A couple approached Lawrence and Jodi Frederick four years ago in St. Louis, and asked them to adopt their 11-month old dog.
“He’s crazy,” the man said. Not trainable, and neurotic.
Then the truth came out. “He was a Border Collie kept in a crate all day with no exercise,” Jodi says. The dog was just the kind of high energy pup she and her husband look for.
The Fredericks adopted Riley, and today he is an award-winning Frisbee dog. He travels the First Coast, and throughout the country, doing tricks with Frisbees during shows at festivals, county fairs, and other public events. One of 15 Frisbee dogs owned by the Fredericks, Riley specializes in doing 360 degree back flips from a standing position while catching Frisbees mid flip.
“It’s very rare for a dog his size – 44 pounds – to be able to do that,” Jodi says. “So that’s his signature move.”
Every member of the pack of Frederick dogs has a signature move. Their talent stems from being lovingly trained to do tricks that incorporate their natural skills.
When Jodi started working with Riley, she taught him to do “handstands” to build up his core muscles. One day she threw a Frisbee over his head by mistake, and he flipped over to catch it. Since Bailey loves that move, she said training sessions are pure fun for him. He doesn’t need treats, catching a Frisbee in mid-air is his treat.
“You are an awesome, talented Frisbee dog,” Jodi told him one recent day during a training session on their five acre estate in Northwestern St. Johns County. “You are awesome.”
The Fredericks call their homestead “doggy Disneyland,” because the fenced property is designed for the pups, and the family dog show business “Disc-connected K-9’s.” A large separately fenced training paddock sits behind the main house. Nearby a building the size of a six-car garage serves as an indoor play area for the dogs. It is adjacent to an acre outdoor play area, which they access via a doggy door. They run and frolic together most of the day, except when they go to the training paddock for one-on-one practice with the Fredricks.
Jodi works with Bailey and three other dogs. Her day job is a swimwear designer in Jacksonville, so she trains at night. Lawrence, a national Frisbee champion in his youth, trains the rest of the pack. Disc-connected K-9’s has been his full time job since leaving a prior career in information technology. The company name reflects the fact that all their dogs are rescue dogs that have been “disconnected from their original homes,” Jodi says. “And they’ve been re-connected with us with a Frisbee disc.” Their business is unique, Jodi says, because “the dogs are our family.” At night, all 15 sleep with Jodi and Lawrence in the master bedroom.
Disc-connected K-9’s is an entertainment business with several missions. Jodie says their objective is to show what a dog can do with training, and to inspire people to adopt rescue dogs.
“Our goal is to go out there and have fun with our dogs,” she says. “Let the dogs shine.”