Headed to the Fair!

Bailey and I will be competing at the Monmouth County Fair in East Freehold, New Jersey this weekend.  We drove up for the Fair’s opening night Wednesday and Bailey jumped 22’6″… not a bad way to kick things off!  I’ll post the event recap next week.

This photo of a lab named Blazer from the 2010 Big Butler Fair in Butler, PA gives you an idea of what a Dockdogs event at a fair looks like.  Pretty cool, right?

Please remember to comment on my Tomato Salad post.  One commenter will win a digital kitchen scale next week!

Dockdogs Eastern Regional Championships

Last weekend Dockdogs teams from 15 U.S. States and Canada converged on the WISP resort in Garrett County, Maryland for the first-ever Eastern Regional Championships.  This was the biggest Dockdogs event we’ve ever attended and it featured two pools, nightly social gatherings, and the best Big Air and Extreme Vertical dogs in the country.  The goal of the event (besides having fun and hanging out with friends!) was to earn an invitation to the Dockdogs World Championships that will take place in Dubuque, Iowa in November.

You may be wondering… did Bailey the Little GSP make the cut and earn a World invite?  Did she hold her own against our friends and competitors from all over the east coast?  Did she thrive in the 90+ degree hot and humid temps?  I’m happy to say that the answer to all of those questions is YES!!  After a long weekend of more than 20 competition jumps Matt and Bailey placed fourth in the Elite division.  Watch out Dubuque… We’re going to Worlds!

Bailey’s jumps weren’t stellar — actually none of the elite competitors were jumping the types of 23+ foot jumps we’re used to seeing out of them — but her 22’6″ qualifier jump with Matt was good enough to earn her a spot in the Elite finals.  Bailey also jumped a respectable 22’3″ for me which would have qualified us for finals if she hadn’t already been in the line-up with Matt.  (Matt and I always have a friendly competition going on to see who can get the biggest jump out of Bailey… I’m still ahead for the season with Bailey’s 23’1″ jump from Hog Dog a few weeks ago!)  🙂

Here are a few photos from the event:

Remember Baxter? We last saw this high-flyin’ Malinois at the event in Virginia Beach a few months ago. Baxter again showed everyone who’s boss by winning Super Elite Big Air, Iron Dog, and Speed Retrieve.

And here’s Rocket, another top-ranked Malinois. Rocket is from Pennsylvania and he’s one of Bailey’s friends.  Also… Rocket is sponsored by Precise Pet Products, go check them out!

An odd thing happened to our friend Tim during Elite finals. Tim thought that his black lab Boo looked a little slow running down the dock so he leapt in front of him at the last moment. Needless to say, physics took over and Boo slammed into Tim, sending him straight into the pool. Tim took the fall in stride and was able get out of the pool in time to complete Boo’s “real” jump… good enough for 3rd place Elite and a World Invite!

Here’s another shot of Bailey. She’s twisting mid-air in an attempt to catch her toy. Not her longest jump but it looked pretty cool!

This is Twister from Baltimore, Maryland and yes, that stick is about to hit her on the head. (Don’t worry though, she’s a hard-headed Chessie!) Twister rocked the dock earning second place Elite with her handler Steve and first place in the Youth Handler division with Steve’s son, James.

This weekend Bailey was jumping best with the “place and send” technique, meaning that we throw her toy into the water first, then take her to the back of the dock and release her. Here’s Matt chasing her down the dock during a qualifying round on Friday.

To see more photos of the Dockdogs Eastern Regional Championships, you can visit my Flickr photo album of the event.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck to all of the teams who are going to World Championships!

June Bloom at Hog Dog

Last weekend we packed up the Subaru and took Bailey down to Millersville, Maryland for her third Dockdogs event of the season.  Dubbed the “June Bloom,” this event was part of the National Sanctioned Facilities Series and was hosted by Hog Dog Productions.  Although Bailey started off a little slow she picked things up for the Extreme Vertical (high jump) competition with a 6’6″ grab and then ended the weekend with her best long jump score of the year – 23’1″.  This was good enough for third place in the Big Air Pro Finals!

After a long day of competing on Saturday we enjoyed a crab feast at the event site with our Dockdogs friends.  I had never eaten “real” crab that was “in a crab” (as opposed to in a crab cake…) but after a lesson from our Maryland friends Matt and I were cracking and picking our crabs like pros.  The crabs were steamed and coated in old bay seasoning… the perfect ending to a fun day of Dockdogs!

Enjoying a Dockdogs Crab Feast on Saturday night. (Photo by Steve Sozio.)

Saturday night we stayed in a La Quinta in nearby Glen Burnie, MD and experienced our very first hotel fire evacuation!  We were sleeping soundly when suddenly a strobe light and alarm started going off in our room.  I leapt out of bed and started to gather up our most important belongings (the camera, my Phillies cap, and my iPhone?) while Matt checked to see if other hotel guests were evacuating.  Oddly enough, Bailey was completely unconcerned by the piercing noise and barely bothered to stand up before curling back up on the bed, oblivious to the mayhem around her.  After convincing her that it WAS necessary to get out of bed we shuffled outside with the rest of the La Quinta guests and groggily watched as five fire engines worth of first responders responded to the call and searched the building.  Lucky for us there wasn’t a fire (just a crazy lady who pulled the fire alarm) so after about 20 minutes we were allowed to go back inside.

On Sunday every one of Bailey’s Big Air jumps was better than the last.  She went from mid-21-footers to a 22’7″ on her final qualifying jump… just enough to squeak into the Pro Finals in the #4 spot.  In the finals she eagerly jumped another 22’7″ and then, on her very last jump, soared to a season-best 23’1″ distance which was good enough for third place overall.  Woohoo!

Bailey looks like she’s smiling as she launches off the dock in the finals.

Here are some more photos that we took at the event:

Gunner, a male GSP from Annapolis, soars through the air as his “brother,” a Wiemaraner named Butler, cheers him on.

Rusty, a handsome Lab from Tennessee, floats through the air in the finals.

Bailey took a nap Saturday afternoon before the Extreme Vertical competition started.

Marcie, a black lab from Ohio, sports a snazzy pink vest when she competes.

This is Marcie’s daughter, Penny. Penny just learned how to compete in Extreme Vertical and she ended up winning that event with a 6’10” grab!

This is our fellow Delmarva Dockdog member “Rain,” a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Rain and Bailey both grabbed 6’6″ in the Extreme Vertical competition (pictured here).

Bailey catches her red “wubba” toy in mid-air during this practice jump. Nice throw, Matt!

Overall, we had a great weekend.  We spent time with our Dockdogs friends, watched our Little GSP enjoy herself on the dock, and ate fresh Maryland crabs… what could be better than that?  🙂

Vote for Bailey in the Dockdogs Photo Contest!

Guess what?  I entered this photo of Bailey and Matt in a Dockdogs photo contest on Facebook.  The contest is based purely on the number of Facebook “LIKES” a photo gets so I’m humbly requesting that you consider voting for it.  All you have to do is click on the photo below which will automatically bring you to the photo’s page on Facebook.  Then click “LIKE” in Facebook — it’s that easy!

Here’s some more information on the photo itself if you’re interested…

  • Taken by me on July 3, 2010 at the Big Butler Fair in Butler County, PA
  • The toy is not in fact attached to Bailey’s nose with a string… the rope-ended duck toy that Matt was using just happened to twist in the air that way at this particular moment.
  • This photo is the original version of the image that I use for my WordPress “gravatar” icon and it is one of my all-time favorite photos of Bailey.
  • Bailey ended up getting 3rd place overall at this event behind a Dalmatian named Lance and a Black Lab named Marcie.

Thanks for reading and please consider voting!  🙂

‘Dock Daze’ on the Nanticoke River

We’ve had a busy two weeks and I feel like I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit.  I hope to change that in the next few days because I have lots of fun topics to post about including our Memorial Day weekend trip to Quechee, VT, the sure-to-be-delicious chicken cutlet sandwiches with roasted red peppers and mozzarella that we’re going to make tonight for dinner, and all of the exciting developments in my little garden.  To kick things off, I’ll recap our second Dockdogs event of the season, “Dock Daze” on the Nanticoke River.

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Bailey turns five!

Last Friday was Bailey’s fifth birthday so I thought that a post about my energetic four-legged friend might be in order.

Matt and I first met Bailey when she was four weeks old.  She had nine litter mates but choosing her was easy because, unlike her brothers and sisters who were only interested in eating and sleeping, Bailey was constantly bouncing around exploring her surroundings.  Bailey still continues to be an, ahem, “independent” dog (which is a nice way of saying that she’ll completely ignore us if she’s doing something that she deems more interesting) and that bounce in her four-week-old step has translated into a spring-loaded “pop” off the dock when she jumps at Dockdogs competitions.

Bailey at 7 weeks on her first day home with us.

How can you resist that puppy face? Click here to read more!

First Dockdogs Event of 2012!

When I started this blog, one of my original goals was to document and share the results from Bailey’s Dockdogs events.  Of course, I started the blog in January (definitely the Dockdogs off-season since Bailey has no interest in jumping into cold water!) so up until now I haven’t had anything Dockdogs-related to share.  That’s all going to change now because the Dockdogs season has officially begun!

Last weekend we drove down to Virginia Beach for the 5th Annual Care-A-Lot Pet Supply National Sportsman’s Series Event.  Despite chilly temperatures, a steady wind, and a nice rain storm on Saturday, Bailey managed to jump into the pool twelve times.  Sometimes when it’s cold she’ll come to a screeching halt at the end of the dock so this was a big accomplishment all by itself!

Rocket had several jumps over 28 feet.

For me, the highlight of the event was getting to watch two top-ranked Belgian Malinois throw down some enormous scores as they each came within inches of breaking the world record (29’3”).  Rocket, a handsome reddish male from York, PA, had several jumps over 28 feet.  The other malinois, a slim, muscular male named Baxter, traveled all the way from St. Louis, MO for this event!  Baxter is the current world record holder and he too came within inches of setting a new record with several jumps in the 27-28 foot range.

World-record-holder Baxter won the Pro Finals with this 27+ foot jump

Bailey’s best jump of the weekend was 22’2” and she ended up in 4th place in the semi-pro finals.  Not her best showing but I’m hoping that this event was more of a warm up since it was her first competition since November.  Regardless of Bailey’s performance on the dock, we had a blast at the event visiting with our Dockdogs friends and showering Bailey with treats and swag from the Care-A-Lot vendors.  That makes the event a success in my book because having fun is really what it’s all about!  🙂

Addicted to DOCKDOGS!

Back in 2009 Matt and I were watching the “Diving Dogs” in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge on ESPN.  In this competition each dog sprinted down a 40 foot long dock and catapulted itself as far as it could go into a big pool of water.  The dog with the longest jump, a GSP named “Seven,” in that particular competition, won the event.

Bailey catches her wubba on a practice “Big Air” jump

This looked like great fun and our GSP, Bailey, had just learned how to swim and already was great at jumping over a two-rail fence in and out of my mom’s garden.  We decided to put the two skills together and try out the sport of dock diving.  We entered our first “Dockdogs” event in central PA in June 2009 and from that point on we were officially addicted to Dockdogs!

Since that first event we have traveled all over the East Coast with Bailey to compete with our Dockdogs friends and our club members from Delmarva Dockdogs.  Bailey has jumped at county fairs in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut and Waterfowl Festivals in Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware.  The farthest we’ve traveled so far was to a Bark in the Park event in Lawrence, Ohio (about a 10 hour drive!).

Bailey shows off for a big crowd at the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland

Bailey has earned an “Elite” Dockdogs title for Big Air (the long jump event that first got us hooked).  She’s also earned a “Top Gun” title in the sport of Extreme Vertical, which is a high jump competition where the dogs must knock down a bumper that’s extended up and over the pool.  Some of the high points of Bailey’s Dockdogs “career” so far are listed below.

Bailey competes in Big Air (left) and Extreme Vertical (right)

If you think Dockdogs sounds like a sport that you and your dog might enjoy, I highly recommend that you give it a try!  There are local clubs all over the country that have practices and events during the summer.  Check out www.dockdogs.com to learn more!

Bailey catapults herself off of the dock in an attempt to catch her duck

Bailey’s Top Performances:

  • #1 Ranked German Shorthaired Pointer in the Country for 2010 and 2011
  • 1st Place Elite/SuperElite Finals, 2012 Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show (Tuckerton, NJ)
  • 1st Place Elite/SuperElite Finals, 2012 Delmarva Summer Splash (Dover, DE)
  • 2nd Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2012 Delmarva Summer Splash (Dover, DE)
  • 1st Place Pro Finals, Monmouth County Fair (East Freehold, NJ)
  • 2012 World Championship Invitation, Elite Big Air
  • 4th Place Elite, 2012 Eastern Regional Championships (McHenry, MD)
  • 2nd Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2012 Delmarva DockDaze (Bivalve, MD)
  • 1st Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2011 Ocean County Decoy Show (Tuckerton, NJ)
  • 1st Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2011 Chesapeake Pondfest (Adamstown, MD)
  • 1st Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2011 Delmarva Summer Splash (Dover, DE)
  • 1st Place Pro Finals, 2011 Harford County Farm Fair (Bel Air, MD)
  • 1st Place Elite/SuperElite Finals, 2010 Delmarva Summer Splash (Dover, DE)
  • 2nd Place Elite Finals, 2010 Keystone Stoltzfus Summer Splash (Gap, PA)
  • 2nd Place Pro Finals, 2010 Harford County Farm Fair (Bel Air, MD)
  • 1st Place Elite Finals, 2010 Keystone That Pet Place Event (Lancaster, PA)
  • 1st Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2010 Delmarva Doggone Fun Event (Dover, DE)
  • 3rd Place Pro Finals, 2010 Clay’s Bark in the Park Event (Lawrence, OH)
  • 1st Place Elite Finals, 2010 Tidewater Paws for a Cause Event (Newport News, VA)
  • 2nd Place Pro Finals, 2009 Harford County Farm Fair (Bel Air, MD)

Bailey’s Personal Bests:

  • Big Air – 25’6”
  • Extreme Vertical – 7’0”
  • Speed Retrieve – 6.550 seconds

Bailey at the Big Butler Fair in Butler County, PA

For more photos, visit TheLittleGSP on Flickr!