Dock Jumping is a simple and fun sport for dogs. It’s simple – throw an object into the water and measure how far the dog jumped to get it (or how high, or the total air-space covered, depending on which form of the game you fancy). Taz, a Canadian Labrador holds the current record of 31 feet.
I believe that this is one sport where genetic ability is more important then training.
When I say ‘genetic ability’, I don’t just mean fitness. A factor even more important then muscle power is that intangible thing called ‘motivation’. Some dogs are highly motivated to jump and retrieve, others less so. Fitness has little to do with it (although a big Labrador obviously has a better chance then a little Jack Russell).
The training of a star Dock Jumper starts with selecting the right candidate. The right dog will be eager to retrieve, putting aside all else to jump in and retrieve that toy.
Beyond that, the word is fitness and repetition. Endurance works (especially swimming) builds powerful hind-limb muscles necessary for a good jump. Repetition improves coordination.
The one concern with the sport is the way it trains dogs to jump ‘without looking’ into water. If done in the wrong place, bone and spinal damage could result.
make sure the location is safe and that the water is deep close to the edge, to prevent jump ‘accidents’ from causing an injury.