So You Think Your Dog Can Swim
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 swim on the fly if their owner jumps in first!
Once you get your dog swimming like a fish, just bring him out to an event to try our “Practice Time”. Jumping into a swimming pool is A LOT different than a lake or river. You’ll need our help to get your dog confident jumping into a pool
Tell us a little about Anubis Air dogs.
We are a local dock jumping club in the Roanoke, Virginia area. We are all about having fun with your dogs and other people with the same interest.
How can readers find out more about the sport and the local group?
If you have a list of dates for practice or events, please include that as well. You can look at Anubis Air Dogs for upcoming events. If you’re not in the Roanoke, Virginia area, there’s a link to Ultimate Air Dogs that you can maybe find an event close to where you live. We have six events between now and October. There is no regularly scheduled practice time. A couple of days (or hours) before, I’ll post it on the Anubis Air Dog’s Facebook group page.
The first event of the local dock diving season will be held this weekend at White Rock Winery, 2117 Bruno Drive, Goodview. The fun starts each day at 11am with the finals held Sunday at 3:30. The event is free.