Considering Competitive Dock Diving For Your Dog? Here's What You Need To Know

If you're intrigued by the idea of competitive dock diving and wondering if your dog would be a good candidate, the answer is — it depends. The following are some key factors to consider when determining if your dog would be a good candidate for this fun sport:

Size and Breed

Some breeds are better suited for dock diving than others. Generally, larger dogs with a strong build and good swimming skills make better dock divers. Examples of breeds that typically excel at dock diving include all types of retrievers and spaniels, Australian cattle dogs, German shorthair pointers, and Belgian Malinois. 


This often comes as a surprise to those thinking about dock diving training for their dog, but young dogs under 2 years old may be too young to start dock diving. Because their bones are still developing and jumping off a dock can put a lot of stress on their joints. However, that doesn't mean you can't get in some predatory training while waiting for your dog to become old enough. Any type of obedience training will be useful when the time comes to enroll your canine companion in a dog dock diving class. It will also be helpful to get your dog acclimated to being in the water. 

Confidence and Motivation

A dog who is confident in the water and eager to retrieve toys or bumpers would be a good candidate for dock diving. 

Physical Health

Dock diving can put a lot of stress on a dog's joints, so make sure that your dog is physically fit and healthy before starting any training. As with any highly physical activity, dock diving has the potential to make existing cardiovascular conditions worse, so have your pet thoroughly checked by a veterinarian prior to beginning training. 


Dogs that are calm and well-behaved are more likely to be successful in dock diving, as they can focus on the task at hand and not be easily distracted.

Even if your dog doesn't have all the characteristics of a good dock diver, it's still possible to train them to enjoy dock diving as a hobby and not as a competitive sport. Dock diving is a great way for dogs and their humans to enjoy a fun activity together. It's also a good idea to consult with a trainer who has experience with dock diving to get an assessment of your dog's skills and suitability for the sport.