OCEANSIDE — Rex, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, loves to compete.
His owner Lianne Shinton said part of it is his breed, but drive and determination are also in his nature.
“He puts his all into everything,” Shinton said. “He’s super friendly and fast. You throw a toy and he gets it every time.”
Rex recently tied the world record in fetch-it at the invitational Purina Incredible Dog Challenge in Huntington Beach.
The fetch-it competition asks dogs to jump over water and nudge a suspended bumper. The bumper starts at a distance of 16 feet away, and is moved out a foot farther following each successful jump.
“Dogs take a running leap off a 40-foot dock into a 27,000-gallon pool of water to try and retrieve a bumper,” Shinton said.
Rex tied the world record at a distance of 23 feet.
Shinton said the crowd’s cheers and attention pushed Rex to perform well.
“He is so fast, and did so well,” Shinton said. Rex is a powerful guy with a ton of drive. The crowd energy motivates him. He thinks he’s a rock star.”
Shinton adopted Rex from an animal rescue shelter at 6 months old.
Rex began competing at dock diving at age 1.
His fetch-it win in May was his first competition in that sport.
To prepare for competition Shinton practiced with Rex at the Beach City Dogs training facility for a month. She said the training was more for her than Rex.
“Practice was to help me get a routine down,” Shinton said. “I scream at the top of my lungs to get him revved up and excited. We got four sessions in before the meet. He got better and better each week.”
Shinton is a professional dog trainer who works with dogs and owners on obedience and behavior issues. Her specialty is off-leash training.
She also trains Rex and other dogs for competition.
At age 7, Rex is a year shy of the veteran dog division. He has overcome cancer and seizures. Currently he is in perfect health.
Shinton said training Rex it is an opportunity to bond and give him exercise.
“He loves the exercise,” Shinton said. “The look on his face is super happy.”
Rex will go on to compete in the televised Purina Incredible Dog Challenge National Championship in Saint Louis in September. There he will face the best of the best.
The Purina Incredible Dog Challenge also includes canine dock diving, surf dog and Frisbee agility competitions.