By Judy from @mochathetoller - Nov 18, 2019
Dock Diving 101
Interested in the dog water sport that you see at festivals and expos? The dog sport where dogs literally jump off a dock into a pool water? Keep reading on to learn more about the sport!
Dock Diving is a sport where dogs compete in different disciplines which requires jumping off a dock into a body of water. Dogs can compete in either jumping for distance, height or a timed event.
Do you think your dog is right for this sport?
Ask yourself these questions!
Does your dog like water?
Does your dog have a toy drive?
If you answered yes to both, your dog is suited for this sport! For those dogs with low toy drives, you can always work and build the drive so don’t let that defer you from trying this out! It is all about building confidence and toy drive in your dog to get them off the dock!
Start off by finding a dock diving organization near you. Many organizations have a try it out day or a facility you can book and take a lesson with an instructor!
Here are a list of some (not all) organizations in America:
On the dock you can work on building your dog's confidence! Do not be surprised if you dog does not jump off right away. It can take a dog a day to jump off the dock or it can take them a year, it doesn’t matter as long as you are having fun!
There are three disciplines that you and your dog can compete in. Different organizations have different names for the events (ie. The organization Dock Dogs calls their events Big Air, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve) and each have their different rules regarding the specifics. If you decide to compete with an organization, make sure to read up on their rules on their website.
photo by @NancyMillerDVM
This event is the most popular event for people to compete in. As long as your dog jumps off the dock, you can compete!
This event is best described as a “long jump” for dogs. The distance is judged from the end of the dock to where the tail set (where the tail meets the bum) of the dog lands in the water.
There are different categories and divisions based on the distance that your dogs jumps. The divisions may vary between organizations. Since the distance is measured from where the tail set breaks the water surface, it doesn’t matter if you have a small or large dog competing, every dog has equal opportunity to compete against once another!
Called different names by different organization such as Extreme Vertical (Dock Dogs) or Go-Long (Aqua Dogs). In other terms, it is known as a “high jump” for dogs.
A bumper is suspended from a rig over the pool that extends 8 feet from the dock. A starting height is selected by the handler and the goal is to have the dog grab or knock off the bumper from the rig. Competitors gets 2 tries at the specified height and if the jump is successful the bumper height will be increased by 2 inch increments.
photo by @teamrunninghusky
Another type of event similar to this are called Grab (Canine Water Sports Canda) or Air Retrieve (North America Diving Dogs). The concept is similar where the dog has to attempt to grab or knock of the bumper that is suspended from an apparatus over the pool. However the rig starts 6 feet from the end of the dock with the suspended bumper. After a successful jump, instead of increasing its height, it moves away from the dock at 1 inch increments getting further from the dock with each jump.
There are different types of timed events based on the organization you may compete with. Aqua Dogs, Dock Dogs and North America Diving Dogs all have a similar event. At the end of the pool, there is a bumper that is suspended from an apparatus just 2 inch above the water. The handler is given the signal to release the dog from the dock. The dog must jump off the dock, swim to the end of the pool and pull the bumper from the apparatus for the time clock stop.
photo by @PHanmorePhoto
All in all…
Just get out there and try it out! It is a fun sport that both you and your dog will enjoy once they start getting the hang of the game. Read up on the different organizations in your area and see which would be best for you to compete with, or compete with different ones! It is an extremely rewarding sport to do and can guarantee you and your pup will both have fun. Even if you do not compete, you can always book the dock to have a fun pool day with your pup.