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

Golfer aims for hole-in-one to raise cash for Victoria Hospice

Fundraiser event hits Highland Pacific Golf Course Sept. 17

Malahat truck crash cleared but over 200 still without power

Hydro poles taken out in Monday afternoon crash

U.S. student killed in Bamfield bus crash remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Sooke Road crash shuts down Monday afternoon traffic

Minivan apparently crossed the center line and crashed into a very large truck

UPDATE: One man dies in Saanich collision

Police are asking people to avoid the intersection at Cumberland and Union roads

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

Most Read