The fit seemed only natural.
Christian Nunez called Marlin, the family's 3-year-old fox red labrador retriever, a true Coast dog. He absolutely loves the water, so when Nunez's father heard about the Splash Dogs competition in Gonzales, La., while commuting home to Pass Christian, he knew Marlin could be a contender.
He was right.
The appropriately named Marlin took to the water. He placed first in the senior finals with a distance of 19 feet and also won the super-vert with a jump of 5 feet, 10 inches.
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"He goes nuts over his tennis ball, like most dogs. He absolutely loves it," Nunez said Wednesday. "He likes to go and get it and I've always thrown it off the dock for him ... So he has always been good at swimming and loves the water."
Nunez said Marlin has never been afraid to jump in the water -- crowd or no crowd -- so they worked with him for just over a month before taking him to the Louisiana Sportsman Show and Festival.
"We figured out he was OK at it so we started working with him and he got better and better," Nunez said. "We realized it's the distance that matters so he'd jump further and further."
Although Marlin showed a lot of promise while training on the Coast, Nunez was still surprised by just how well Marlin did in the clutch.
At the competition, Marlin did incrementally better with each jump.
And then when he hit 19-3 to take the title.
"That shocked the hell out of me," Nunez laughed. "I didn't think he could do it. That was awesome."
Marlin became a bit of a celebrity after showing out.
"After the show I walked him around the show with his blue ribbons hung from his collar," Nunez said. A bunch of people came up to me and asked me all about him."
Don't be surprised if you see the people-pleasing, easily excitable fox red labrador retriever jumping into a pool near you.
With his newfound success, Nunez said he's planning to continue training Marlin for future Splash Dogs competitions.