Making a Splash

posted March 18th, 2019 by
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Making a Splash

K9 Manners & More’s Dock Diving Competitions

 

By Lauren Cavagnolo

 

From Toy Poodles to German Shepherds and Dobermans, jumping off of a dock into a pool is something any size or type of dog can do.

 

“We have all sorts of breeds and mixes. There is certainly no requirement,” said Mary Green, owner and trainer at K9 Manners & More. “It’s amazing; this is something that all dogs can do.”

 

K9 Manners & More opened their dock diving facility last July and has held two distance jumping events through North America Diving Dogs (NADD) with several hundred jumps logged per event.

 

This year, there are four events on the calendar, one being a qualifying event for the National Championship in Orlando, Florida, in December 2019. The first event of the year is scheduled for June with the pool expected to open in April for lessons and practice jumps.

 

Nicknamed the Black Pearl, Green says they have had an incredible response since opening the facility, partly due to the fact that the Broken Arrow group has the only dock diving facility in Northeast Oklahoma and is the only NADD sanctioned facility in the state. The next closest facility is in Dallas, and people are driving from Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and all over the state to use the facility and participate in events.

 

“What we did last year was distance jumping,” Green said. “There are two types of events that NADD holds, one is a distance jump and one is an air retrieve. And we will add air retrieve this year, but we started with just distance jumping last year. The events are just tons of fun.”

 

In distance jumping, dogs are judged on the distance of their jump from the dock to where their tail hits the water in the 40-foot pool. The Guinness Book of World Records record holder is a Whippet named Sounder. Set at the NADD Championships in Orlando in December, Sounder jumped 33 feet and 6 inches.

 

The events, which are free general admission and feature a food truck, also offer “try its” for a $10 fee.

 

“Those are just exactly what is says, for people to be able to try it with their own dog,” Green said. “When all the dogs in a splash have jumped, we do try its and let people give it a shot with their pup and see if they like it. And generally, we do have opportunity to do on-site registration. We had a couple of times where somebody did a try it, and their dog was just brilliant at it. So, they went ahead and signed up and did the second day.”

 

A splash is a group of competing dogs, Green explained. Last year, their events had four splashes each, with splashes limited to 40 dogs, according to the NADD website.

 

Events can be entered for a pre-registration price $20 per splash or $25 on site the day of the event. Splashes include up to four minutes on the dock with one optional practice jump and two judged jumps, according to the NADD. Titles can be earned with five successful jumps in the different divisions of titles. NADD titles are also recognized through the American Kennel Club’s Title Recognition Program.

 

There are two divisions for measurement, and titles are earned by qualifications at certain jumping measurements. Dogs that are considered lap dogs measure shorter than 16 inches from shoulder to ground. Everything else is open, Green said.

 

“We are always competing for our own personal best,” Green explained. “To get the titles, our lap dogs don’t have to get quite the distance that our bigger dogs do.”
However, competitions aren’t the only way to enjoy the pool and dock diving facility at K9 Manners & More.

 

“We started out with a swim class because not all dogs know how to swim or how to swim in a pool versus in the lake. There is a big difference between dogs swimming in clear water versus dirty water, like lakes or ponds,” Green explained. “Either an instructor or an owner will get in the water with the dog, and we put lifejackets on a lot of them to make sure they are safe and comfortable.

 

“Just like with little kid swim lessons, you don’t want to freak them out; you want them to feel comfortable and have fun,” Green added. “A lot of dogs, that’s really what they will be doing is swimming for their fitness and wellness. Whether or not they ever come off the dock doesn’t really matter; they are getting the benefits from the exercise.”

 

Kim Sykes, owner and trainer at K9 Manners & More, says she has been amazed at the fitness difference in the dogs because of the swim classes.

 

“There have been some studies that have talked about the benefits of [swimming], and it is just amazing. And with that easy entry and exit ramp, it is great for the older dogs. It’s really good even for the younger dogs; it’s less impact,” Sykes said. “My 7-year-old Border Collie, this was her first introduction to swimming last year, and she was able to compete at an event. And she is not a huge jumper, but, boy, could you tell a huge difference in her muscles and her rear end. It just was amazing to me.”

 

A swim lesson is $25 for a one-time class. That class can be repeated as necessary. The next step is a jumping class that costs $120 for four weeks.

 

However, the facility is not offering water rehab, and anyone wanting to swim with a dog that may have any health concerns should visit with a veterinarian before enrolling in a swim program, Green added.

 

While there aren’t any pre-qualifications for the swimming classes, enrolled dogs need to have a family member or friend who can be in the pool with them as well as a favorite toy that will float.

 

“The dog may not want to come to the instructor, so we want the owner to be able to get in the pool with them. We don’t want the dogs to be fearful of getting into the pool or swimming,” Green explained. “Instructors know kind of how to hold them and support them and not be scratched up in the process, but the dogs are more comfortable with someone they know.”

 

After completing one or more swim lessons, some dogs and owners will go on to the dock diving classes, where owners learn the handler’s technique, safe jumping and mostly just have fun with their dog, Green said.

 

“It’s really a chase game,” Green explained. “The dock is 40 feet long, and the pool is 45 feet. The distance of the jump is measured where the dog’s tail hits the water, not the front end of the dog. The handler generally throws a toy ahead of the dog, and the dog is chasing the toy into the water. So, for dogs that really enjoy fetching or retrieving on land, it’s somewhat of an easier transition for them to do that off the dock.”

 

As for the dock’s nickname “Black Pearl,” it comes from the stain ending up much darker than expected.

 

“We just went with it. We have a bell up there, and when your dog either gets a title or a new personal best, a lot of people will jump in the pool with their dog; we call that ‘Walk the plank,’” Green said. “And the whole crowd will chant ‘Walk that plank, walk that plank!’ We have had a lot of fun with that. They ring the bell and walk the plank, and everybody celebrates.”

 

In addition to lessons, dock and pool rental is available to individuals to schedule their own time to practice jumping.

 

“I will say, people don’t think their dogs are going to be able to do it. Then they see their dog jump, even off the ramp, and swim, and then swim back to them where they are sitting on the ramp; it’s just pure joy,” Green said. “The dogs are having a blast.”

 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

June 22-23

June Jump Event

July 27-28

July Jump Event

Sept. 7-8

Dog Daze of Summer, qualifying event for National Dog Diving Championships

Oct. 5-6

Fall Fling

 

K9 Manners & More

Be sure to check the website for more information including class schedules.

www.k9-manners.com

1000 E. Memphis St.

Broken Arrow, OK 74012

(918) 451-8446

 

North America Diving Dogs

Learn more about the rules and regulations.

northamericadivingdogs.com

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