DockDogs 101

Welcome to DockDogs® Family! If your dog loves to run, jump and swim then DockDogs is definitely the right place for you. We welcome any breed, any mix, any size to come out and join ourDock Diving®  family! DockDogs® is the fastest growing sport on 4 legs. Here are the basics of DockDogs® events, if you have any questions feel free to speak with any of the event staff or contact the DockDogs® Worldwide office.

There are three disciplines at DockDogs® events: Big Air®, Extreme Vertical, & Speed Retrieve®. View each tab for more details about each discipline.

Big Air® is a “long jump for dogs”. The dog, which may be placed anywhere on the 40′ dock, runs and jumps into the water after a throw toy (provided by the handler) is tossed. The distance is judged from the end of the dock to where the tail set of the dog breaks the water’s surface.

  • BIG AIR® is the original and still most popular DOCKDOGS® competition.
  • Each dog and their “Handler” are a competition team and each team competes head‐to‐head against  the other teams to see who can jump the farthest distance.
  • Each team is allotted 90 seconds to get the dog down the dock and into the water.
  • The Judge will evaluate all jumps electronically using digital video stop‐action technology developed by ESPN’s MIS Department.
  • The official jump distance will be measured, and when it’s all said and done, the dog that jumps the farthest takes home the crown!

Speed Retrieve® is a “timed event”. At the far end of the pool a bumper toy is suspended 2” above the water with a starting indicator light above it. The dog is then placed at the 20’ white starting mark on the dock, when the light turns green the handler releases the dog, the time clock stops when the dog has pulled the toy from the Speed Retrieve™ bracket.

  • The newest form of DockDogs® competition,  which was introduced in 2008, has nothing to do with the dogs ability to jump but rather its speed.
  • Similar to Extreme Vertical®, in SPEED RETRIEVE each team is  allowed to use a  maximum of 20 feet of the dock surface and is allotted 60 seconds to get into the water. However, instead of measuring distance or height, each dog is racing against the clock.
  • Upon entering the water, each dog must swim to the end of a 40 foot pool and remove the DockDogs ® designated object from a modified  Extender Arm in order to complete their timed run.
  • The dog that removes the object the fastest wins and walks home with the prize and more importantly the bragging rights.


Extreme Vertical is a “high jump” for dogs. The dog starts off at the 20’ mark on the dock & jumps up to grab a bumper toy extended out 8’ from the end of the dock over the water. The starting height for Extreme Vertical is 4’6” & goes up in 2” increments as competition progresses.

  • In the Spring of 2005, EXTREME VERTICAL was officially launched as the second form of DockDogs® competition after initially being developed as a training technique for Big Air®. Just as Big Air® is equivalent to a “Long Jump” for dogs”, EXTREME VERTICAL is the equivalent to a “High Jump” for  dogs.
  • Each team is allowed to use a maximum of 20 feet of the dock surface and is allotted 60 seconds to jump in the air while attempting to remove the “Bumper” from the Extender Arm. If the team misses on the first attempt, they will immediately return to the dock and will be given a second and final attempt to remove the bumper.
  • For the Preliminary Qualifying Competitions, a “Bumper” is hung from a specially designed Extender Arm and placed 8 feet from the edge of the dock.  The Bumper is then placed at the chosen starting height for each team.
  • Rounds will continue with the bumper being raised in 2 inch increments per round until the dog that jumps the highest takes home the Prize!

The Iron Dog Challenge was invented in an attempt to incorporate all three of the DockDogs ® competitions.

Competitors in Iron Dog participate in Big Air, Extreme Vertical, and Speed Retrieve at a single event.   We compile the best run in all three disciplines for each team and the team with the overall best score wins.

Needless to say this competition challenges participants to continuously develop their skill in all three different disciplines, and rewards the boldest, best, and most daring dogs.


How do I sign up to participate?
There are two ways to register for an event, pre-register online or register onsite at the event. There is a discount for teams that pre-register online and it also guarantees you a spot in the waves you would like to enter. Youth Handlers receive discounts for Big Air Waves through either form of registration! (non members may pre-register for an unlimited number of events on 2 login occasions. Membership is needed for additional pre-registration logins.)
Where are the events?
DockDogs® holds events across North America and even overseas including England, Canada, & Australia. For a full list of all of our upcoming events please visit our event calendar or our Facebook page.
How do I get involved in DockDogs®
You can either attend an event or you can join a local DockDogs® club. DockDogs® has almost 40 clubs and is expanding. Clubs are a great way to get started in DockDogs®! To see a full list of our clubs go here.
What is a Handler ID?

A Handler ID is a unique number assigned to each competitor (Handler) which incorporates all dogs that they compete with. This ID number will allow Handlers access to all online pre-registrations and membership renewal.

A few simple rules:

  • Anyone can bring their dog to an event to compete, either by pre-registering through our website or registering onsite on a first come first serve basis.
  • The dog must be AT LEAST 6 months old, and handler must be AT LEAST 7 years old to compete or practice.
  • No pushing, shoving or throwing the dog in the water. He/She must go willingly!
  • Poop and Scoop or clean up is mandatory
  • When at a DockDogs® event all dogs must be on a 4′ leash, 8′ away from other dogs at all times or in a crate within the kenneling area.
  • There is a handlers meeting 30 minutes prior to each wave you are participating in. If you are not in attendance at the meeting you will be scratched from the wave and you will not be refunded your entry fees.


Pre-Registering for DockDogs Events & Membership

Pre-Registration is a great discounted option to register for your waves for an upcoming event. All handler accounts receive 2 login attempts to pre-register for an unlimited number of events. After the 2 login attempts membership is required for pre-registration. Wave fees are $27/Pre, $30/Onsite.

Step 1: Register -Visit or the Register button above and login or create your DockDogs handler account.

Step 2: Teams -Once you have created or logged in to your account you then add your team(s). Each team is 1 handler and 1 dog. If you have multiple dogs that compete you will need to create multiple teams. (They can share the same team name)

Step 3: Membership -In order to pre-register more than 2x per year and qualify for rankings, titles, and Worlds you must be a DockDogs® member. You can purchase your membership when logged in to your handler account. Membership is $65 per season.