Dock diving is a fun event for dogs who love to chase and to swim. Competitions are designed for getting a dog to jump as far or as high as possible into a pool of water, to retrieve a toy thrown by her owner. Although most water retrieving dogs excel at dock diving, any dog can be trained to participate in the sport.
Things You'll Need
- Retrieving bumper or other floating toy
- Boat dock or dock diving pool
- Adjustable hurdles (optional)
Introduce Your Dog to Water
Bring your dog to a creek, a lake or another body of water. Your dog should be able to walk into and out of the water with ease. Guide her in and out of the water as needed.
Play games with your dog in the shallow water. Introduce your dog’s dock-diving toy into the games as she grows comfortable with the water.
Ask your dog to retrieve the toy. Gradually increase the distance of the retrieve and the depth of the water until she is comfortable with swimming and retrieving.
Introduce Your Dog to the Dock
Introduce your dog to the pool exit ramp or boat ramp before bringing her onto the dock. She should be allowed to become comfortable in the shallow water before being brought to the dock.
Allow your dog to step onto the dock. If you are using a floating boat dock to train, she might feel uncomfortable with its movement under her feet.
Bring your dog to the end of the dock. Tease her with her toy until she becomes excited and wants to catch it.
Drop your dog’s toy into the water. Encourage her to retrieve her toy. Jump into the water and coax her in if she is reluctant to jump or slide into the water.
Refine Your Technique
Practice tossing your dog’s toy for her to catch while on dry land. Begin by tossing it to her, then tossing it a short distance ahead of her for her to chase and catch. Gradually increase the distance of your toss, encouraging her to catch the toy as you do so.
Introduce her to running and jumping after the toy on the dock. This activity will have a different sound and sensation, which might surprise her at first. Let her adjust to the dock before tossing her toy from it.
Repeat the process of gradually increasing toss distance from the end of the dock. Back her up from the end of the dock, increasing wait time as well as distance. Encourage your dog to chase the toy as you throw it into the water.