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Ready, Set, Let’s Go! - Did Someone Say Duck?

Posted by Christina Potter on

The Incredible Dog Challenge first introduced the world to dock diving in 1997. Three years later, the exciting sport of dock diving was established in the United States and the rest is history. Dock diving is exactly what the name implies, dogs diving from a dock. he dock is around thirty-five to forty feet long, it is eight feet wide and two feet above the water. It is covered in carpet, artificial turf or rubber matting. The dog must jump off of the dock, running on as much of it as he desires, and into the water. Any body of water can be used, provided it is at least four feet deep. Different organizations call the dogs by different names, such as North American Diving Dogs, Splash Dogs, Dock Dogs or Ultimate Air Dogs. Each organization has its own set of rules and variations of events. The purpose of the dog jumping is to see how far, how fast and/or how high he can travel once he leaps off the dock before landing in the water. Each of the three events in dock dogs, for example, measures a skill: Big Air measures the length of the horizontal jump, Speed Retrieve measures how quickly the dog retrieves, while Extreme Vertical measures the height achieved.

All healthy dogs that are a minimum of six months of age and of any size are eligible to compete with only one caveat: they must like jumping into water. It’s actually a good idea that they like to run and knowing how to swim is 

pretty important, too. It is a sport that is best suited for certain breeds, such as many of those found in the American Kennel Club’s Sporting Group. If your canine companion is a member of the Toy Group, you might want to look into a different sport, as he may not be able to take that first place ribbon away from the Duck Toller jumping before him. Dock diving attracts many spectators who will excitedly cheer your dog on as he starts running down the dock, thus a dog who is not spooked by noise will do better than one who will freeze in fear at the sound of the first loud “Woo-hoo!” coming from the guy with the beard seated in the third row.

Dock diving events are held year round by different organizations, sometimes indoors and sometimes outdoors. It is a relatively inexpensive sport to train and to participate in, and it’s sure to keep your Retriever’s tail wagging. But before you decide to enter an event that is two hours away from home, just make sure you don’t mind driving home with the smell of wet dog emanating from the back seat of your car.


If you enjoy Christina's writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and "Insider Training: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications.