|The slight angle this picture was taken at makes it look like Koira is jumping a bit farther than she probably is in reality. This was a practice jump we did after the competition "wave" was over, specifically to get some pictures.|
Me and Koira headed out to our very first dock diving competition this week. Koira loves dock diving more than any other sport we compete in. When we first arrived, she was hot and still shaking from the car ride up to the State Fair where the competition was being held. As soon as she heard the first splash when a dog hit the water, though, she turned into a crazy desperate beast who wanted to dock dive, and wanted to dock dive NOW.
It is so much fun to compete in a sport you know your dog loves. Pallo loves flyball and both dogs really enjoy lure coursing (and for that matter, Koira has a lot of fun at flyball too), but Koira really REALLY loves dock diving.
When competing with the Northwest Challenge X-Treme AirDogs in the championship fair tour, the goal is fun. But, there is of course a set of rules about it. Basically, dogs jump in one of four divisions, divided up by the distance they jump. Novice is 0-10 feet, Amateur is 10-15 feet, Semi-pro is 15-20, and Pro is 20+ feet. So, you are better served with a dog who jumps 9.5 feet than one who jumps 10.2 feet, since one will likely win the Novice division while the other will probably come in last in Amateur.
Koira's distances have been as bad as 10.5 and as good as 12.6 in her jumps so far. A lot of her jumping distance has to do with my throws, though. Also, she had a bit of a time adapting to jumping into a clear pool instead of a murky pond or river, which is where we have practiced. I spent a lot of time on the dock and the practice dock with her (I doubt I can really tire her out too much to jump!), and each jump she hesitated less and less at the end of the dock- she just had to realize it was the same thing here, even if the water is clear! Overall, I think she has done really good. I am hoping to go back again before the end of the series on Monday and see if we can't nail a really awesome jump.
Since the Northwest Challenge is a series of competitions done at fairs around the state, a lot of what is involved is geared toward wowing the audience. The competition waves are narrated by someone on a microphone, announcing the competitors, distances jumped, and general information. In addition to the competition waves, though, a number of demonstrations and exhibitions are put on as crowd entertainment.
We would never jump two dogs at once during competition, but during an exhibition, Emma and Frankie, both seasoned competitors who are very familiar with each other, are able to jump together to wow the crowd.
Emma here, and her handler Josh, won the National Championship last year. This picture is from one of the competition waves this week.
Pallo doesn't really dock dive, as you know if you've seen my previous posts about it. I brought him along as a crowd puppy. He helped out by wearing the Chase Away K-9 Cancer donation vest and brought in $37 in donations for a great cause.
I did take him out on the practice dock during the down time between demos, exhibits, and competition waves though. And you know what? He actually jumped off the dock three times. About a total of a foot or two in distance, but he did it! He wouldn't do it a fourth time, but I'm hoping he will get some more confidence with practice and be a competitor next year.
|Pallo, wearing the donation vest and working the crowd (though he just spotted me in this picture)|