Winter activities, part 5: Dock Diving


By Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA

In part 4 of my Winter Activities series, I talked about Rally and how much fun it can be working on obedience. In part 5, I am going to talk about the sport of Dock Diving.

When you think of Dock Diving, you probably think of it as a summer sport. But one of the nice things about Dock Diving is that it can be done anytime of the year, indoors.

So what is Dock Diving, you ask? Wikipedia explains it as “a dog sport in which dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water.”

If you have ever watched it on TV, you will see a toy being used to help lure the dog into the water. The toy is either used to “chase” or to “place and send,” and the dog is judged on the distance they jump.

“Chase” means the handler places the dog in a sit stay on the dock, then the handler releases the dog, throws the toy into the pool as the dog runs towards it. To “place and send” means the handler walks the dog to the end of the dock, the toy is thrown into the pool, and the handler lets the dog mark it. Then the dog is walked back to the beginning of the dock and then released to fetch the toy.

If you are interested in getting your dog into Dock Diving, you should do a few things before getting started. First, make sure your dog likes the water and can swim. Dock Diving is open to all breeds of dogs, but breeds such as Frenchies and Bulldogs aren’t good swimmers, so know your dog. Second, make sure that they have good toy drive. If toys don’t excite your dog, they might not have the drive to run into a pool of water to retrieve one.

Bailey wasn’t a water dog, so this would have been torture instead of fun. So, I never participated in dock diving. But it always looked so fun – and what a great way to exercise your dog! I know many a water dog that would love this sport.

If you are interested in taking a class or competing, check out the North American Diving Dogs website. Just be ready for a soggy doggy, and have fun!

Have you ever tried Dock Diving with your dog?


Erin Schneider 250x300Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and owner of Touch Dog Training, is a certified professional dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement behavior modification techniques intended to deliver results while building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Erin practiced her craft in Chicago for many years as a Senior Trainer for AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. There she taught dog training classes and also conducted private, in-home lessons with pets and their owners. In March 2015, Erin relocated to Colorado and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with dog owners in the Denver/Boulder metro area.

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