Does your dog love the water? Do they love to retrieve? If so, you might want to consider training them for the sport of dock diving. Dock Diving, also known as Dock Jumping, is a competitive sport that requires dogs to jump from the end of a pier to retrieve a thrown object. There are three different dock diving games you can enter, including big air, extreme vertical, and speed retrieve.
The most popular Dock Diving event is the Big Air competition. Basically, it’s a long jump for dogs. The owner throws a floatable toy out over a pool and the dog runs down a 40 foot pier and jumps as far as they can across the pool to retrieve the toy. The actual toy retrieval is not necessary. Instead, it’s the length of the jump that matters. The distance is measured from the end of the dock to the base of the tail where the dog first breaks the surface of the water.
The second event in Dock Diving is called the Extreme Vertical. Essentially, this is a high jump for dogs except there is no pole for them to jump over. Instead, the owners place a special retrieving bumper (called a Dokken) at the end of a long arm eight feet out from the dock. The bumper is suspended at a minimum height of 4 feet six inches. The owner can choose to start at any height above the minimum and the dog gets two attempts for a successful grab at that height. If the dog is able to grab the Dokken, the arm is raised in two inch increments. The last dog remaining with the highest successful grab wins first place.
One of the newer events in Dock Diving is called Speed Retrieve. In this competition, the Dokken is suspended by a foam float at the end of the pool. 20 feet down the dock, the owner holds their dog until a green light signals the start of the clock. The object of the game is for the dog to pull the Dokken from the float with enough force to break the magnetic connection. This stops the clock. The dog does not have to bring the Dokken back to the dock. The dog with the fastest time between the green light and the Dokken grab wins.
If you’re interested in entering your dog into a Dock Diving completion, experts recommend attending an event to get a feel for the sport first. Once there, you can talk to competitors who will point you in the right direction for dog training advice.