Dock Diving

Dock jumping also known as dock diving is an aquatic dog sport in which dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water.

The German Shorthaired Pointers excel in enthusiasm, their physical makeup make jumping a breeze, and their webbed feet make swimming easy! Dock diving events are fun for the whole family! The folks running the events are very patient and love to help teach dogs to swim and dive.

If your dog loves the water this may be the sport for you to try. There is nothing as amazing as watching your dog fly through the air!

A Bit of History

Dock jumping first appeared in 1997 at the Incredible Dog Challenge, an event sponsored and produced by pet food manufacturer Purina. In the United States, DockDogs was established in 2000; its first event was at the ESPN 2000 Great Outdoors Games competition. North American Diving Dogs was formed in 2014 and offers diving dog titles recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC only recognizes titles earned through the NADD.
The Dock
The dock is usually 35 to 40 ft (11 to 12 m) long by 8 ft (2.4 m) wide and 2 ft (0.6 m) above the water surface, but may differ depending on the sanctioning organization. Any body of water or pool that is at least 4 ft (1.2 m) deep can be used. The dock is covered in artificial turf, carpet, or a rubber mat for better traction and safety for the competitors. The handler may use any amount of the dock and they may start their dog from any point on the dock when competing.

Official Jump Distance:

The jump distance is measured, by most organizations, from the lateral midpoint of the end of the dock to the point at which the base of the dog’s tail (where the tail meets the body) breaks the water’s surface. Purina’s Incredible Diving Dog event measures the distance to the point that the dog’s nose is at when its body enters the water. The jump distance is measured electronically using digital video freeze frame technology or, in some cases, is measured manually by judges.

Each team takes two jumps in round-robin format. The longer of the two jumps is that team’s score for that competition. A jump in which the dog’s tail enters the water at a point further from the dock than another part of the dog’s body is scored using the point of the dog (for example, the head/nose) that breaks the surface of the water closest to the dock. If the dog’s strides are off so that the dog starts its jump before the end of the dock that is a disadvantage, because the jump is always judged from the edge of the dock, not from where the dog leaves the dock. A jump is only official if or when the toy leaves the handler’s hand. The dog is not required to retrieve the toy for the jump to count.

There are two different techniques that can be used to encourage the dog to jump into the water: A place and send jump and a chase jump

Place and send
Walk the dog to the end of the dock and or, hold the dog back while throwing the toy into the water. Walk the dog back to the starting point, place the dog, and then release or send the dog to go get the toy. This is effective for dogs that are not trained to wait or stay on the dock, especially if they have a lot of speed and can compensate for the lack of lift at the end of the dock.
The dog is placed in a stay or wait at its starting position on the dock. The handler walks to the end of the dock holding the toy, then calls the dog and throws the toy, trying to keep the toy just in front of the dog’s nose so they chase it into the water. The goal is to use this method to get the dog at the optimum launch angle to increase distance by getting him to jump up, instead of just out or flat, as with place and send. The chase method is difficult to master. However, if the dog is toy-driven, he can be trained to follow the toy.

There are several registries for dock diving – North American Dock Dogs (NADD):    Ultimate Air Dogs:   and Dock Dogs: .  In all registries there are different titles (novice, junior, senior, master, and elite) that you can earn based on how far your dog jumps.  They need to earn a specific number of jumps within that title class.