A giant pool and a dog. This may seem like a natural fit, especially for dogs that love jumping off the dock into the cool, semi-opaque water to chase after a ball.
The rapidly growing sport of dock diving trains dogs to run the length of a dock and leap out into a clear pool of water to chase their “prey”. For about 95% of the dogs who try dock diving, their natural abilities at the lake or river are a great starting point. However, it takes time for them to make the leap of faith from the lake to learning to jump into a 60 degree pool of water that looks like a clear, bottomless pit.
Dock diving requires training and patience for both the dog and the handler. According to Steve Powell, owner of The Dog Tank in Menonomie, WI, the artificial environment of dock diving is a different picture for the dog than a lake with weeds and ducks. As a handler, you may have to retrain your dog’s behavior. But once you do, it’s a great way to have fun with your dog.
If you think dock diving is something you’d like to try with your dog, there are a few key things to know about your dog:
- You need to have a dog that is motivated to chase or retrieve something.
- You need to have a dog that likes to swim and isn’t afraid of getting wet.
- It helps to have a toy motivated dog as you can’t throw treats into the pool
Once the winter chills have truly left our area, there are many portable “try-it” events throughout the summer you can attend and work with professional trainers to determine if this is a sport for your dog. If your dog and a pool of water make a winning combination, then you’re ready to think about a training program.
Click here to read Part II and learn more about how to train your dog for dock diving!
For more information on dock diving training in the metro area, click on these links:
The Dog Tank, Menomonie, WI
The Paw, Mankato, MN
For information on national dock diving organizations and events, click on these links:
All dock diving photos courtesy of The Dog Tank, Menomonie, WI.
Written by Sharon Middendorf, CNWI with For The Love of Dogs, LLC.