Features July 2009 Issue

Dock Jumping for Dogs

“Dock jumping” sports are for water-loving, high-energy dogs.

Barking dogs, speakers announcing the dog on the dock and who’s on deck, handlers pleading with their dogs to Stay, stay, stay, okay, go get it! SPLASH! The audience cheers, oohs, aaahs, and claps wildly in support of a sport that brings a smile to the face of anyone watching or listening. There are a few different types of dock jumping competitions, with new ones being invented all the time. In most events, some aspect of a dog’s leap off a dock into the water is measured, with the highest or longest jump winning the class. Long jumps and high jumps both start with dog and handler climbing a short stairway to reach the top of a dock measuring about 8 feet by 40 feet (there is some variation to dock sizes). The handler brings a toy, which has been selected based on A) the dog’s obsession with it, and B) the ease and predictability with which it can be thrown beyond the edge of the dock into the pool. For standard dock jumping (which measures forward distance), the handler leaves the dog at the far end of the dock and walks to the end closest to the pool. She then releases the dog and throws the toy into the pool as far as she can, in order to motivate the dog to leap far into the pool to reach the toy. The current record is 28 feet, 10 inches.

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