Cheryl Johnson and her dog Sync are on the dock at Langford Lake where the two practice the sport of DockDogs

Woman and dog are partners in sport

Local dog getting big air in international competitions

“Where’s your ball?”

Cheryl Johnson is face to face with Sync, talking into her dog’s ears as the whippet/terrier’s eyes lock onto a red sphere bobbing in the waters of Langford Lake. “Go get your ball,” Johnson says, as she lowers her dog onto the dock.

Moments later, without so much as a sound, Sync is in the air, legs fully extended as she sails towards her target.

“Her furthest jump ever was 22 feet, 11 inches. Right now she is second in the world … Number one in Canada, number two in the world,” Johnson says.

The five-year-old dog is practicing for DockDogs, a canine aquatic sport requiring a dog to jump off a 40-foot dock into a pool. A laser camera records where the dog’s “tailset” lands to measure the distance jumped. Another aspect of this canine sport sees one or more dogs run down the dock to retrieve a bumper suspended at the end of the pool as fast as possible. After two years of competition, Sync is already one of the world’s best in her size category.

“Her and I started this together two years ago and she never lets me down. I know how to get her revved up and if I whisper to her ‘jump 20 feet’ I know she can’t understand, but she will jump 20 feet,” Johnson says. “We have a good relationship. I know when she’s not feeling well and tired, but she is still so happy to make me happy. She is my little DockDog partner in crime.”

Johnson discovered the sport after watching a demonstration at Pet-A-Palooza, a local pet festival. It was there that they randomly discovered Sync’s passion for jumping. Three weeks later, there happened to be a competition in Comox. Johnson decided to enter Sync and the pair promptly won.

They qualified for the world championships later that year, but almost didn’t go because  of the cost. Johnson found the money to go and it paid off when Sync won her category.

“Truthfully, I work for my dog sport,” says Johnson, a hair stylist. “I work hard, make the money and pay for my way. It’s the same as paying for your kids to play hockey. Parents don’t get a monetary reward for putting the time and money into their kids, but at the end they have the pleasure of having the kids have fun, work hard and succeed and that is why I do this.”

Sync clearly loves the sport, practising on Langford Lake often in preparation for national and international championships, where she has taken home numerous titles.

To help navigate the costs, Johnson now has pet food company Petcurean sponsoring Sync, which helps cover the cost of food for all four of her dogs. Sync now even has her own blog and the “partners in crime” will attend their third world championship in Dubuque, Iowa in November, when they will be gunning for gold again.

“(Sync) is very driven and very athletic. She has a lot of energy, so she adapted to it really well. When she gets into the arena and sees the pool, she barks nonstop until she gets into the water,” Johnson says. “To me, I’m not going to have (my) dogs in my life forever, it’s a short blip of time. It’s worth it to me to make the most of it and have as much fun with them as I can.”

For more information you can visit Sync’s blog at

Just Posted

VIDEO: Friday night fire outside Saanich Staples

Witness says two employees helped put out blaze

Victoria non-profit empowers women escaping abusive homes with a fresh start

Organization’s gift certificate program helped around 400 women last year

VIDEO: Royal Bay Secondary students take flight in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

Play tells the story of the orphan who becomes Peter Pan

Sidney designer showing killer collection at Van Fashion Week

A young Sidney designer is showing her 14 piece collection Obsidian Nights at Vancouver Fashion Week

Support group helps Victoria parents navigate issues with children

Parents and caregivers offered “free, safe, non-judgmental, confidential” support

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

Most Read