Dock Diving Dogs Take Off!

If you’re a fan of dogs and water sports, then take a look at these dogs having a blast doing something called dock diving or dock jumping:

How fun is that! In fact, you’ve probably seen dogs doing dock diving on TV before. It’s a popular activity on late night TV and even on sports networks.

You can find lots more videos online showing dogs taking off and making similar splashdowns. And the dogs love it. Dogs compete to see how far, or how high they can jump in the water, while their handlers give them all the encouragement they need before the jumps.

Dock diving is popular in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, and other countries. It started in 1997 as part of the Incredible Dog Challenged presented by Purina dog food company. These days, along with the Incredible Dog Challenge, there are a number of other popular organizations offering competitions in the new sport for dogs. DockDogs, Splash Dogs, Ultimate Air Dogs, and the United Kennel Club all offer competitions. UKC offers titles in the sport.

The dock for the jumps is generally between 35 and 40 feet long by 8 feet wide; and it’s about 2 feet above the surface of the water. However, distances may differ depending on the organization and the competition. Any body of water can be used that is at least 4 feet deep. The dock is covered by artificial turf or a rubber mat to provide better traction and safety. Handlers can use as much of the space on the dock as they require and can start their dogs from anywhere on the dock.

The jumps are measured either electronically or manually. Electronic measurement uses digital freeze frame technology. Most organizations measure the distance of the jumps from the lateral midpoint of the end of the dock to the point at which the base of the dog’s tail breaks the water’s surface. (In other words, approximately from take off point to landing point at the tail.) However, Purina’s Incredible Dog Challenge diving dog event measures the distance to the point where the dog’s nose is when his body enters the water.

Dogs typically participate in teams, with each dog making two jumps. The longer jump is the one that is counted for the dog’s score.

There are many divisions offered by each organization including Novice, Junior, Senior, Master, and and categories for the super jumpers, depending on how far the dogs can jump. There are even divisions for small dogs and for veteran dogs. As long as a dog is having fun, there’s no reason why he can’t participate.

The current unofficial record for a jump is 30 feet 11 inches.

Any kind of dog can participate in dock jumping. Mixed breeds as well as purebreds can excel. Many Labrador Retrievers and other sporting dogs do very well in these events, but any dog that enjoys the water can have a great time making a splash and going dock jumping.