A Guide to Dock Diving

Dog Diving is a sport for dogs that love water and like to fetch. Coming from the USA, dog jumping into the water is also spreading more and more in Europe. In this article, you will find out which requirements your dog should meet and which disciplines dog diving offers.

What is Dog Diving?

Dog diving is a dog sport in which a dog jumps off a ramp into the water as far or as high as possible. Translated, dog diving means “diving dogs”. The lively water sport is in vogue. More and more people with water-loving dogs are getting interested in what started in the US in 1997 and is now an official sport. In 2017, the European Championships in Dog Diving were even held in Germany.

Dog Diving is a water sport for dogs who like to jump in to cool water and fetch. Coming from the USA, it is also always trendy in Europe.

Requirements for Dog Diving

Dog diving is suitable for dogs that love water and like to fetch. Passionate about floating through the air when jumping from a platform into the water in order to then fetch objects from the cool water.

As with all dog sports, the health and anatomical requirements for dog diving should also be right. Dogs that have cardiovascular problems, suffer from shortness of breath, suffer from joint damage, or are prone to ear infections should not jump into the pool.

The Dog Diving Sports Facility

When it comes to dog diving, there are regulations about the dimensions of the diving platform and the water basin, so that the safety of the dogs is guaranteed. The dog diving pool has a minimum size of 5×10 meters and a minimum depth of 1.20 meters. The run-up and take-off area is 6×3 meters. The surface of this platform is a rubber mat with grooves or grass carpet.

The jumping edge of the platform is about 20 centimeters above the water surface. There is an easy exit for the dogs at the edge of the pool. When training with beginner dogs, there will always be people in the pool. In Germany, Austria, and the sweat there are more and more dog diving schools and facilities.

When Can You Start Dog Diving?

When you realize that you have a water-loving dog that likes to fetch, you can slowly and age-appropriately start dog diving training.

Dog Diving as a Tournament Sport: Popular Disciplines

Dogs participating in the tournaments must be at least nine months old and have passed the Companion Dog Test.

There are three disciplines in dog diving:

  • Big air
  • Extreme Vertical
  • Speed retrieve

Big air

This discipline is about the distance of the jump. The dog jumps from the take-off area into the water. For this, he can get a run-up of four to six meters. To keep the dog motivated, it jumps after a dummy, which is thrown into the water as it runs and jumps. Throwing treats or food into the water is prohibited during tournaments. The dog must jump voluntarily. Any pushing or shoving is prohibited and will be severely punished.

In the tournament, each dog has two or three jumps that he has to complete within 2 minutes. The sum of the jump distances forms the result. The dogs are divided into two classes. In Germany, these are Small – for all dogs with a shoulder height of fewer than 39 centimeters. And Large – for everyone over 40 centimeters.

An electronic video measuring system is used to determine how far a dog jumps through the air. From the video, the image is chosen in which the dog is 50 percent immersed in the water. The distance from the front edge of the pedestal to the tip of the dog’s nose is the determined width for the evaluation. The dog that jumps the furthest wins. Big Air is the most popular discipline in dog diving and the only one in Germany where tournaments are held.

Extreme Vertical

Unlike Big Air, Extreme Vertical is all about the best jump height. The landing platform and the pool of water are identical to those in the Big Air. In the Extreme Vertical, the dog has to grab a suspended dummy that is above the water while jumping. With each new run, the dummy is hung a little higher. The dog that grabs the highest hanging dummy wins.

Speed retrieve

The Speed-Retrieve discipline is not about distance or height, but about speed. The dog runs over the jumping platform, jumps into the water, swims through the dog diving pool, and grabs a dummy that is attached to the opposite edge of the pool. The dog that completes this task in the shortest amount of time is the winner.

Where Can I Train Dog Diving?

To ensure the safety of the dog, you should train in a dog diving school with a professional pool area.

What Does Dog Diving Do for Dogs?

The physical workload is high when dog diving. Strong muscles are built up without putting too much strain on the joints. The heart and circulation are strengthened and just as important, a good portion of courage is trained. The mental workload is higher in other dog sports such as agility or trailing. But dog diving is not undemanding, because basic obedience must also be trained. At the end of the day, what matters is that dogs and humans have fun together. This strengthens the relationship and balance in everyday life.

Which Dogs are Suitable for Dog Diving?

As you can imagine, retriever breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are naturally at the forefront here. The same goes for the water-loving shepherd dogs, water dogs, and Jack Russell Terriers. But basically, you can say that all dogs that like to swim, jump into the water, and fetch are suitable for this sport. Small, short-legged dogs that cannot swim very well due to their anatomy are unlikely to be enthusiastic about this sport. Even water-shy dogs should not be forced to practice water sports.

Which Dogs are Suitable for Dog Diving?

A healthy dog that likes to swim and fetch is required. Retriever breeds, shepherd dogs, or Jack Russell Terriers are often seen at dog diving events.

When Can You Start Dog Diving?

When you realize that your dog may have been a seal in its first life, you can introduce him to dog diving slowly and carefully. Overload must be avoided. It is important that the dog enjoys jumping into the water and retrieving. Dogs from the age of nine months are usually allowed in tournaments.

Tips to Get You Started: How to Teach Your Dog Dog Diving

The first thing in the program is the retrieval training in the field. A toy or dummy must be returned on command. If this works safely, the dog goes into the water to get the thrown dummy out on command. This is followed by the construction of the dummy apport with a jump into the water. First, you jump from a flat jetty to get the object out of the water. The jump height is gradually increased until a maximum of 20 centimeters is reached. Only when the dog is safe do you work on speed and jumping distance at the end.

Note: Caution should be exercised when letting your dog jump into a lake or river outdoors. You always have to make sure that there are no sharp objects such as branches or even shards of glass bottles in the water that could injure the dog. Bodies of water can also have dangerous undercurrents that can drive the dog away from the shore. The dog can then no longer manage to get to the shore on its own.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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