Today, I returned to the Wisconsin State Fair for another dahlia show. Once I had my blooms “staged” for competition, I took off to see another stage, the fair’s huge dog sports arena. I was excited to finally see a performance of disc dog competitor, Jonathan Offi / Canines in the Clouds, presented by Skybound Canine Entertainment.
All I knew about Jonathan was that he had at least one famous pit bull that did disc. It turned out that he has 13 dogs, of which 9 are currently performing in public. Most of these are rescued pit bulls or half pit bulls, and I read later that Jonathan was a shelter volunteer and got into disc dog competition to promote shelter pit bulls as pets.
Jonathan put on a marvelous show without a dull second. Man, can his dogs ever jump! I was also impressed by his ability to manage so many dogs and their different routines: letting dogs in/out of the arena, introducing them to the audience, doing trick throws and and picking up discs off the floor about a hundred times, getting on the floor for vaults, managing audience volunteers, and even catching flying dogs in mid-air. He definitely has as much stamina and drive as his dogs!
The show featured:
- Amazing, high-flying solo freestyle demos by about 5-6 different dogs. Each dog did different types of stunts and vaults, so every act included something new and incredible.
- Two pit bulls who took turns fetching straight throws.
- A Belgian Malinois that did freestyle disc and also climbed a wall 8′ to grab a toy.
- A 13 year old pit bull who caught 10 of 10 throws by volunteers from the audience.
- An Australian Cattle Dog/pit bull mix that jumped onto a table and then over an 82″ bar jump into Jonathan’s arms.
Here are some photos I took at the show:
Jonathan and one of his performing dogs met with the public after the performance. Jonathan provided contacts to a rescuer looking to have a foster evaluated as a disc dog. And he very generously took time to answer my questions about whether toy breeds were more prone to disc injuries and described an exercise to teach Dash a better landing after his catches.
If you get a chance to see the show or book the show for your event, I highly recommend this amazing performer. I hope he comes back next year. I would definitely make the 90 min. drive to the fair to see him again.
I’m also planning to take a disc seminar from Jonathan this winter with Dash, though I’m leery of doing anything too close to our Overture Center performance! Maybe I’ll go alone and just practice throwing…