Skip to main content

The City Journals

Splash Dogs Succeeds at Draper Days

Jul 29, 2016 10:48AM ● By Kelly Cannon

Sundance leaps into the pool under the direction of her owner Breda Darrington. —Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Draper, Utah - Some competitive puppies made a big splash during Draper Days during the Splash Dogs events. On July 15 and 16 at Draper Park, dogs competed against each other for who could jump the farthest or the highest into a giant pool. The competition saw a variety of dogs at varying levels of expertise.

 Splash Dogs has been around since 2003 when Tony Reed, owner, had a black lab named Sierra. Reed was trying to find something to do with his dog and would take her out to a lake dock and have her jump off. One day, he was watching TV when he saw the Incredible Dog Challenge as part of the Great Outdoor Games. These games inspired him to have Sierra compete.

 “We had fun and went to a couple of championships,” Reed said.

 Later, he was approached by a man who wanted to host the same type of competition but more low key. This led to the creation of Splash Dogs. The company travels all over to host competitions.

 The way the competitions work is the dogs wait at one end of a dock in front of a pool. The dogs then run down the dock and see how far or how high they can jump into the pool. A high speed camera captures how well they do.

 There is no breed or age restrictions for the dogs. Reed said the only requirement is the dogs have to like water.

 “They gotta like water. If they don’t, they’ll shut down,” Reed said. “We make it fun. It’s all about the fun. It’s the people that bring the drama.”

 The recordholder is a Belgian Malinois named Inde. Inde set the record at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge by jumping 33 feet 10 inches. Her owner, Michon Mills from Carson City, Nevada was at the Splash Dogs competition.

 “I didn’t get her for this,” Mills said. “We’re able to do this for fun.”

 Mills and Inde got started after seeing a competition near their home. After seeing how well she did, she was told by the owners of Splash Dogs she needed to have Inde compete more.

 “We’ve been doing it ever since,” Mills said.

During the Draper Days competition, members of the Darrington family from Salt Lake City brought their yellow Labrador Sundance and their brown Labrador Stark.

 The father, Troy, said they came a few years ago and saw the competition. Later, they brought Sundance to compete and they’ve been hooked ever since.

 Troy’s son, Takoda, has worked with Stark for about a year, with Stark coming in second at the national competition in Las Vegas.

 “I was pretty happy,” Takoda said of Stark’s success.

 The Darrington’s never purchased their dogs for the purpose of competing but just to have a family dog.

 Sundance and Stark go to the lake to practice at the docks and get other practice at different Splash Dog events.

 Stark’s personal best is 17 feet four inches, while Sundance’s best is 19 feet six inches.

 Craig and Thersa Foster from Salt Lake City brought their black Labrador Hayden to the competition during Draper Days. The couple started competing with their now 11-year-old Labrador Herkly and have been hooked ever since. Both Hadyen and Herkly are rescue dogs the Fosters adopted from shelters.

 “We put a pool in our backyard with a dog that they practice with,” Theresa said.

 Craig explained the training starts way before the dogs see the water with confidence building.

 “Most of it is done away from the water. They have a treadmill and a gym they work out of at home.” Craig said. “It’s a little crazy.”

 Hayden’s personal best is 21 feet 11 inches. Herkly has since retired from competition but still loves the water.

 To learn more about Splash Dogs and to see when and where competitions are held, visit