These dogs aren’t sitting on the dock.
They’re running down it and jumping right off — with no hesitation.
After a huge splash, most dogs are back up on the dock before the water has even settled.
“Some dogs love it; I think most dogs love it,” said Diving Dog Instructor Joe Souza. “We get little old ladies with chihuahuas that jump, to Great Danes that jump, to everything in between.
“To be honest, there are worse ways to spend your day than with dogs at the pool.”
Dog dock jumping at Courteous Canine, a dog training and boarding facility in Lutz, is quite popular. Any dog, of any size, can come and learn to dock dive.
The diving can be just for fun or for competitions governed and sanctioned by North American Diving Dogs (NADD).
In fact, the NADD limits the number of dock diving facilities, so they can be no closer than within 100 miles of each other.
“Some people train here, some people show up for competitions and some people just bring their dogs so they can jump off the dock,” said Souza, who has four dogs that dock jump. “When it comes to (my dog) Rusty, if he had to choose between breathing, eating and dock diving, he’s choosing dock diving.”
Rusty, a 5-year-old chocolate Labrador, is actually nationally ranked as the No. 2 Labrador at dock diving, according to NADD.
His personal best jump is 30 feet. The world record is 36 feet, 11 inches, and held by a whippet.
Souza says dogs are usually competing against themselves, in that they’re just trying to get a personal best in each level. Levels are determined by length. Novice is up to 10 feet, while the top jumpers are in the premiere level, which is 28 feet or longer.
Courteous Canine also hosts competitions.
Souza says the facility has dogs, and owners, who take those very seriously. They’ll compete throughout the year, including at nationals, which is held in St. Louis.
Ashley Gandees, of Wesley Chapel, is an owner who does everything for her Great Danes. Her 2-year-old, Dazzle, competes in several types of competitions, and Gandees didn’t hesitate when she found the dock jumping facility a few miles away.
“She was jumping off the dock by the second lesson with Joe,” Gandees recalls. “I never thought she would be so good at it. She’s holding her own at competitions, getting up to about 20 feet. Really it was just something else I wanted the dogs to be able to do and be more well-rounded dogs.
“She definitely loves doing it.”
Where: 3414 Melissa Country Way, Lutz
Details: A dog training and boarding facility that also specializes in swimming and dog dock jumping lessons. The dock jumping sport and competitions are under the sanctioning body North American Diving Dogs (NADD).
Info: Visit CourteousCanine.com, or call 813-949-1465. For more information on NADD, visit NorthAmericaDivingDogs.com.
Published July 06, 2022