They leap, fly, splash and fetch with joy and enthusiasm that is contagious. They are "Dock Dogs."
Courageous canines meet during 500 events held worldwide to compete in one of ten different divisions to see who can jump the farthest. All dogs are welcome and are not distinguished by breed or size, but by ability. Competitors are grouped in divisions by their average distance and judged on how far they fly before hitting the water.
"The true story is that ESPN came to us back in 1999 for the first ever ESPN Outdoor Games in Lake Placid, New York and asked us to develop a dog program that would go hand in hand with the outdoor games. We came up with big air, and 14 years later, we're out here doing this at over 500 events all over the country," event manager and announcer Max Dewier said.
You may think it takes a great deal of training to become a champion Dock Dog, but Max tells us the sport just comes naturally to many competitors.
"It just depends on the dog. Sometimes there is absolutely zero training. Depending on the type of breeds, it could be up to a year of training to get your dog out here and into the pool," Dewier said.
Getting the dogs to go in the water is easy. It’s getting them out that can be more of a challenge.
One thing to remember for all water loving animals is to dry their ears when they come out because trapped moisture can lead to painful ear infections and other possible issues.
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