Summer 2023 was undoubtedly a season of wet, happy dogs and proud puppy parents at Southern Water Dogs, as we dove headfirst into the sport of dog dock diving. From young pups taking their inaugural leaps into the pool to seasoned jumpers aiming to break their personal records, each weekly dock diving session was one for the photobooks.
What is Dock Diving?
For those unfamiliar with the sport, dock diving is a registered canine competition called the North America Diving Dogs (NADD) where dogs jump off a regulated dock to retrieve a toy, competing for either distance, height, or speed. Dogs are assigned an NADD number at the time of registration, and all jumps are tracked for the purposes of earning titles and ribbons. Check out this news story with the world record holder, and we can promise your socks will be knocked clean off.
Born out of a dog’s love for water, it’s an excellent way for dogs to burn off energy, stay fit, enjoy a bit of healthy competition, and have an absolute blast in the process. However, many of the dogs who participated in our weekly classes were still learning to enjoy the sport, and the goal was to simply introduce the pup to water.
Southern Water Dogs, known for our commitment to fostering water-related activities for dogs, decided to take it a notch higher this summer. Our lessons were crafted to cater to all levels:
Beginners: Tailored for dogs that might be tentative about water or the act of jumping. Here, our team joined up with Kabler School for Dogs ensuring a slow, positive introduction to the dock, water, and the joy of the leap.
Intermediate: For dogs already familiar with water and might have taken a few jumps. This level focused on improving technique, confidence, and maximizing the jump’s distance or height.
Advanced: This was for the pros, aiming to break their personal records and perfect their form. It was less about getting them to jump and more about the minute aspects of posture, timing, and toy retrieval. Hint: the training always seems to be more about training the handler than the dog!
Highlights of the Summer
Puppy Plunges: One of the best parts of the summer was seeing how many dogs were exposed to swimming for the very first time! Witnessing the sheer determination (and sometimes initial hesitation) of the little ones as they took their leaps was a sight to behold. We had our non-waterproof iPhones at the ready, and tried to capture as many adorable videos and photos as possible.
Record Breakers: We had a few seasoned jumpers who outdid themselves, breaking their personal records with longer jump distances. Some of those pups competed in local diving competitions and brought home ribbons for their achievements. We are so proud of these dogs, but you know what? The dogs are even prouder of themselves! It’s incredible to see a dog’s delight in fulfilling his dreams.
The Community Spirit
The success of these lessons wasn’t solely because of the excellent trainers at Kabler School for Dogs or the enthusiastic dogs, but also the community. Owners cheered on their furry family members, shared tips with one another, celebrated each other’s successes, and consoled any dog that had a less than perfect day. It was this spirit of camaraderie that made the dock diving events truly special.
With the overwhelming success and positive feedback, Southern Water Dogs is excited to continue offering dock diving lessons at the Kabler School for Dogs facility next summer, too. For those who missed out or are eager to dive back in, next summer promises to be even bigger and better.
In the meantime, keep sending us new ideas for water fun with your dog, and we’ll see you next summer!