Dock Diving season is upon up. Dock jumping is one of the newest canine sports gaining in popularity, having been around only since the late 90s. .
Dock Diving is a dog sport with two types of competition:
1) Distance Competition – measures horizontal distance
2) Vertical Competition – measures how high – also called super-vertical or extreme vertical
Dogs run down a dock that is 35-40′ long, 8′ wide, and 2′ above the surface of the water. Dogs run down the dock and jump into the pool after a fetch toy (dogs are not required to retrieve for the jump to count). The distance is measured from the end of the dock to where the dogs butt (where base of the tail meets the body) hits the water. Dogs are entered in heats, called waves (just like a track meet). They are allowed 2 jumps per wave. The top 24 longest dives from all waves are entered in a finals round. Docks are generally covered in artificial turf or rubber to prevent slipping. The dog can use any distance of the dock that they need to perform the jump. No dog can be thrown in the water – the goal is to make it fun for the dogs!
In Vertical Competitions a Toy is suspended 8′ away from the dock and starts at least 4′ 6″ above the water. It is raised in 2″ increments. Competitors can enter their dog at any height. Dogs are given two attempts to pull the toy out of the clips.
How To Get Started Dock Diving?
It is best to attend a few events in your area or local clubs to talk to those already competing. Find out what they do for workouts, strength development, cues and tips for jumping. If their are no events in your area, you may consider a sport that is more supported or start a club of your own. Several organizations now support and promote Dock Diving events including: Dock Dogs, Ultimate Air Dogs, American Diving Dogs, and Super Retriever Series. In the UK Dash-n-Splash.
How Do I Train for Dock Diving?Location is the most difficult challenge for dock divers. It is not always easy to find an ideal dock and water. Most dock diving events offer practice runs and training advice during the event. There are many training methods for dock divers, but the two most common seem to be: 1) Place and Send – the handler throws the toy in the pool and then backs the dog up the dock and then releases the dog to get the toy. More experienced handlers may opt for 2) Chase Method – the dog sits further down the dock, the handler goes to the end and then calls the dog and throws the toy in the air ahead of the dog.
Off the Dock Training: Strength Training and Interval Training is key to developing the Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers that promote explosive jumps and enhance distance for dock divers. Fast twitch fibers are better suited for generating short bursts of strength or speed. However, they can fatigue quickly so a good solid training program can help to strengthen your dog to prepare for the demands of dock diving.
Dogs that participate in competitive or just-for-fun dock jumping should be considered canine athletes and as such, need to be conditioned and in-shape so they can not only excel at the sport, but also prevent any sports-related injuries.
Dock dog athletes need a strong hind end and core strength for launching off of the dock at great distances and heights. One can increase the hind end musculature needed for explosive and powerful starts by training reps of “puppy-squats” on the FitPAWS® Peanut or Balance Disc. For an increased stability challenge, try puppy push-ups and squats on two FitPAWS® Donuts with Holders. Add the K9FITvest during practices for strength.