If you and your dog have never tried jumping off a dock and you would like to give it a try we recommend that you attend one of our member lead Practices. For a $15 fee during the non-member time posted you can try to jump your dog and get great advice from our on-site members on how to get your dog started on their dock dogging adventure. Please ask all the questions you would like. You'll find that our members enjoy sharing their experiences and knowledge about the sport and are always willing to help others get started.
To begin the first thing you need when attempting your first few jumps off the dock is a floatable toy. Any toy that floats is acceptable by DockDog rules. The best toy to use is one your dog is wild for, that way when you throw it in the pool he actually wants to jump in to get it! Making sure your dog has some "toy drive" and enjoys the water are two key components with DockDogs put those two together and you've got a great dock diving combinations.
Handlers may use any technique to get their dog into the water, we do not allow, pushing, pulling or throwing of the dogs into the pool. This will result in a no score in an event. You may however lay down on the dock, splash the water and make as many encouraging sounds/motions as you like! You may use any throwing technique as well. Some people prefer the chase method and have their dogs sit at the end of the dock and dive into the pool while the toy is in mid air. Other people prefer a "fly ball" method of throwing the toy, taking the dog back on the dock, revving them up and releasing the dog. The trick is to try out various methods and see which works best for you and your dog. The only rule about this is that in competition you only get 60 seconds from when your dog sets foot on the dock until the dog is in motion into the pool. If it takes you longer to get the dog in at this point there will be a Timeout.
Distance is measured from the base of the dog's tail. At club events they are judged manually by two certified judges, at a National event they are judged electronically by a computer that freezes frame by frame. Both methods are very accurate.
Once your dog has figured out the name of the game you can take the time to perfect your own skills such as throwing....any handler will tell you "it's all in the throw"! There are only a few simple rules you need to remember:
When not on the dock, keep your dog on a leash (no longer than 4 ft.) or in a crate. No retractable (flexi) leashes.
Your throw object must float and not be edible or anything that is live or has been live.
Only one handler on the dock at a time.
No training collars allowed on the dock, only flat buckle and material only martingale collars are allowed
No pushing your dog off the dock
No abusive behavior toward dogs, other competitors, or workers
No dogs in heat
Keep your dogs at least 8’ from other dogs
Only the dog on the dock may be off leash
You must clean up after your dog at BOTH the event area and hotel
You, or a representative, must be at the judge’s/handler’s meeting in order to compete in that wave.