Dog Diving is a dog trend sport from the USA. In this fun-oriented sport, the dog has the task of jumping as far as possible into the water from a pedestal. In addition to the simple long jump, competitions are also held in two other disciplines, in which a toy must be caught or a dummy retrieved.
Dog diving disciplines
The best known dog diving discipline is called “Big Air”. In this discipline, the dog jumps off a pedestal and has to reach the largest possible distance. Big air competitions are held in a pool of approximately 5 m x 10 m in size. The platform has a height of 20 cm above the water surface and allows a run-up of at least 4 m on carpet. For safety reasons, the water depth is at least 1.20 m.
In order to motivate the dog to jump as far as possible, the owner throws a toy in front and gives the dog the sign to jump. The dog jumps off with a run-up, whereby the width between the platform edge and the tip of the snout is measured at the moment of impact. If the dog does not jump off on the first attempt, it may start a second time. A total of two graded jumps and a previous test jump are permitted within two minutes.
All jump distances in the “Big Air” are determined by the judge by eye. Together with his helpers, he also determines the classification and the jumping order. For the end result, both jump sizes are added and a jump-off is carried out with the same result. The competition is divided into two classes – over and under 50 cm shoulder height.
During the competition, the owner can choose the thrown toy, but food and treats are prohibited. Pushing the dog in is also prohibited without exception and will result in disqualification. Only a helper of the judge is allowed to stay in the water.
“Big Air” is by far the most popular dog diving discipline and the only one in which competitions are held in Europe.
The “Extreme Vertical” discipline has been very popular in the past, but is also very popular in the United States. Here the dog does not have to jump into the distance, but into the air to catch a toy from the air. The height is increased in each round until a dog is determined as the winner.
With “speed retrieve”, a dummy must be retrieved from the water and attached to the opposite end of the pool. The time is stopped until the dog has the dummy in its mouth. “Speed Retrieve” is the youngest dog diving discipline.
Which dogs are suitable for dog diving?
In contrast to other movement-intensive dog sports, dog diving hardly puts any strain on the musculoskeletal system and the joints, so that the sport is basically suitable for dogs of all sizes and stature. It does not require great mobility or an above-average stamina. The basic requirement, however, is the fun of swimming and diving. Water-loving breeds such as the Labrador Retriever are particularly suitable because they usually plunge into the cold water without any fear. Dogs with this passion can be introduced to the competition requirements in a playful way through a few exercises that can be gently increased. Even in the water, the dog should always be accompanied until it finds the exit safely. Dogs who are afraid of water should never be forced to dog diving.
Dog Diving is not suitable for dogs with cardiovascular problems or existing joint damage, as jumping and free swimming require a certain amount of effort. This sport is also not recommended for dogs with chronic ear infections due to their intensive contact with water. Caution should also be exercised with very young puppies or old dogs. In general, dog diving is also a good alternative to physically demanding sports for young dogs, in which the not yet fully established musculoskeletal system of young dogs is put under too much strain.