Border Terriers Rule the Pool
Here, in the United States, Border Terriers are excelling at the fun sport of Dock Diving. It is a simple, yet exciting activity that all breeds are welcome to participate in. No matter size or athletic ability, dogs seem to be taking to this craziness like ducks. As usual, Border Terriers have shown once again, what a fabulous versatile dog they are. We have had four National Champions over the past 10 years, and one dog (see here) Meadowlake Buckeroo Banzai, (Banzai) who was inducted into the North American Dock Diving (NADD) Hall of Fame. Mostly though, we have a great deal of fun. The crowds love it and we all cheer each dog on!
There are a few games within the sport that the dogs can play. The most common is the Distance Jump. This is exactly as it sounds. The dog runs full speed ahead and launches off the end of the dock. The length of jump is measured by the spot where the dog’s butt lands. This is the most well known activity, but there are other fun games. An audience favorite is called “Air Retrieve”. In this activity, the dog runs full speed ahead but must catch a bumper in the air (See Photo of Meadowlake Buckeroo Banzai). It is incredible to watch the athleticism of these pups. There is also the Sprint to the end of the pool. Ch. Sunkist Shooting for the Moon (Luna) seen…coming into the camera.) was a National Sprinting champion 5 years ago. She could actually beat the labs. Amazingly, all sizes and breeds of dogs participate from miniature Dachsunds to Swiss Mountain Dogs.
Dock Diving begins with teaching the dog how to swim. This may seems obvious, but I have seen people take their dogs to the end of a dock and try to jump them. Sometimes, I have seen people push them in. There is no better way to turn a dog off to this sport.
The key to dock diving joy, is the ramp, the toy, and connection between the dog and owner. When I say ramp, I mean that a canine dock diving pool has a ramp on the side of the dock that ALL dogs, no matter the size learn to swim off of and retire to. It is their safety place, and once they are aware that they can get there, one can see their confidence increase by leaps and bounds and the fun has begun.
Once the dog learns they can jump off the ramp, and get out of the pool on their own, they like the water, they take to getting the toy, like a dog after a rat. Yup! So they must have something that they are driven to get. It does not matter what that is by the way. I have seen little shark toys and big ol’ bumpers. As long as the dog loves it, that’s all that matters.
Dock diving is the ultimate in team coordination. It is the handler’s job, to throw that toy at the right time, at the right angle, while the dog is going full speed, so they can catch it or jump as far as they can. I gained a great deal of respect for football quarterbacks during this process. An under thrown ball means a dog might hook back, which can cause a neck or back sprain. An overthrown ball means dog won’t catch it. And a ball perfectly thrown at the right angle means a perfect jump!!!
I believe the enclosed photos capture the joy of the sport. And that is what Dock Diving is all about. Fun, Fun, Fun!!