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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Leap into a New Dog Sport - DockDogs

Zulu Doing DockDogs (click on this link to see a video)

Yesterday, Dan and I took a leap (literally) and tried a sport called DockDogs.

DockDogs has several events to compete in so Dan and I decided to focus on one called Big Air. The idea was simple - see how far your dog can jump into a pool of water. DockDogs provides the 40’ long dock so the dogs can get a running start, as well as the 40’+ pool for a soft and fun landing.

We provided a toy for our dogs to run, chase and dive after as well as permission and encouragement to be as wild and excited as they could get. Zulu, our Border Collie and Burton, our Chocolate Lab were the two dogs who joined us since they are our water and toy maniacs!

Last week we had planned to head on over to our friend’s house to borrow their dock and lake to acquaint our dogs with the notion of diving, but unfortunately life threw us a curve ball when Spot passed away. So instead we went to Plan B which in our household is commonly called “The Wing-It” Plan.

Dan had to work so I headed over to the Spring Puyallup Fair on my own with both dogs, all of the supplies (including a camcorder) and a huge smile on my face. I was excited! After a review of the rules (no pushing or assisting dogs into the water, no live or formally living ‘toys’ can be used, etc.) it was my time up on deck for Zulu’s introduction.

The DockDogs folks as well as several of the competitors were awesome and walked me through the basics. Zulu was excited to see the water, but diving off of a ramp 2’ above can be a daunting experience, so to start him off, we simply dropped the toy into the water. After quite a bit of squealing, barking and enticement from us, he finally jumped in and proceeded to do a few victory laps around the pool after retrieving his toy. With all of the pre-jump activity, I figured he deserved the opportunity to wave at his new-found fans! Burton’s reaction was exactly the same and soon, both dogs were dragging me up the steps to the pool deck wanting more.

Dan arrived in time to see Burton’s second training run and after seeing his success, he was a proud Dad! After handing Burton off, Dan jumped in line as he was anxious to give this new sport a try for himself. Keith and Beth had arrived earlier with Jazzy so we had a chance to turn this new adventure into a family event and the men bonded while waiting for their dock time.

In summary, our dogs loved it, we loved it and now Dan’s asking when we can go back for more. I have to say that all of the encouragement from our more experienced DockDog friends across the country really helped to make the event for us. They answered our questions, put us at ease (after all, we were the new kids on the block) and celebrated our accomplishments and enthusiasm at the end of the day.

This was another great example of how going out on a limb (or in this case taking a leap) to jump into a whole new world is worth the risk. Heck, I could have ended up face first in a pool of water (and thanks to Burton, I almost did) but instead I came away with some great video of my dog having a blast, memories of my husband thriving on the fun he was having with his dog and a chance to hang out and start a new sport with my in-laws.

As for the dogs, the experience and their reactions are almost indescribable and unbelievable! Let’s just say they squealed, barked, were wide-eyed, howled, cried and pulled us around all in the name of excitement, anticipation, pleasure and happiness.

So, if your dog likes water you should give DockDogs a try!


  1. barbara utterbackApril 17, 2010 at 5:58 PM

    LIsa where the video, my daughter would love video of zulu diving,

  2. Hey Barbara, I'm trying to the videos loaded up here, but I'm in a hotel with very slowwwww service. I'll keep trying!

  3. I went to a dock dogs event with my BC las summer and he loved it and won first place in his division, too, it was so much fun!

  4. Hey Barbara (and others) Here's a great video of Zulu doing DockDogs. There are two runs on this video...I think you'll laugh and enjoy it!