska Canine Boarding and Coaching exterior Palmer, the Lytle household hosts the Alaskan Diving Canine Qualifier.

Future Lytle’s dad, Shaun Lytle, mentioned he likes watching the canines discover ways to dive.

“I like to observe the canines that by no means achieved it, you understand, and don’t perhaps even know easy methods to swim,” he mentioned. “After which they study to progress, and go into the water on their very own, and are available out on their very own, after which leap on their very own. I like to observe the development. It’s numerous enjoyable.”

The Northwest regional competitors can be held in September. Seventeen canines earned spots to compete in Seattle.

Charlotte jumps to 16 ft. 9 in. on the 2022 Alaskan Diving Canine Qualifier. (Laura Philion/Alaska Public Media)

Polaris shakes off water after leaping. (Laura Philion/Alaska Public Media)

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