It seems like everything is becoming a sport today and dock jumping is one of the fastest growing canine sports in the country, with competitions, prizes, and more. However, before we go too far, it's worth noting that not all breeds are suited to this sport. Your dog should have at least one of these two qualities: a love of water or a love of playing fetch. And right along with this, you are going to need a lot of patience and not mind spending plenty of time standing in the water.
Dock jumping can be a lot of fun for you and your dog, it is good exercise for you and great exercise for your pup. No matter which training method you decide to use, keep tossing the target a little higher and further to encourage your dog to continue working harder. Perhaps one day you and your pup can compete in the world championships!
Dock jumping is a lot of fun for both you and your dog, as long as he either likes water or playing fetch. Even if he doesn't meet both, you can always work with your dog to teach him whichever of the two skills he doesn't have. You will also need a place to practice; for best results, use a lake with both a sloping shore and a dock. While you can use the command "fetch" for this trick, you may want to come up with another one that is reserved for this particular activity.
Along with all of this, you should have a pocket full of treats, a nice big fluffy towel, several of your dog's favorite toys, and of course, tons of patience. Oh, and be ready to get wet yourself, as you can count on it during the early phases of training. Be patient, let your pup learn to swim out to fetch the toy back first before having him jump off the dock and before long your dog will be trying to beat the current world record of 25 feet.
Training your dog to dock jump is going to be a lot of fun, but there are a few things you need to get started and ensure a successful result. To start with, you need a place to practice; a lake with a sloping shore and a dock are your best bet. Then, of course, you will need a few special toys just for when you go out dock jumping. Always carry a bag of treats to reward your pup, and of course, be patient--each dog learns at his own pace.
One word of caution, be sure you know what your dog is jumping into. Check that the water is deep enough and is not stagnant. Some lakes and ponds can contain bacteria or algae that can make your furry friend seriously ill.
Hey wag trainer, Bear and I have been working on dock jumping and we go to the creek all the time and he’ll do it for hours in like 90 degrees heat and loves it but when we go to the lake and try it off the dock (which is only 4-6 in off the water) he is very hesitant, he won’t jump in. Any advice? Thank you!
Hello Alex, If the creek doesn't have a drop off but he is simply launching into the water from the shore, then it is completely normal for him to be hesitant still off of the dock. The two are very different in his mind. First, I suggest finding a friend who has a dog who is used to jumping off of a dog and have him watch that dog do it regularly. Set up times to go to the lake with this dog often until he starts jumping in himself. Ideally, this should be a dog he really enjoys being around. Have everyone besides him in the water (be careful around the dogs in the water so they don't try to climb on you), and your dog left on shore with only jumping off of the dock as his way into the water. Encourage him excitedly but don't drag him in. Expect him to just step off of the dock into the water, or awkwardly 'jump/fall' into the water his first 10 or so attempts. That's okay, praise him for the effort! He needs to get over his fear of making the leap off of something before you will start getting his jumping distance back. Don't worry about distance right now - just on getting of the dock. Go back to baby steps of simply encouraging him into the water with confidence and praise, and making jumping in look fun by having everyone else in the water with that as his only means to get in normally (have a safe way for him to get back out though), and let him watch another dog make the jump over and over to show him how its done. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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