Addicted to DOCKDOGS!

Back in 2009 Matt and I were watching the “Diving Dogs” in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge on ESPN.  In this competition each dog sprinted down a 40 foot long dock and catapulted itself as far as it could go into a big pool of water.  The dog with the longest jump, a GSP named “Seven,” in that particular competition, won the event.

Bailey catches her wubba on a practice “Big Air” jump

This looked like great fun and our GSP, Bailey, had just learned how to swim and already was great at jumping over a two-rail fence in and out of my mom’s garden.  We decided to put the two skills together and try out the sport of dock diving.  We entered our first “Dockdogs” event in central PA in June 2009 and from that point on we were officially addicted to Dockdogs!

Since that first event we have traveled all over the East Coast with Bailey to compete with our Dockdogs friends and our club members from Delmarva Dockdogs.  Bailey has jumped at county fairs in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut and Waterfowl Festivals in Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware.  The farthest we’ve traveled so far was to a Bark in the Park event in Lawrence, Ohio (about a 10 hour drive!).

Bailey shows off for a big crowd at the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland

Bailey has earned an “Elite” Dockdogs title for Big Air (the long jump event that first got us hooked).  She’s also earned a “Top Gun” title in the sport of Extreme Vertical, which is a high jump competition where the dogs must knock down a bumper that’s extended up and over the pool.  Some of the high points of Bailey’s Dockdogs “career” so far are listed below.

Bailey competes in Big Air (left) and Extreme Vertical (right)

If you think Dockdogs sounds like a sport that you and your dog might enjoy, I highly recommend that you give it a try!  There are local clubs all over the country that have practices and events during the summer.  Check out to learn more!

Bailey catapults herself off of the dock in an attempt to catch her duck

Bailey’s Top Performances:

  • #1 Ranked German Shorthaired Pointer in the Country for 2010 and 2011
  • 1st Place Elite/SuperElite Finals, 2012 Ocean County Decoy and Gunning Show (Tuckerton, NJ)
  • 1st Place Elite/SuperElite Finals, 2012 Delmarva Summer Splash (Dover, DE)
  • 2nd Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2012 Delmarva Summer Splash (Dover, DE)
  • 1st Place Pro Finals, Monmouth County Fair (East Freehold, NJ)
  • 2012 World Championship Invitation, Elite Big Air
  • 4th Place Elite, 2012 Eastern Regional Championships (McHenry, MD)
  • 2nd Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2012 Delmarva DockDaze (Bivalve, MD)
  • 1st Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2011 Ocean County Decoy Show (Tuckerton, NJ)
  • 1st Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2011 Chesapeake Pondfest (Adamstown, MD)
  • 1st Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2011 Delmarva Summer Splash (Dover, DE)
  • 1st Place Pro Finals, 2011 Harford County Farm Fair (Bel Air, MD)
  • 1st Place Elite/SuperElite Finals, 2010 Delmarva Summer Splash (Dover, DE)
  • 2nd Place Elite Finals, 2010 Keystone Stoltzfus Summer Splash (Gap, PA)
  • 2nd Place Pro Finals, 2010 Harford County Farm Fair (Bel Air, MD)
  • 1st Place Elite Finals, 2010 Keystone That Pet Place Event (Lancaster, PA)
  • 1st Place Top Gun Extreme Vertical, 2010 Delmarva Doggone Fun Event (Dover, DE)
  • 3rd Place Pro Finals, 2010 Clay’s Bark in the Park Event (Lawrence, OH)
  • 1st Place Elite Finals, 2010 Tidewater Paws for a Cause Event (Newport News, VA)
  • 2nd Place Pro Finals, 2009 Harford County Farm Fair (Bel Air, MD)

Bailey’s Personal Bests:

  • Big Air – 25’6”
  • Extreme Vertical – 7’0”
  • Speed Retrieve – 6.550 seconds

Bailey at the Big Butler Fair in Butler County, PA

For more photos, visit TheLittleGSP on Flickr!

13 thoughts on “Addicted to DOCKDOGS!

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  3. Hi there! I’m from MI and my GSP, husband, and I ‘compete’ in dock diving events… How did you get Bailey to do EV? We’re tryingt o teach Remingington and rigged up our own at home one with an extra long paint roller and double string bumper… but any tips would help 🙂 He generally likes to just run to me and put his paws on my chest rather than jump for the toy 😦

    • Hi and thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂 We trained Bailey with a verbal command first just for locking onto her toy (regardless of if the toy was floating in the water or just in the backyard). We use “Do you see your toy??!” and she knows this means get excited and get ready to get the toy. Once we had that command in place we started by just holding a double-string bumper and having her “see” her toy and then grab it out of our hands. Then we evolved up to the actual EV rig at practice and after a few practice sessions she figured out what she was supposed to do. Good luck with your GSP!!!

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    • Hi Richard,
      The most common dogs that we see dock diving are Labrador Retrievers. There are also quite a few Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. If I had to pick the best dog breed for DockDogs I’d say it’s the Belgian Malinois and other shepherd breeds like Dutch Shepherds. But, the important things to keep in mind is that the sport is open to any dog that likes water and it’s all about having fun with your dog. 🙂

  6. Hi Annie, I wanted to talk to you about using one of your images. Do you have an email address I can contact you on? Thanks, Rachel

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