Dock Dogs!

This informative article was written by Nancy Akin of Team 4 Dawgs Flite.


Dixie Dock Dogs – Dock Diving in Georgia


Also known as dock jumping, the sport of dock diving is a rapidly growing sport in the United States. Most competitions are held in a regulation dock diving pool, while some competitions are in a natural body of water.

 Anyone can enter his or her dog in a DockDogs competition. The only requirements are that the dog is at least six months old and is current on all shots. You do not have to wait until your dog is an accomplished jumper. There is always open dock practice time at each event and staff members to help you.

There are only a few simple rules you need to remember:

  • When not on the dock, keep your dog on a leash (no longer than 4 ft.) or in a crate.
  • Your throw object must float and not be edible or anything that is live or has been live.
  • Only one handler on the dock at a time.
  • No training collars allowed on the dock, only flat collars are allowed.

The #1 rule to remember, however, is to have FUN with your dog!

Dock diving has three sporting disciplines. Your dog may participate in one, two, or all three of these disciplines.



BIG AIR – Measuring Distance   

Big Air is the most popular discipline, as this is what most people think of when they hear the term dock diving. In Big Air, the dog runs down the dock and jumps out for a toy that has been thrown into or out over the water. The measurement is taken at the point at which the base of the dog’s tail (where it meets the body) hits the water. With 90 seconds to execute each jump, the team is given two jumps in each wave with the longer of the jumps being their official score for that wave.

There are two methods of jumping your dog in Big Air. These two methods, known at The Chase and Place and Send, are described in the articles below. You may use either method.

These articles will give you more information and tips for jumping your dog in Big Air

Teaching Your Dog to Dock Dive: That First Jump     Form and Distance

Link to a short video showing Big Air jumps.

EXTREME VERTICAL – Measuring Height

Extreme Vertical is an exciting discipline that has the dog jumping up to grab a bumper. In Extreme Vertical, a DockDogs bumper is suspended from an extender 8 ft. out from the dock and at heights ranging from 4’6″ up to as high as a dog can jump. (The current record is 8 ft.) The bumper is moved up in increments as the participating dogs execute the jumps.

The dog begins his run anywhere in front of the 20 ft. line on the dock and has 60 seconds to complete each jump. The bumper must be either snatched cleanly or completely knocked down into the water by the dog in order for the jump to count.

Each dog is given two chances to execute the jump at each height.

Link to a short video showing Extreme Vertical jumps.

SPEED RETRIEVE – Measuring Speed

Speed Retrieve is the newest of the dock diving disciplines and is quite exciting. A DockDogs Flappy (type of bumper) is hung at the end of the pool (or 38′ from the dock in a body of water). The dog is set by the handler at the 20 ft. mark on the dock. When the signal is given, the timer starts and the dog is released.The dog runs down the dock, jumps into the water, and swims down to the Flappy. When the dog grabs the Flappy and pulls it down, the timer stops

If the dog begins his run and crosses the 20 ft. line before the signal is given, it is considered a false start and the run does not count. The handler has 90 seconds to execute the run. Each team is given two runs in each heat with the faster of the two runs being the official score for that heat.

Link to a short video showing Speed Retrieve jumps.

IRON DOG – Measuring Endurance and Strength

Iron Dog is a Division for teams who participate in all three Disciplines. At each National event, and at some club events, if you enter at least one Big Air wave, one Speed Retrieve wave, and Extreme Vertical, then you qualify to enter the Iron Dog competition. Points are awarded for each score in each of the divisions. After the Finals, the Iron Dog winner and places are announced.