Southern Exposure, South Jersey Magazine
A retired explosive detection canine who served 18 months in Iraq working for government contractor SOC is embracing his new life—and new hobby—with a local family in Medford Lakes.
Jenny and Brian Beadling adopted Lager (formerly Nayt), a German Shorthaired Pointer in August and he soon began competing in the family hobby of dock diving, a canine aquatics competition for dogs and their handlers. The Beadlings spoke with South Jersey Magazine about the adoption process, how Lager was fitting in with his new ‘pack’ and how he’s excelling in his new hobby of dock diving.
Tell me a bit about Lager’s background as an explosives detection canine.
Lager was trained as an Explosives Detection Canine to protect human life and assets on government contracts. He is highly motivated and can detect over 30 know chemicals used in explosives. He is trained to sit and will not move until released once he picks up a scent. We joke that if he ever sits next to a car we know to grab him and run!
How did you hear about Lager?
When Lager was set to retire, they knew from his training that he was obsessed with water and would jump in whenever permitted to. One of the trainers had seen a Dock Dogs demonstration in Reston, Va. and immediately thought that someone that competed in Dock Dogs would be a great home for Lager to spend his time swimming and playing. ...The potential adopter had to have access to water at home, know the German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) breed, and promise to let him compete in dock dogs. ...We loved his story and after a few phone calls with SOC we were in the truck a day later to meet him and introduce him to our two German Shorthaired Pointers, Limoncello (Cello for short) and Hooch.
Why did you want to adopt him, and think he’d be a good fit for your family?
The first motivation is we love the breed. …We volunteer for the GSP rescue of NJ, and in fact all of the dogs' dock diving cash prizes go to the rescue for support of the dogs in need. When we went to visit, we were most interested in how all the dogs would get along. We have room in our hearts and home, but wanted to make sure everyone was happy and safe. This was no problem at all with Lager, as everyone seemed to fit in together from the start.
Tell me a bit about the adoption process.
The adoption process was easier than you would think with a dog of his training and ability. We were taught what he could do and all the commands he was taught. Once both parties agreed that it was a good fit, the release was signed, and he was in the car with us on his way to his new home.
Tell me about dock diving for dogs. Is this something your family has always been interested in?
Dock diving is a canine aquatics competition for dogs and their handlers to compete in various disciplines. All require a level of trust and teamwork from both dog and handler, although most of the hard work is done by the dogs. There are three different types of disciplines within the sport. There is Big Air (the equivalent of the human long jump) where a dog will run down a 40 foot dock and see how far they can jump into the pool. Extreme Vertical (high jump) where the dog jumps up to grab a toy that is suspended eight feet out over the water at a height that starts at 4’6” and keeps moving up in 2’ increments until there is only one dog left, and Speed Retrieve (a sprint) is the third, when the dog races (swims) to grab a toy that is suspended at the end of the 40 foot pool. There is also Iron Dog, which is the “doggie triathlon,” where the combined points from all the three events are compiled for a total score.
Why does it make sense for Lager to compete in dock diving?
Lager has a very, very strong toy drive, along with an extreme love of water and swimming. Nothing makes this dog happier than fetching a toy, diving off the dock, swimming, or better yet, a combination of all three!
What are your hopes for the rest of his life, as he’s done so much in his three years of life, and is now retired?
We hope to provide Lager with the structure, exercise, and love he deserves after all that he has done for our country. We plan to continue dock diving with him, and to get him involved in canine nose work classes in the winter months. He also has started agility lessons, and has mastered the tunnel and jumps effortlessly! It is extremely close to the World Championships for DockDogs, (the organization we belong to,) but with what events we have left in the season, we hope to get him qualified for an invitation for the World Championships in Dubuque Iowa, this November, as both Cello and Hooch have already earned their invitation.
What else should I know?
Lager is an extremely happy, affectionate, and loving dog. He loves to be with his pack, both two-legged and four-legged. He is very smart, learns quickly, and is eager to please. He just competed in his second-ever dock diving competition, and jumped 21'3" in the Big Air competition. (This is extremely impressive—especially for a dog who has not officially been trained to do this!) He even earned himself a spot in the Finals at the event. Lager also won a 3rd Place ribbon in the Extreme Vertical competition, making his last grab at 6’4.