Diving dogs set to have fun in the sun at Lutz event

Does your dog love the water? Love to jump and splash and chase toys? You might have an up-and-coming dock diver on your hands. Take him to Lutz on July 10 to find out about this fast-growing sport for dogs. Courteous Canine at 3414 Melissa Country Way in Lutz is hosting the SunCoast DockDogs “Fun in the Sun” jump. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the jumping fun and demos last all day.

Any breed of dog can enjoy and compete in dock diving — your dog doesn’t have to be a purebred, though, not surprisingly, many of the top competitors are Labradors. Any dog who has what it takes — high energy, strong motivation to chase a flying toy, and a love for water – can join the fun. Though that description fits most Labs I know, it also sounds a lot like Wylie, our resident German shepherd.

Dock diving's original event, Big Air, is basically the long jump for dogs. Instead of landing in a sand pit, they land in water. And they are usually chasing a toy, but they don’t have to retrieve it. The dock is usually about 40 feet long, and the water is at least 4 feet deep. It can be a clear swimming pool or a lake. The dock is usually covered in something that provides traction, like turf or outdoor carpet. The dog with the longest jump is the winner. The jump distance is measured from the end of the dock to the point where the base of the dog’s tail enters the water. Usually, digital photography is used to help measure distances. Other events have evolved, and when your dog gets really good at dock diving, he can compete in the different events: Big Air (long jump), Extreme Vertical (height jumping), and Speed Retrieve. An “Iron Dog” competes in all three.