Here are a few tips to get started in Dock Diving, the new AKC sport that is soaring in popularity across the country.
Does your dog like to swim? Since this sport involves water it is important to have your dog be comfortable swimming even if at first with a floatation vest. Take time to introduce gradually accompanying you into the water allowing your dog to make the choice to go further. Bring a favorite toy and encourage him to paddle. This can be exhausting so monitor exertion. Be sure to make these sessions fun and offer a lot of encouragement.
Is your dog play driven? In Dock Diving dogs you simply throw a toy for your dog and encourage your him to jump after it. The toys should be both irresistible for your dog and also the right size for him to retrieve. The dock dog’s jump is measured from the where the base of his tail hits the water to the edge of the dock.
Does size matter? In Dock Diving dogs into classes by both height and distance jumped. Dogs under 16″ are placed in the Lap class. Within this class there are the Novice, Junior, Senior, Master and Elite all determined by the length of the jump. Dogs above 16″ compete in the Open Class. Within this class there are also sub classes determined by the jump distance. There is also a Veteran’s class for dogs over 8 years of age. There is also an Air Retrieve event where dogs jump and grab a suspended article.
Where can I go to get started? There are “Try It” opportunities at some local events which can be found on the North American Diving Dogs NADD website. Many facilities also offer lessons and practice time. For more information on rules and events visit their website at northamericandivingdogs.com
Does my dog have to be a certain age to compete? Dogs six months and older can compete in dock diving. Even older dogs enjoy the sport. The atmosphere is supportive and competitors encourage one another to bring out the best in their dogs. It’s wet and it’s a lot of fun.
Dorice Stancher, MBA, CPDT-KA Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT), Consultant for Pet Therapy, Writer for AKC Family Dog and Gazette, Owner of Canines Can Do. Dorice has trained dogs since childhood and her dogs have received many national and international awards. She was mentored by master trainer, Bill Delaney and continues to study with international competitors and renowned trainers Betsy Scapicchio and Diane Goodspeed. She is a certified evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program and an evaluator for the Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs. She was elected into the International Honor Society for Teaching, and participates in AKC and CKC performance events.