Dog lovers looking for a fun day out with the family or for a way to spend more time with their favorite pup might find the sport of dock jumping or dock diving a good way to pass the time.
This is an organized sport where dogs compete by jumping for distance or height from a dock into water.
Find out all about it and what type of dog dock diving equipment you need to start training your dog in this great sport.
Dockdogs on ESPN Great Outdoor Games
Dockdogs began in 2000 when ESPN needed extra entertainment to round out the Great Outdoor Games.
The dock jumping competition surprised the organizers with its immediate popularity so a professional organization was established in 2002.
Also beginning that year were scheduled events and official training to create an organized competitive sporting event that works well for both dog owners and dogs.
You can learn more about Dockdogs here.
Popularity Breeds Offshoot Dock Dog Clubs
Both network and cable outlets have aired competitions with increasing popularity and the exposure has led to the creation of local dock dog organizations in states all over the country including Georgia, Kentucky, California, and Wisconsin.
Dock dog exhibitions occur both in outdoor venues and indoor arenas such as the annual Louisville Boat, RV, & Sport Show held each January, the Toronto Home Show plus the National Dockdogs Championship held in rotating locations.
Events include Extreme Vertical for high jumps, Iron Dog, and Speed Retrieve so dogs can best show off their talents.
Indoor Competitions and Outdoor Exhibitions
Participating dogs usually make their longest jumps outdoors where they can’t see the lake floor. Many dogs may be more nervous in clear indoor pools but will often make the jump with a little coaxing.
For other dogs, their focus is so great that they gracefully leap without hesitation.
Labs are Natural Fit for Dock Jumping
Labradors and other retrievers are some of the most popular participating dog breeds but, like many great sports, there are different divisions based on size and experience.
Jack Russell terriers and Welsh Corgis jump in as do larger breeds such as Weimaraners, German Shorthaired Pointers, and others.
All dogs over six months of age are welcome to participate, no matter the size or breed. The world record for an outdoor dock jump is 31 feet, currently held by two dogs, Cochiti and Taz. Both set in 2012.
The Big Air indoor world record of 30 feet was set in 2015 by Yayoh, and the sport’s youth promises more great surprises by these energetic dogs.
Check out Cochiti’s jump here:
Dock Diving Dog Training
Dock jumping is open to all adult dogs. Dock jumping is a good way to get the whole family involved in some fun training for your dog.
There are a few things your dog needs to know before you get started with dock diving training.
Basic obedience. Your dog needs to be able to follow your commands and not be easily distracted. Knowing basic commands like stay, sit, come, and heel is crucial to your success in competition.
Physical conditioning. Dock diving requires your dog to be in top physical condition. He should be able to run fast in a straight line and jump a good distance. Jumping will require speed and strength from your dog.
Water confidence. Obviously, your dog should know how to swim, but he should be comfortable jumping into water, retrieving objects, and returning them to you.
Dog Dock Diving Equipment
There are a few things you need if you want to start to train your dog in dock diving.
Water. You need to have access to some water for your dog to jump into. This can be a pool, lake, or ocean. The water should be at least 4 feet deep and long enough to account for the distance your dog can jump. Competition pools are usually about 40 feet long.
Dock. Your dog will need a good run up to gain distance when jumping into the water. Depending on what body of water you have access to for your training this may or may not be an actual dock. Docks in a competition are usually about 40 feet long and are set 24 inches above the water level.
Chase object. You will need something to throw for your dog to chase. A favorite toy works well for motivation. Just make sure it floats.
Here are a few of floating dog toys you can try:
KONG Training Dummy Toy
ChuckIt! Amphibious Bumper Floating Fetch Toy
KONG Rubber Flyer Dog Toy
Engage Your Dog in Dock Diving!
Dock diving or jumping is a fairly new competitive sport for dogs who love playing in the waters. Every pooch is welcome to try this fun activity, so try engaging your dog in dock diving!
Make sure your dog has the right equipment and training necessities to learn the sport before making a splash for the crowd!