Buck shows his stuff.
Mike Ferron of Gorham displays his dog Buck’s trophies as Buck sports his medallion as the third place finisher in the world’s dock dog Big Air Elite class competition in October in Knoxville, Tenn. Buck has jumped nearly 27 feet twice from a 40-foot dock into a 40-foot pool.
Buck in full flight.
GORHAM — A 2-year-old Lab mix who watches TV, has his own bank account and leaped into the world DockDog competition spotlight last year, embarks Sunday on a new season of fun.
Buck, owned by Mike Ferron of Gorham, finished third last fall in world DockDog competition in Knoxville, Tennessee, earning bragging rights in the Big Air Elite class. Buck and Ferron captured the award for rookie team of the year.
“He’s an incredible athlete,” Ferron said. “He’s so fast.”
In official DockDog competition, Buck sprints down a 40-foot dock and then goes airborne to catch a toy Ferron tosses into the air over a pool 40 feet in length. Buck leaped 24 feet, 1 inch in the world competition final, but previously had gone airborne for a personal best of 26 feet, 11 inches.
The distance DockDogs jump is measured electronically from the end of the dock to a point where their butts hit the water. In official competitions, Buck has earned money, which is held in an account that can be used to cover future entry fees at events.
“He’s got $325 in DockDog money in the bank,” Ferron said.
Ferron and Buck travel to Massachusetts for a fun jump this Sunday. Buck will compete in various official events this year and his scores could lead to another world invite.
Buck, who turned 2 on Dec. 31, is a sleek, muscular 50-pounder and friendly.
Ferron realized Buck’s jumping ability last year while playing Frisbee with him at home. After leaping to make a catch, Buck also alit with a tree leaf in his mouth. Ferron figured the leaf came from 7 feet, 11 inches off the ground.
“I knew he could jump,” Ferron said.
Buck started DockDog training by jumping a mere 5 feet, 2 inches on his first try in June, but in September he was ranked 39th in the world. Ferron and his dog were invited to the world championships in Tennessee in October and competed against 60 other dogs in Buck’s class. Buck finished third in the qualifying round and third in the final.
In his leisure time, Buck enjoys riding along in Ferron’s truck. At home, he uses his nose to hit the TV remote control, Ferron said. The dog likes watching cartoons, but his favorite show is “Animal Planet.”
Buck has lowered windows in vehicles and opened house window shades on his own, said Ferron, who got Buck for free as a 6-week-old pup. He describes Buck as “super mellow” and notes that his dog loves cats.
Ferron is careful about Buck’s diet, in that no people food is allowed. Buck eats grain-free dog food and also likes cheese, chicken and beef, but he’s allergic to fish. Buck gets a treat after performances.
The beach is a favorite destination for Buck, but not in sub-zero weather. He performs at indoor pools.
Ferron said Buck enjoys competition and is a prima donna.
“He feeds off the crowd,” Ferron said.
Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or firstname.lastname@example.org