Hollister resident Ashley Rietsors’ dog, Pyro, has been on fire
so to speak.
The Dutch shepherd last weekend set the world jumping record in
a dock diving competition at the Sonoma County Fair.
Hollister resident Ashley Rietsors’ dog, Pyro, has been on fire so to speak.
The Dutch shepherd last weekend set the world jumping record in a dock diving competition at the Sonoma County Fair.
Pyro jumped to a height of 7 feet, 10 inches to set the record, just four months after the almost 1-year-old dog began competing.
Pyro is a member of the Doggone Dirty Dock Diving team, which includes other dogs and owners from Hollister and Gilroy.
The dogs in the group compete in events around the state, jumping for distance and height after running along a 40-foot dock then jumping into a 40-foot-long pool.
Rietsors said Pyro started jumping when he was less than 8 months old and placed in the top eight in his first competition. He is now the top-ranked Dutch shepherd in the “big air” category, soaring to a distance of 24 feet, 6 inches. The dog is ranked No. 3 in the world among all dogs in that category and is No. 1 in the “super vertical” category, which measures how high dogs jump.
At last weekend’s competition, Pyro took second in distance and first in height among 137 competitors.
“Some people train their dogs for it, other don’t,” Rietsors said. “They just have to have a dog that loves to jump and swim.”
To get a dog started in dock diving, Rietsors said the typical method is to take one of the dog’s favorite toys – something that floats – and walk the dog down a ramp or dock and throw the toy a few feet into the water.
“Once they’re jumping off the ramp easily, we take them off the big dock, which is two feet off the water surface,” she said. “A lot of dogs get nervous, so you throw the toy very close off the end, then they get more confident. The first rule is you can never push or throw them in; they have to do it on their own.”
Pyro competes every three weeks or so, typically at events that are less than two hours from Hollister.
“He’s treated like an athlete,” Rietsors said. “We run him in a field behind our house, we take him swimming, we do a lot of work on the ground, telling him to stay and asking him to run after his toy and jump.”
Swimming practice happens just once a week.
“We try not to do it too often,” Rietsors said. “We want him to be excited about it.”
Asked why she has her dog compete, Rietsors said, “it’s mostly because the dogs love it,” noting that the only prize is a ribbon.
About the club
Doggone Dirty Dock Diving is a club with Hollister and Gilroy members. Membership is seasonal – March 1 to Nov. 1 with dues of $150 for one dog and $200 for two to four dogs.
The team practices twice a month from 3-6 p.m. Sundays at Hollister.