In 2017, a two-year old whippet named Sounders was introduced to the world of competitive canine diving. Just two years later, he was breaking world records and even captured the Guinness World Record for farthest jump by a dog (dock jumping).
In 2019, Sounders broke two records in Diving Dog and Fetch It! at the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge (IDC), a canine competition where some of the top dogs from across the country compete in a variety of speed and distance events. Similar to long jump in track-and-field competitions, Diving Dog involves a dog running down a 40-foot runway, chasing a bumper toy that is thrown over a pool to see how far they can jump before touching the water.
Sounders broke the standing record in Diving Dog by jumping 35 feet, 9 inches. That same day, Sounders competed in Fetch It!, a competition where dogs run and jump to try to catch or knock down a bumper which hangs 4 feet above the water, the distance increasing with each jump. Sounders jumped 27 feet, 6 inches in Fetch It!, surpassing the standing record and earning his second IDC record in one day.
Nutrition and training make a champion
How did Sounders become a world record holder in just two short years? His owner, Laurel Behnke of Rochester, Washington, attributes his success to natural talent and temperament, consistent exercise and the advanced nutrition of Purina Pro Plan. In fact, she says proper nutrition has helped support Sounders’ endurance, body condition and performance, leading to the ultimate success in his competitions.
“I’ve been feeding Purina Pro Plan Sport for as long as I can remember,” says Behnke. “I trust the years of research that back it up, and I love how it helps Sounders perform — almost as much as he loves eating it.” Sounders isn’t the only dog who chooses the advanced nutrition of Pro Plan — many of the dogs who compete at IDC are fueled by Purina Pro Plan, as are 13 of the last 14 Westminster Best in Show winners, and 90 of the top 100 sporting dogs. (Based on 2019 National, World & Invitational Champions and Purina Award Winners. The handler or owner of these champions may have received Pro Plan dog food as ambassadors.)
Competing in 2020
While Sounders makes his jumps look easy, the competition is often anything but. Sounders faces tough opponents at the Incredible Dog Challenge, with one of his top competitors — also a whippet, named Slingshot, owned by Rachael Brinkman of Fenton, Michigan — challenging him to do his best. The rivalry is always close for these two dogs; Sounders took the top spot for Diving Dog again in 2020, but Slingshot nabbed the win in Fetch It!. Although Sounders’ 2019 scores still lead the pack, the recent loss has provided further incentive for Behnke, training hard with Sounders and continuing to fuel his body with the proper nutrition to try to win back the top spot in 2021.
Every dog can benefit from proper nutrition
Your dog doesn’t have to be an athlete to benefit from advanced nutrition. Good canine health is part exercise, part diet. Make a goal to exercise your dog daily, whether it’s playing in the yard, taking a walk or going for a jog. Then help them look and feel their best while fueling their bodies with the right food for their breed size, life stage and needs. Not sure which food is the right food? Consult your veterinarian or visit myPlan to figure out which formula is best for your dog. Pro Plan offers a full spectrum of performance and specialized nutrition formulas, including options that support active dogs, healthy aging, cognitive health and more. Every ingredient is carefully chosen for a specific purpose, and the nutrition is backed by over 500 scientists including nutritionists, behaviorists and veterinarians.
Check your local tv listings or visit proplan.com/incredible to find out where to see Sounders, Slingshot and other top canines from around the country in action in the 23rd Annual Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge National Finals, which will air in syndication until March 28, 2021.