Make a splash! All you need to know about Dock Diving for dogs

Make a splash! All you need to know about Dock Diving for dogs

What is dock diving, what do you need, and how do you get started? Get the Dock Diving lowdown!

Antinol Team

By Antinol Team

What is dock diving?

Zoom, jump, splash.  Dock diving is a fairly new kid in town when it comes to canine sports, but it's growing faster than you can say "soggy spaniel"! 

Dogs compete in jumping the furthest from a purpose-built platform into a swimming pool. It's fast-paced and exciting, and the dogs can't get enough of the action!Labrador dog jumping into pool at dock diving competition

What dock diving equipment do you need?

Most people don't have a suitable swimming pool with a non-slip jumping platform in their backyard, so you're most likely to start your training at a specialist pool where almost everything is provided for you.

You'll need to bring your own towel, ball, and a toy that floats. You might also need a canine life vest, but many classes provide them if necessary. 

The diving platform (or diving board) is at least 40 feet long and about 8ft wide to give your pooch enough space to make their run-up and launch. It sits 2ft above the surface of the water. They're covered in a non-slip surface, such as rubber tiles or artificial turf. 

The pool itself must be at least 41 feet long and 21 feet wide. It has a safe exit ramp or steps out, and the water is 4 feet deep. 

How do you "dock dive"? 

There are two main dock diving disciplines: distance jumping and air retrieve.

Distance Jumping

Each team (a dog and handler) has two jumps from the dock—known as a "splash." The farthest of the two jumps is their qualifying score. The dog who jumps the farthest wins. 

The jump distance is measured from the dock to the base of the dog's tail as it enters the water.

Air Retrieve

collie dog grabbing air retrieve dock diving bumperAn Air Retrieve rig hangs above the pool. The rig holds a "bumper" (toy). Competing dogs jump from the dock and grab the bumper. They don't have to catch it fully, but to qualify, the bumper must be removed from the rig. 

The rig starts between 4 and 6 feet from the dock, depending on the size of the dogs. After each round, the rig moves further away in 1-foot increments.

Each team has two tries at each distance from the dock. They are out if they miss twice in one splash or three times in total. Their qualifying score is then the furthest distance they successfully made the grab.

The winner is the dog who completed successful grabs at the farthest distance from the dock. 

What makes a good dock diving dog?

Any dog can excel at dog diving as long as they are confident, love the water, and are motivated by toys or balls. 

Retriever breeds tend to do well in competitive dock diving, but surprisingly, the breed that excels most is the whippet. Of the top 10 dogs in the NADD's 2021 season. 60% were whippets! 

Can any dog enjoy dock diving?

Yes, pretty much any dog over the age of 6 months can get involved in dock diving. There are no breed restrictions, and mixed breeds are just as successful as pedigrees.

If you have a brachycephalic breed, get them checked over by your vet before starting your training.

If you have a floppy-eared breed, such as a spaniel, or a dog prone to ear infections, make sure to keep an eye on their ears. If you have any concerns that they have an ear infection, consult with your veterinarian.

Dog splashing into dock diving pool

Where can I learn dock diving with my dog?

If you have a water-monster dog, no doubt you're now ready to hit the pool! 

Reach out to local dog trainers who could point you to your nearest facility or join a local North American Diving Dogs club. 

Antinol - Official Joint Supplement of the NADD

Of course, you want to keep your dog as active and excited by life as possible—for as long as possible. That’s why Antinol has partnered with the North American Diving Dogs as their joint supplement partner. 

Our joint supplement is backed by science, and 90% of pets showed improvement with Antinol in the case of mobility. 

NADD and NADAA members can grab a special affiliate Antinol discount today. Give Antinol a try for your dog; risk-free—and get happiness in motion.  

Want to try another canine sport - check out our canine sports lowdown. Everything you need to know about the top 3 canine sports.

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