From LARPBO member Lori Miller
Good Morning LARPBO!!
I have been asked by a few people recently about the dock diving competitions that Dylan participates in. Lots of Who, What, Where and How? So, I thought I would share all info here in one spot for everyone to have.
Let me start by saying dock diving is tons of fun and any dog can have fun out there! It is not just for the high flying, flashy jumpers. There are different divisions that all dogs participate in, creating a level playing field. Your dogs do not need perfect obedience to participate. It is all about FUN!
Getting Started –
There are two places that we regularly practice at.
1. Sunny Dog Place – Located in Harbor City. They have an above ground pool with a dock. It is very user friendly, with deck that has a ramp into the pool for the dogs to walk up and out of the pool. You would start with a swimming evaluation before starting their dock diving classes. They have trainers on staff who will get in the water with your dog and help them get comfortable with the water. They also have life jackets for the beginners, seniors and just plain “non buoyant dogs” J. Its lots of fun, a nice controlled environment.
Note – SDP has group classes and private classes. If you are more comfortable with one on one time with your pup and the staff, ask them for that. They are happy to accommodate. Dylan’s BFF is Sox, a Husky/Dingo/Pit mix. Sox can be selective with her friends so we go as a private session together. They charge a very reasonable fee, usually by the hour.
SDP also provides their facility to groups like LARPBO for fundraising events.
2. Beach City Dogs – Located in Oceanside. This is a regulation sized pool and dock. Dock Diving competitions are held here. BCD has training classes on most weekends. One class is taught by Vit Kruml, who is a judge for Splash Dogs and has a past breed record holding Australian Shepherd. The other class is taught by Lise Strum who holds records with her high flying Belgian Malinois Vheobe. These two trainers are great people and love what they do. Just like LARPBO, they will help you at whatever level you are currently at.
Dock Diving Organizations –
There are three main dock diving organizations. All are basically the same. They are owned and operated by different groups and have some minor differences in their basic works but nothing big.
1. American Diving Dogs – Has local So Cal and Utah events. This organization is very rescue oriented and donates proceeds from their events to local 501c3 Rescue Organizations in support of their rescue efforts. The owners of this group are very experienced in dock diving and love helping new dogs get in the water. Tracy has been known to get out from behind the microphone and crawl down the ramp to help coax a dog into the water.
2. Splash Dogs – Has local So Cal, Nor Cal and events in the Western United States primarily. Great fun group, always has a practice pool and ramp (no dock) for new dogs to get accustomed to the water. You can pay a small fee for the day to take turns in the practice pool and if you want to try your luck on the dock, you can put that same fee toward a competition wave. Very fun people, fun events!
3. Dock Dogs – Has local and National events. Dock Dogs is a large organization with many local groups. SoCal Dock Dogs is a group that has many practice days at Prado Dog Park in Chino. Again, you have lots of great people involved, many with lots of experience and very happy to help new teams learn and enjoy the sport of dock diving.
Each of these groups has a Facebook page and websites. Go check them out!!
If your dog is not interested in jumping right away, do not get discouraged. Dylan has been going to events with me since I brought him home at 4 months old. I introduced him to the water immediately, slowly working him into the water. For the first 6 months, he sat on the ramp with his bum in the water and barked at his toys. He officially jumped off the dock for his first time when he was 10 months old. He is what we call a swim machine. Dylan is not as interested in the toy that is thrown for the jump. He is way more concerned about getting himself into the water!! In each competition wave, the dog gets two official jumps. Dylan usually gets 3 or 4 simply because he cannot contain himself and throws himself into the pool before they are ready for him.
There are only a couple rules in dock diving that we always adhere to – All breeds welcome, dogs must be properly managed at all times, clean up after your dogs, NO pushing your dog in the water and always HAVE FUN!
The dogs and I hope to see you out there!