Yes, These Dogs Really Do Dive Off Docks For Sport
Water sports are going to the dogs. Competitive dock diving (or jumping, depending on your parlance) boils down to dogs taking running leaps into a pool or lake, often catching a thrown target on the way down. Points are awarded for distance and height, not style—but c'mon, look at those shots! These pups have the flair of a snowboarder on the half-pipe.
As dock diving has gained prominence on TV over the past 20 years, classes have sprung up across the country for pets and owners. (Google, and you're sure to find one near you.) Just like traditional agility training, dock diving can help you strengthen your relationship with your pet. "It truly is a team sport between you and your dog," says Shannon Davis, who owns Southtown K9, a practice and training facility in Rock Falls, Illinois.
Not a dog owner? Dock jumping is absolutely a spectator sport. Find events (when they begin happening again) at dockdogs.com.
Can Any Dog Do It?
Yes—if a pet meets these criteria, which can all be cultivated with kindhearted, patient training.
Swim Skills Dogs all paddle intuitively, but they can't all capably stay afloat for long.
Play Drive Your dog needs to show motivation to play with toys (i.e., loves fetch).
Confidence Some of us like to ease into the water gingerly; some of us like the high dive. Dogs are no different.