Dock diving or dock jumping; call it what you will. Overall it’s just too much fun, and not just for the dogs! It’s fun for the handler, the dog and every single person watching!
Although popular in the United Kingdom and Australia, this sport started in the U.S. in 1997 at the Incredible Dog Challenge. Since then, a number of different organizations, such as DockDogs, Splash Dogs and Ultimate Air Dogs, run a variety of dock-jumping competitions. Handlers use a variety of forms and techniques handlers for practicing dock jumping; it all depends on what sort of competition you enter, and most importantly what your dog will jump for! Record-breaking jumps can be up to 30-plus feet!
I remember the first time I saw dock diving in person. I was at Purina Farms for the Golden Retriever National last year, and as I was heading out for the day I saw that the pool was still open, even though I thought I had missed out on the diving. I decided, even though I was unquestionably tired, I would stop to see some of these dogs in action. Boy, am I glad I stopped! I immediately became fixated on the sport. It was intriguing, fun and unlike anything I had ever seen.
After that day, I knew that I would be making a point to see more dock diving in the future. I’m not quite to the point where I would try to do it, but perhaps one day I will want to give it a go. Since then I have seen it a handful of times, both in competition, and practice or learning times. There was a great setup at AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.
Part of the reason I decided to write a little something about this is because I was able to watch a Splash Dogs competition this past weekend at an event close to my home. The thing that had me smiling (besides, well, everything I said above) was a moment like this…
I’m always excited to see young people getting a chance to try out and learn anything our dog world has to offer. After this young man’s dad had a few practice runs, he let his little one take over and show us what he had. He had fun, and the dog didn’t even think twice! Hence, why I think dock diving truly has “something for everyone!”
See, I told you! Dogs Freakin’ Rule!
To find out more about dock diving, you may want to read Susan Chaney’s article on the sport.