Talented Jack Russell Terrier Dock Diving Champion
Jack Russells are usually highly energetic, vocal, fearless, lively, inquisitive and intelligent little dogs. Many need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep their destructive behaviors at bay. Today’s Fit Dog Friday post is dedicated to Macho, a 2-year-old talented Jack Russell Terrier who is a National Dock Diving Champion in the Lap Dog Division.
Read: Jack Russell Terrier Dog Breed Spotlight
Macho The Jack Russell Dog Loves Water
From a puppy, Macho loved the water and was obsessed with tennis balls. This made the perfect combination for dock diving. Macho would spend hours every day swimming and retrieving his tennis ball in the family pool, but once he got bored, Macho started launching himself off the edge of the pool to chase the ball.
A friend suggested entering Macho into dock diving competitions. This is when a dog runs down a dock and jumps into a pool that is about 40 feet long and 4 feet deep.
Often, the handler throws a toy, ball or retrieving dummy into the air to encourage the dog to jump. The dock is covered in artificial turf, carpet, or a rubber mat for better traction and safety for the competitors. The handler may use any amount of the dock and they may start their dog from any point on the dock when competing. Macho took to it immediately and is now making a splash around America in dock diving competitions.
The Dock Diving Sport
In 2014 AKC (American Kennel Club) recognized the sport dock diving and offers diving dog titles recognized by AKC. Dock Diving is said to be currently the fastest growing dog sport in America.
The AKC Eukanuba National Dock Diving Championship was held this month in Orlando Florida. Over 400 dogs competed. Dogs that compete are classified in division according to the height of the dog.
Macho is in the Lap Dog Division. 16″ and below. Macho stands a proud 13 ” tall. Macho WON the honor of AKC’s National Champion with a huge jump of almost 10 ft! He will continue to travel across America and work hard in 2016 to defending his National Dock Diving title.
Macho just keeps improving. He is very focused and very driven. Also Macho is very fast which is needed to get height and distance in a jump. Macho stays conditioned with well-balanced meals and plenty of training.
Macho also surfs, paddle boards, rides Harley Davidson, loves off roading and is a great varmint hunter. Macho was a featured dog on the float Champion Dogs of San Diego in the Mother Goose Parade this year. He even has his own cartoon character.
EXERCISE AND TRAINING
Macho’s exercise program consists of lots of swimming, jumping, running, retrieving toys, and hill climbing to build his hind legs needed to reach long jumps. A “drive” for a “Toy” is a must for dock diving -Macho’s favorite is plastic floatable squeaky toys. Hours are spent keeping Macho’s drive going.
He needs to keep lean but also maintain extreme muscle mass. To achieve this, he has a strict daily exercise routine and healthy diet that keeps him in the shape needed to perform at his highest level of mental and physical strength for competitions. In the winter months, Macho wears a custom made wetsuit that keeps his body warm in the colder water.
Read: Disc, Trick and Dock Diving Dogs Keep Fit
STARTING YOUR DOG IN DOCK DIVING –Encourage your dog’s “toy drive”!
The toy drive is necessary because this is what entices the dog to jump into the pool. If the dog doesn’t care about the toy being thrown into the pool, it has no reason to get into the water!
If your dog is totally new to swimming, you’ll want to take it swimming before dock diving. Swimming can be a wonderful form of exercise. Some dogs need to learn to swim and some breeds may need to wear a flotation device. See our post on dogs swimming here.
Macho started when he was a few months old. But most dogs will learn over time with a lot of praise and encouragement.
Build your dog’s confidence with “Baby Steps”
Take your dog to a lake or pond to “test the waters,” so to speak. Find a “quiet” area with no distractions for your dog. Using their favorite floatable toy, first engage them in play on land, to trigger their interest in the toy. Stay upbeat and energetic the whole time, and make it the most positive experience you can. Once the dog is very engaged in play, start with some shallow water retrieves, enough to get the dog wet and comfortable in the water, but not enough that the dog has to swim.
Do not ever force a dog into the water; this could make it a very fearful experience for them and they may never want to swim. If the dog is leery about getting in the water, it may help for you to get in and lure them in, using yourself and the toy. Once the dog is confident in the shallow water, move on to throwing the toy into water deep enough where the dog has to swim a little bit to get the toy. If your dog is quite comfortable swimming and has sufficient toy drive, they’ll probably be ready to try out a dock diving.
A new dock or environment can be very intimidating to dogs. Build your dog’s confidence with “Baby Steps”. There is a two-foot drop from the dock to the water surface, and the water is very clear and troublesome for dogs to see where it is. Jumping in can be scary for them at first but they quickly overcome it and love it.
We actually watched 8-month-old puppy Portuguese Water Dog Buster learn to jump into the water off the dock last summer. He copied an older more experienced dog jumping in to swim to his Mom and after toys. He always wore a life jacket for the first few weeks.
“The first jump is the most challenging but the most rewarding.”
It is a totally unnatural environment for the dog; they’re jumping into a clear pool of water with people all around the dock and pool. Most dogs are used to jumping into lakes or ponds where the water is murky and it is easy for the dog to see the surface. TAKE YOUR TIME and don’t scare your dog. It is so important to make it a fun experience for both of you. Some dogs will catch on fast others may take a long time especially if they had a “bad” water experience in their past.
When you take your dog to his first dock jumping event, it is absolutely imperative to introduce your dog to the exit ramp. This should be the first step you take. You’ll want to take your dog up the ramp and have them do a retrieve into the pool from the ramp. This serves several purposes.
- First, you are showing the dog that they are going into the water. As previously stated, the water is often so clear it’s hard for the dog to see. Showing them the water from the ramp helps build their confidence.
- Second, it gets the dog comfortable with walking on the ramp. If they first encounter the ramp coming out of the water, they may easily panic and possibly even fall off the ramp.
- Last, but certainly not least, the dog will now know how to exit the pool once they go in from the dock. This is very important so they do not freak out, try to climb over the side of the pool, and potentially injure themselves. Take your time. It will pay off in the long run.
Once you take the dog onto the dock, you should begin with short throws and start the dog only about 5-10 feet back from the edge of the dock. It’s all about building the dog’s confidence. Throwing the toy short makes it more achievable for the dog if the toy seems in reach. Starting the dog short helps with this aspect as well, and serves the purpose of helping the dog find and mark the end of the dock. Once you and your dog jump you will have a “bond” like no other. It’s so much fun!
Macho now gets so excited he starts shaking with excitement when he sees a dock !! He absolutely loves it. I am so proud of what he has become. It’s been a lot of training but well worth it.
Be some doggy…go out with your best friend and have a ball. Make a Splash!!
Meet more talented dock diving dogs from Heather Mcleod’s RUFFSPORT team.
Kristen–well minded says
Go Macho! What an awesome pooch. And great info about dock diving!
What an athletic dog Macho is! Goes to show you what a small dog is capable of!
Pawesome Cats says
What an awesome dog – I didn’t know much about dock diving – thanks for sharing!
Earl Lover says
PAWsome! Those skills!
Love it – who says you have to be a water dog!
Lauren Miller says
I love jack russells! They are such cute and spirited little dogs! Macho looks like a great one and dock diving sounds so fun. I’ve often wondered if I could get Phoenix off a dock!
Talent Hounds says
It’s all about chasing toys and not being too scared of water. I’ve seen such a wide range of dogs love it! However not Kilo the Pug LOL.
We love to watch Dock Diving. Such a fun sport. I wonder if anyone would take me seriously if I tried it? Probably not???
Ruth (and Layla) says
Wow what an awesome active dog, go Macho !!!!
Tenacious Little Terrier says
It’s a fun sport to watch and I love that small dogs are doing it too. Mr. N would hate it though. He doesn’t like getting wet!
Talent Hounds says
Yes- I have seen Pugs, Frenchies and Bostons doing it, some in life-jackets- but certainly does not seem like Kilo would love it even though he does love jumping and is quite a ninja. He’ll be watching eating snacks with Mr N LOL. I do plan to teach him to swim in a life jacket this summer though.
Diane @ To Dog With Love says
What a great little dog! “Baby steps” and “take your time” is great advice!
Spencer the Goldendoodle says
Way to go Macho! I didn’t know they had dock diving contest for small dogs. Big things come in small packages!
Go Macho go! What a totally pawesome post!
M. K. Clinton says
I have a friend that has GSP that are champion dock divers. I love to watch the videos. Macho is really a little flying phenom!
Barbara Rivers says
Thank you for a very informative & educational article! My boy Buzz absolutely LOVES retrieving his chuck-it ball, and will also go into a pool or lake to bring it back. Unfortunately, he will not jump into the water 🙁 I’ve taken him (& his sister Missy) to an indoor dog pool at a Pet Retreat where they have a small dock diving area. He’s willing to stand on it and watch me throw his ball into the pool, but will then hop back off, and enter the pool via its ramp 😉
Way to go, Macho!!
Val Silver says
Wow, Macho! That looks like so much fun. How lucky for you to get to enjoy two of your favorite things in one sport.
Beth | Daily Dog Tag says
I’d love to have one of my dogs participate in (and love) dock diving.
It certainly looks like Nacho enjoys the sport. What a fantastic physical and mental workout for dogs.
Wow! Macho is amazing (and a lucky dog – meeting Brett Michaels!) And those are some very awesome shots!
Fur Everywhere says
That is so cool! I had never heard of dock diving before, but it sounds like such a fantastic way to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated!
Macho is such an amazing dog. He is so adorable!
Sweet Purrfections says
What an interesting sport for Jack Russells.
Suzanne Dean says
Jack Russell’s are so talented. What a great sport for pet parents to get involved in with their dogs. Thanks for sharing such a detailed article so pet parents can understand the ins and outs of this sport.
Macho is quite the pup! He really takes the time to enjoy life. What a fun competition too! It’s healthy and the dogs seem to like it a lot.
Faith Ellerbe says
I had no idea this was a sport! This is awesome! I can imagine why it is a fast growing sport. Any dog that loves water with love off a dock, into the water.
Congratulations to Macho! What an exciting and special little guy!
2 Brown Dawgs says
Congrats to Macho!
Cathy Armato says
Wow, macho is super talented & so adorable! I’ve never participated in dock diving with my dogs, they don’t care for water very much.
Love & biscuits,
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