How long have you been apart of the GoPro Mountain Games?
“We have been coming for 6 or 7 years,” said Heather. “We were here when they were the Teva Games. The Vail competition is my favorite of the DockDogs. It has the biggest crowd, which the dogs love! The bigger and louder the crowd, the better the dogs jump.”
How were you first introduced to the sport?
“I watched the competitions on TV and it sparked an interest. I then became the owner of this wild lab, that was a cancer survivor. My friends encouraged me to enter the lab into a DockDogs competition. So I did. Her first jump came in at 5 feet! After the lab, I rented dogs, my friends dogs, then I rescued Kū. He was an abandoned dog from a divorce and was left in a garage. His situation was a mess,” Heather told us. “Jumping Kū helped him.”
What are the challenges you face with your dogs and the competition?
“One of our dogs, Kāpua jumps too early. In the sport, the distance measured is from the end of the dock to where they hit the water. Which means when Kāpua jumps too early, like 3 feet too early, that distance is being taken away from her overall jump. This is where is gets tricky because they are dogs, so I can’t just look at her and be like, hey! You need to jump from the end of the dock! Kapua has a personal record of 26 feet.”
“Another challenge is getting the dog to jump. Some won’t. It took Kanaloa an entire year to jump!” Heather said. She and I then shared a chuckle with the irony of this since Kanaloa in Hawaiian means God of the Sea. Heather then told me “Once they jump that first time, they realize they are not going to die and it clicks.”