North Fort Myers jumping dogs attracts Guinness, British TV

Posted: August 30, 2013 by kirisyko in SykOtic
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Yeager, a Belgian Malinois, competes Thursday in the Extreme Vertical dog-jumping event at the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers.

Yeager, a Belgian Malinois, competes Thursday in the Extreme Vertical dog-jumping event at the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers. / photos by KINFAY MOROTI

As Bo readied himself on the dock, supporters cheered to pump him up for his world-record attempt.

He took off running and hurled himself up at the bumper dangling 8 feet 6 inches above the pool.

“Awwww!!,” yelled the crowd as Bo flew just inches under his goal, the bumper barely out of reach of his teeth.

Bo didn’t seem to mind too much as he splashed into the water and swam in circles before climbing back on the dock, ready to go again.

Some of the world’s best jumping dogs leaped into action Thursday at the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers as they tried to take a bite out of two world records.

No records fell, but a Guinness World Records representative and the BBC show “Officially Amazing” documented the attempts in Extreme Vertical and Big Air. The event brought competitors from as far away as California and Canada.

“It’s pretty exciting Guinness World Records is here,” said Cape Coral resident Crystal McClaran, owner of Bo, a Walker hound/Doberman mix and current world-record holder in the Extreme Vertical at 8 feet 5 inches. “It’s amazing to be a part of it.”

McClaran said she wasn’t too surprised the record didn’t fall, because the dogs tend to jump better during bigger competitions. The larger crowds and louder cheering get the dogs more excited.

In Extreme Vertical, the high jump for dogs, the competitor gets a running start off a dock and leaps to grab a bumper extended over the water.

Three of the event’s top dogs were trying to break the record, but they all came up short.

Taz, the current world-record holder in Big Air, was trying to break his own mark of 31 feet. His best jump of the day was just less than 26 feet.

In that event, the dog gets a running start off the dock and jumps as far as it can into the water. It’s the handler’s job to toss a throw toy into the water and help the dog get the best jump.

Said owner Mike Chiasson: “It was still amazing even though no records were broken. I’m really excited to watch the program.”

Lise Strum and Vhoebe made trip from California to compete in the Big Air jumps.

Strum said getting Vhoebe involved in competitions in 2009 was a no-brainer.

“She was a crazy puppy that turned into a crazy dog,” she said. “I fell in love with her, and I took her to an event, and she broke a couple records.”

Vhoebe’s best previous jump was 29 feet 6 inches, but Strum said she’s been jumping well this year and thinks she has a chance at the record.

Strum said she loves trekking across the country so Vhoebe can compete. Why does she do it?

“I’m a crazy dog person,” she said laughing.

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