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Meet St. Louis' Greatest Athlete: Baxter the Flying Dog

Categories: Animals, Sports

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St. Louis's greatest athlete in action. His trainer, Tony Lampert, is in the background.
​Now that Albert Pujols has left us, you may think that the title of Greatest Athlete in St. Louis is up for grabs. But you'd be wrong. The new Greatest Athlete is a world-record holder and a force to be reckoned with in his chosen sport. He lives quietly in unincorporated St. Louis county, seemingly unaware of his talent and his fame, but that may be about to change.

Meet Baxter, one of the nation's greatest dock-divers.

Baxter is a three-year-old Belgian Malinois. Dock diving, says his trainer Tony Lampert, is one of the fastest-growing dog sports. "You have a 40-foot dock," Lampert explains, "and the dog runs off the dock and jumps into a pool of water. You measure how far the dog jumps."

Last May in a competition in Little Rock, Arkansas, Baxter leaped 29 feet, 7 inches, to set a new world record. This Saturday, January 14, he's going to show off his prowess again in the national finals of the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge in San Diego. He came in third in the regional finals last October. You can cheer along from home by tuning into KSDK-TV (Channel 5) at 4 p.m.

"Baxter's very excited," Lampert tells Daily RFT by phone. In the background, Baxter pants in agreement.

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The champion.
​Lampert, a trainer for Sit Means Sit Dog Training in St. Peters, adopted Baxter from a breeder in Peoria when the dog was five months old. His father was a police dog in Chicago and Baxter had been slated for a career in the military, but his officer was deployed before Baxter was ready to join him.

Man and dog quickly became inseparable. Lampert saw Baxter's potential as an athlete and, because the dog loved water so much, decided to start with dock diving.

"The key to dock diving," says Lampert, "is that you have to teach the dog to track a toy. Most dogs jump in the water and go get the toy -- the game is to go get it. But when you teach the dog to track the toy, you teach him to follow the toy and catch it in the air. Whether he gets it doesn't matter. He has to learn to stretch out to get it. That's how you measure the jump."

Baxter grew to love dock diving. Now, Lampert reports, "he goes crazy when he sees the dock." There are not, however, many docks in St. Louis. When he's at home, he and Lampert work on ground fundamentals, such as speed, but most of Baxter's "practice" time happens at competitions.

He started competing in 2010 and has, so far, participated in fifteen different events all over the country, including an unofficial contest on the Late Show with David Letterman last October, which he won handily. (He also managed to maintain his dignity when Letterman asked if he was "intact.")

Purina events differ from other dock-diving competitions because the length of the dog's jump is measured by where its nose lands, as opposed to the tail. Baxter's longest Purina leap has been 30 feet, 8 inches, which falls short of the Purina world record of 31 feet, 5 inches, held by another Belgian Malinois named Vhoebe.

Baxter is not unaware of what lies ahead on Saturday. "But Baxter's extremely athletic and he thrives," Lampert affirms. "Dogs know what's on the line, and they go farther and farther. It's amazing."

Baxter's world record-setting leap:

Baxter on the Late Show:


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10 comments
guest
guest

It's sad that Tony Lampert has continued ripping off consumers and is now getting away with acting like a hero.  Beware of this man, he is a fraud with a long list of ripped off consumers.  He was sued by Microsoft for stealing people's personal information and went to trial for committing computer abuse fraud along with running a huge pyramid scheme that ripped off thousands of innocent people.  He was found guilty and fined $24 MILLION dollars.  And now, he is ripping off people and their pets. Look him up on Missouri Casenet, you will see he has been sued countless times under different variations of his name. He's not a dog trainer or champion, he is a fraud and con-artist.  Google his name along with "fraud" and you'll find the truth.

sitmeansit.com
sitmeansit.com

Baxter broke the Dock Dogs World Record on 2/10/2012 at the St. Louis Boat Show - jumping Big Air at 29 feet 3 inches, smashing thier long time World Record jump of 28.10 set back in 2005.

Joyce
Joyce

Wow, You are one disturbed dog owner! I have taken my beautiful Angel to Sit means Sit and Tony  ever since she was a puppy, I have been more than pleased at both the training of my own Angel as well as in my observations of Baxter and the other dogs activities. At no time have I experienced or heard anyone complain of the care, training, facility, etc provided by Sit means Sit or of Tony and/or his staff. I'm thankful there is this great facility where I can leave my Angel for a day or a week knowing she is well taken care of, given play time and exercised. .

DogsDeserveBetter
DogsDeserveBetter

Maybe you and should have done your research before writing this. Have you even taken the time to read the reviews of his business?  I certainly will not be taking my dog back there no matter how far Baxter can jump.  I guess it's good at least Baxter has had a good experience at his place, the same can't be said for other dogs.  This story should be titled "Baxter's Trainer is so busy jumping his dog he forgot to give others proper care."  By the way, Michael Vick was a great athlete too.

Cancer69
Cancer69

Why don't you read about all the boarding reviews they are trying to cover up!  My dog was left there alone for 12 hours. My dog got really sick there and they didnt even tell me about it!  They didn't give him his medication or care for him.  My dog came home traumatized! That's what I get for trying to save money with Groupon

guest
guest

Michael Vick..REALLY?!! How well Baxter does is directly related to the level of training and dedication to his dog! 

Elmer_and_maude
Elmer_and_maude

Here, here! This is just proof that you can get a dog to do anything if you shock him enough!

guest
guest

Could you go into detail on what your experience was?  I love the place my and so do my dogs!!!

Remi
Remi

Do you even know how they train? Obviously not!! This is what is wrong with the internet. Uneducated half wits like yourself can log on a write negative comments about something they know nothing about! I would be willing to bet you are merely jealous of Tony and his dogs. They are an amazing team to watch and he has more of a bond with that dog than you could ever hope for from your dog! The sport of dock jumping takes a very high level of trust from the dog for the handler. My only suggestion for you is to do a little personal research before making ignorant comments!!

luv pugs
luv pugs

Whoa are you and dogsdeservebetter suggesting they shock the dogs???  I certainly hope not.

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