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DockDogs Steal the Show

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

Dock Diving Dogs at the 2019 FL Field & Stream Expo

DockDogs National Qualifier, Florida

(full photo feature at end of article)

Outdoor Life/Field & Stream Expo, Florida came to Lakeland this year. Filled with classes, demonstrations, vendors and everything for the outdoors, the show was visited by thousands eager to see this national expo, but what they may not have expected as the show highlight for many was not a new bow, boat or camper, but dock diving dogs.

The DockDogs mobile dock joined the event this year and the dogs came from across the south-east to take on the challenges for watery fetch, distance and height jumps.

Dock Diving

Like many of the most popular games for dogs today, dock diving is a game with rural roots. Simply a game of toss and fetch into a body of water off a dock. Since then, the sport has become organized and much has been learned and adapted over time to see the games growth in all parts of the country.

Every league has their own names, rules and definitions for each game, but generally three common games are seen at most events. Distance, vertical and retrieve. The docks are elevated platforms with a long running surface before a forty-foot pool. The most popular and iconic games require a toy be tossed and the dog jumps for distance.

Dock Dogs

Though technically Dock Diving started at one of the games added in 1997 to the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge, it’s really been around since a dog first jumped in the water. Since 2000 multiple leagues have emerged with various games and rules leading to championship events. Of these DockDogs is the first and seen on ESPN annual Great Outdoor Games through 2006.

By then, the popularity of the DockDogs competitions has blossomed across the country with dozens of events across the nation.

If your dog loves to run, jump and swim then DockDogs is definitely the right place for you - Dock Dogs

While most competitions involve at least one person as a judge to determine distances, in DockDogs it is with markers and slow-motion cameras that capture each jump and then reviewed to gain an accurate measurement. This stop-action technology was developed by ESPN's MIS and is unique to DockDogs.

Longer, Higher, Faster

The Dock Dog games

Big Air®, Extreme Vertical, & Speed Retrieve® are DockDogs game titles for the distance, vertical retrieve and dash to the end of the pool to recover a fixed toy.

Big Air is the familiar distance jump. The team human tosses the toy and the dogs jump for distance. The measurement in DockDogs is unique though with their digital camera capturing an accurate measurement for the record.

Extreme Vertical requires more training but amps up the excitement as the dogs leap for a suspended toy above the pool that increases in height as the dogs defy gravity successfully.

Speed Retrieve is the water born equivalent of straight track racing for the dogs with a fixed toy at the far end of the pool, each dog is timed for the fastest retrieval. *See DockDogs website for more.

Getting Started

The best way to see if this is for your own Bad Azz Dogz is to see it. Florida has several permanent docks around the state and most offer training for your dog in a safe and measured process. Furthermore, mobile docks are often used at larger outdoor events, from dog shows to expos. Check our events calendar for coming events near you or see Dock Dogs "Dock Dogs 101" for more information on Dock Dogs league.

Attending an event is the first step. If you already play water fetch with your dog, perhaps you’ll even let them take that “leap of faith” as most events also allow onsite registration.

Safety of the dog must be first and foremost. Learning to swim, age, health, and physical fitness are all important considerations that you must consider. If this is the game for you though, it is both incredibly exciting for both the pup and you and the Florida dock diving community is quite vast.

Hero Dogz

For those with disabilities.

Docks with Wheelchair accessibility are rare, and you should contact the location ahead of time for more information. Our Events Calendar may feature special events for those interested in the coming Hero Dogz program for disabled 1st responders and veterans.

If you have general questions or concerns, please feel free to contact and I will try to help answer those questions or point you in the right direction.

Wrapping Up

DockDogs may be big across the USA, but with few events in Florida it was an opportunity to see a dock diving game with a different story. The pace of the event is steady and clearly comes from experience hosting events where hundreds of dogs may be competing.

In Florida the number was small, but diverse. From local to regional, new to old vet dogs and as with any dock diving event, the good will and enjoyment of the day welcomes everyone. Spectators cheered and sometimes the laughter could be heard across the convention hall. This game never seems to take its self too seriously, and the passion of all those involved in bringing it together is always comforting and welcoming.

Links to more information below, but for now, come see for yourself in our special photo-feature.

** Photo-Feature **

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DockDogs Field & Stream Expo, FL July 2019


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