Does your dog love to swim and fetch? If so, you may want to consider dock diving (also called dock jumping) as a summertime activity to learn and enjoy together.

Any dog that likes to swim can dock dive, but breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are naturals since they typically love to swim and fetch. To dock dive competitively, dogs must be older than 6 months, but most competitions are open to any breed (or mix of breeds) and size.

Compared with other canine sports, training your dog to dock dive is relatively simple. To begin, lead him or her to the edge of a dock. Next, throw a favorite toy into the water. (Make sure to use one that floats.) Finally, give the “fetch” command. Like any sport, practice makes perfect, and you can throw the toy further as your dog learns.

There are two primary methods of competitive dock diving:

Place and Send – the handler walks the dog to the end of the dock and holds it back while throwing a toy into the water, then walks the dog back to a designated starting point – i.e., “placing” the dog. Handler then releases, or “sends” the dog to retrieve the toy.

Chase – dog waits on the dock in starting position while the handler holds the toy in front of the dog’s nose, then throws it into the water and commands the dog to “chase” it. Some handlers favor this method for the optimum height it helps get dogs to jump up first, as the ball is tossed, then out.

Competitive dock diving awards participants points for distance, height, speed or a combination of the three. Achievement in these areas is impacted by training, body condition and nutrition. Once your dog is actively training or competing in dock diving, consider Eukanuba™ Premium Performance, which was designed specifically with this sport in mind.