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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm on yet another information search!

I'm just starting to learn about dock diving and am curious to hear different people's opinions about it. I have heard a lot of people talk about how fun it is and have also talked with a few different breeders who believe it can be bad for the dogs.

Just curious what others think about it. And, if you are in favor, at what age would you be comfortable starting your dog?
 

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I'd be interested in the answers you get from this post. I think dock diving would be a blast, and I want to try it some day. However the water landing, basically a belly flop, looks like it could be painful.
 

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Quiz and I particpate and both really enjoy it. As for the belly flop factor, it's not really any different than dogs who leap into an in-ground pool or even those dogs with big, impressive water entries in the field.

What I WON'T do, however, is participate in the Super Vertical competition where the objective is for the dog to jump high up to nab a bumper off a hanging target. Too many dogs hit the water with their heads turned to one side or the other, basically twisting their necks. In my mind, that creates a much greater potential for injury as compared to when the dog is looking straight ahead and focused on jumping long not high.
 

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It's a blast! We just started getting into it this summer with Tucker. We can't wait to really get back into it next spring/summer. Tucker loves the water, so it's the perfect sport for him and is a great way to keep him active during the summer months. We are supposedly going to be getting a Dock Dogs club in our area since there was such a huge interest from people who attended the events that were here this summer. It can become really addictive!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What about the impact on their front ends? It seems that it would be best to wait for jumps like that - even into the water - until they are 18-24 months just like agility, no? And even then is it safe on their front ends?
 

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What about the impact on their front ends? It seems that it would be best to wait for jumps like that - even into the water - until they are 18-24 months just like agility, no? And even then is it safe on their front ends?
It's a good question... I wouldn't think that the surfact tension of the water would be great enough to create too much impact on the dog's structure, but honestly, I can't say for sure. Would be interesting to ask a vet.

Usually, much of the dog's body is hitting the water at the same time vs. just the front end at once, so what impact does exist should be pretty evenly dispersed throughout the body.
 

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What I WON'T do, however, is participate in the Super Vertical competition where the objective is for the dog to jump high up to nab a bumper off a hanging target. Too many dogs hit the water with their heads turned to one side or the other, basically twisting their necks. In my mind, that creates a much greater potential for injury as compared to when the dog is looking straight ahead and focused on jumping long not high.
Totally agree. I worry way too much about injury in the EV events. The only ones we'll ever let Tucker do are big air and speed retrieve.
 

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Tally, Tango, and my past golden Raleigh all are/were all natural, self-motivated dock divers; Finn, Acadia, and Joplin will jump off, but not in such a crazy arc over the water. I think dock diving seems fun and easy for the "naturals" but I doubt if I could teach the other three to be very good! It seems fun, and I hope LibertyME will take me along next summer to try it out. I am curious about why it would be bad for the dogs?

 

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I'm also curious why it would be bad for dogs? Tito was over 2 when we started, just because we didn't know anything about it, but I can't imagine that I'd have held him back prior to that. The "belly flop" is spread out over a large area, and the dock is only 2 feet above the pool.
I agree about extreme vertical, however.
But watch out for limp tail syndrome, sheeeeeeeesh.
 

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Our vet said no problem, the water is sufficient cushion and at an event or practice, it's not like your doing it hundreds of times.
 

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It is a lot of fun...the dogs go nuts for it...even dogs like Trace who has a personal best of ummmm 4' and a few inches! LOL

Like any dog sport...I suppose there are measured risks...
I would think the risks increase as the dogs start jumping ALOT. Or for dogs that are waaay out of shape. Many dogs that jump competitively wear vests for chest protection.

There are some folks that have very intense dogs that can jump crazy distances... (ummmmm GRFs own Tito and Quiz!) Typically those are dog that are very physically fit and have handlers that are very intuned with there dogs...

DockDogs has a messageboard where you can read and ask questions...Im sure the other groups like SplashDogs do too...

Jill...youve got a deal girl! I would like Lexi to give it a whirl next summer at the Maine event ;-)
Can wait for summer!
 

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Like all dog events there is an chance for injury. I also believe like all sports you must be fit, and you must not over do. The events I go to I see individuals hogging the dock jumping TOP jumping dogs a lot. I mean maybe in the course of a day doing 50 or more jumps. That increases the risk. I think basic "big air" jumps you have the least amount of injury risk, vertical jumping the most.

In big air, the dog runs down the dock and jumps. If they take a bad step they could slip off the dock and they could pull a muscle etc. However they are landing in water so that "helps". Don't get me wrong hitting water can be hard, but it is based on the dogs speed, velocity etc. Teddi does not run hard down the dock, and jumps with medium velocity. I could encourage her more, but because of her hips, I just let her do what makes her happy. She LOVES to swim that is for sure.

In vertical jumping I don't think enough research has been done. I honestly think they need to get a physicist involved to figure out how to play the game to reduce risk. The bumper is suspended 8' from the edge of the dock, and is raised as the dogs make successful grabs. The record is 8+ feet. When the dogs hit the mid 6' range, I start seeing dog landing on their backs in the water, and the pool only being 4' deep I am SURE dogs hit the bottom. Are they hitting hard enough for injury? Maybe not but not hitting the bottom at all would be better. I think as the bumper raises it should move further away from the dock so the dogs do not flip on their backs getting vertical height. Of course then you would not have as many dogs making successful grabs. I know I would NEVER do vertical with my dogs.

I do also think dock jumping can be hard on a dogs back. However so is agility. I like dock jumping, it is something my dogs and I can do together, however it does not involve a lot of training and for that reason I prefer other games. In dock jumping you really can not "train" the dog. The object of the game is the dog retrieves the toy thrown in the water. Whether the dog jumps 30 feet, or falls off the edge of the dock, they get the reward. Either the dog jumps big or it does not.

Just to repeat, I think people who do not get their dogs fit in the first place or over do are the dogs who will be most likely to get hurt. This does NOT include cold tail. That I don't know how it happens it just does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am curious about why it would be bad for the dogs?
I don't know that it is - that's why I asked. I don't know anything about it, so I was just exploring more about it.
 

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I run the heck out of my dogs every day, and several of them leap off a small "pier" into the water dozens of times several days a week- including my puppy. They are so fit and muscled- I think it's way better than road work and is great. Mostly they run through the sand (it's only a short strip of pavement, bc this thing I am describing it's really a pier, I don't know what it is, honestly). Running in beach sand is awesome for them. There is a raised 10 inch or so high border to the pier too, so they jump over that and into the water.
 

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I'm looking forward to the Spring, and hoping that I can find a place in Toronto where I can bring Molson to try out dock diving. He will be about 18 months then. I won't plan on training hard at all with him but I would like him to get some exposure to it while he is still young. He tried it once this year but with a record of about 10", his sommersault off the dock wasn't such a great 1st experience ;)
 

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I want to make a slight correction here....while I LOVE the fact that you called Tito a big jumper, he's not! His personal best is 16' 4", which is really pretty short compared to the 22-24 feet some of the goldens are jumping! But he's lovin' it, so we're doin' it!!


It is a lot of fun...the dogs go nuts for it...even dogs like Trace who has a personal best of ummmm 4' and a few inches! LOL

Like any dog sport...I suppose there are measured risks...
I would think the risks increase as the dogs start jumping ALOT. Or for dogs that are waaay out of shape. Many dogs that jump competitively wear vests for chest protection.

There are some folks that have very intense dogs that can jump crazy distances... (ummmmm GRFs own Tito and Quiz!) Typically those are dog that are very physically fit and have handlers that are very intuned with there dogs...

DockDogs has a messageboard where you can read and ask questions...Im sure the other groups like SplashDogs do too...

Jill...youve got a deal girl! I would like Lexi to give it a whirl next summer at the Maine event ;-)
Can wait for summer!
 

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I would also like to add something, this was in another thread recently but bears repeating.
For dock diving, agility, or ANY competitive dog sport be sure to warm your dog up, first! There are some great stretches you can/should do, and be sure to trot him around a bit to get the muscles moving and blood flowing. Just like humans, sudden bursts of extreme activity on cold muscles isn't a good thing, even if your dogs are young!
 

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It is a lot of fun...the dogs go nuts for it...even dogs like Trace who has a personal best of ummmm 4' and a few inches! LOL

Like any dog sport...I suppose there are measured risks...
I would think the risks increase as the dogs start jumping ALOT. Or for dogs that are waaay out of shape. Many dogs that jump competitively wear vests for chest protection.

There are some folks that have very intense dogs that can jump crazy distances... (ummmmm GRFs own Tito and Quiz!) Typically those are dog that are very physically fit and have handlers that are very intuned with there dogs...

DockDogs has a messageboard where you can read and ask questions...Im sure the other groups like SplashDogs do too...

Jill...youve got a deal girl! I would like Lexi to give it a whirl next summer at the Maine event ;-)
Can wait for summer!
We're definitely doing it again next summer! I already bought some new water Wubbas for chase objects! We still need to find a better place to practice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks everyone for your input! This has been enlightening. Thanks LibertyME for the board suggestions too. I'll have to check those out.
 
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