So You Think Your Dog Can Swim

So You Think Your Dog Can Swim| The Well-Trained Dog & Pet Care | Roanoke

The winter weather is (hopefully) behind us and who doesn’t love a nice dip in the river on a hot summer day.  Some dogs do more than take a dip-they take part in the sport of dock diving.  You can see dogs from across the country in action this weekend at White Rock Winery in Goodview, Virginia.  Never heard of dock diving? We asked Tim Boyd who heads Anubis Air Dogs from Roanoke, Virginia to describe this exciting sport.

What is dock diving? 

Dogs run down a dock and jump/fly into a pool or pond. The distance is judged from the end of the dock nearest the water’s edge to the base of the dog’s tail.

How did you become involved in the sport? 

I have been into different dogs sports for the last five years. I have done AKC Rally, Weight pull and Protection. One day while looking for an agility competition, I ran across a dock jumping event in my hometown. Took the dogs to the lake and let them jump off a boat dock. When the event came to town, we went and did the practice time. From there I was hooked and this is the sport I prefer to do.

What breed of dog is best for dock diving? 

The good thing is, we see all breeds of dogs in the sport. Normally Belgian Malinois and Labs jump the furthest. But there are different jump divisions, so if your dog isn’t the biggest jumper, they compete with dogs that jump in the same division.

How can you teach your dog to run and jump into the water? 

Your best bet is to try to take your dog somewhere where you can get in the water with him if you had to. We always suggest a river or lake with a gradual decline. You bring your dog’s favorite toy, and toss it in short – making it as easy for your dog to bend just a little bit to retrieve it. Praise your dog as soon as he gets it. Slowly, toss it farther and farther away. Your dog’s confidence builds each time they have to get the toy and you praise him. Eventually, your dog will have to swim to get it.

REMEMBER, this is a gradual process. Don’t do too much in one day. You can go again the next day. Have the swim vest on hand in case you think that he needs it, and be ready to jump in too…a lot of times a dog will learn to s