More about DK Vaulting

About DK Douglas and Disc Dog

The DK Douglas Company was founded in 1981 by its owner, Don Douglas, of Longmeadow MA. In the early years of the company’s operation,  the DK Douglas Co product growth was primarily in the area of neoprene aquatic products for the warmth of children and soon also for the warmth of adults. Don was a creative person and as the years passed, decided he wasn’t going to stop at water-warmth products alone. Don had always been a problem solver. A former US Navy diver who majored in Physical Education at the University of Massachusetts, he had a strong physiology background  and the ability to apply it creatively to sports.

First some history:    The name Frisbee originated from the Frisbie Baking Company (1871-1958) of Bridgeport, Connecticut,  who made pies that were sold to many New England colleges. Legend has it that college students discovered that the empty pie tins could be tossed and caught, providing endless hours of game and sport. The popular discs were soon being made as  toys of light plastic and were becoming the rage with young people who wanted a cheap, simple way to get exercise and to socialize at the same time. The modern day Frisbee sport emerged in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. It was not unusual to see people throwing Frisbees in their own yards, in parks, on beaches, etc.  Naturally, athletic and smart dogs wanted to be part of the game too. For some it was “keep-away” while other owners actively played with their dogs. In 1974 a young high school boy and his dog put the new sport, Disc Dog, on the map when he jumped the fence at a nationally broadcast  baseball game in California. He began flinging his Frisbees as the dog  astonished the crowd with his disc-catching, speed and athleticism as “he ran up to 35 miles per hour and leaped 9 feet in the air to snag the Frisbee…” Everybody loved it, but baseball had to go on. He was arrested, but that’s another story….

The sport of Disc Dog, as it became known, was now on the map and growing in popularity. Today it is a growing sport for people who love working with their athletic dogs and who enjoy the outdoor exertion themselves. Creativity has infiltrated the sport and now a variety of things are done, or you could say, performed. Music is boomed out onto the playing fields and a kind of choreography can be witnessed of the dog and his owner. At the highest levels, owners have  their dogs jump onto their backs and leap off as they catch the Frisbee.

It became obvious to dog owners involved in this sport that when the dogs jumped on their backs, the owners needed protection for their backs. DK Douglas Co. became involved when, one day, Don received an order for one of his neoprene vests (called a WetWrap® and normally used in water sports to keep warm) from a woman who asked if he would customize the vest for her by attaching a band at the base of the vest.  He said yes, but asked why she needed this. She explained to him that she participates in a sport called Disc Dog  and that neoprene vests had been known as a good way for a dog’s owner to protect his/her back when the dog is doing jumps off the person’s back.

This was in 2009. Don began thinking about a vest that would be better than an aquatic vest her sport. It marked the beginning of a prototyping period for the DK Douglas Company and this new product. First Don took a few trips to Disc Dog events to get a real hands-on look at the sport of Disc Dog and to talk to some of its participants to better understand the need for what is now called the DK Vaulting Vest.