And I'm glad we did! There was special parking for dock diving participants, I set up our EZ Up and crates in "DogTown" and it was an easy walk to and from the lake shoreline and back. I signed Molly up for all four "waves", make a day of it!
We started the day off with a bang. I was late, because that's how I roll, and barely made the handler's briefing. We only got to do a warm up jump because they had to switch the run order around before the official wave began at 9am! Not that Molly needed it. She was totally "bag brain" crazy, screeching and barking and lunging on her leash to get! in! the! water! BALL BALL BALL! Molly started our day off with an impressive 17.1 ft jump, her personal best! I was totally blown away! Last fall when we did our first event, I was proud of our 13.1 and figured that was the best Molly could do. Wow! That is a "Senior division" level jump (15' and up is Senior division.)
Got her out of the water and she was on major frustration overload. She bit my finger and then turned on an extension cord on the ground. (It looked like lure coursing line. That's her new thing now, extension cords!) She bit it and gave it a little shake much to my dismay but did drop it when I asked. What's next?!
As the day wore on she became more tired, but the barking and craziness persisted. I'm probably a bad dog handler, but I just let her enjoy crazy world for a while without constant working to get her back under threshold. She worked so hard for me at Nationals, she deserved it. Dock Diving is her thing, and no one even blinks at a crazy dog having a meltdown about wanting to get into the water.
I switched techniques towards the end! I switched to the "Place and Send" technique. Previously, I was asking Molly for a down-stay and releasing her and throwing her ball as she came down the dock. This time I kept her on leash, we went to the end of the dock together and I threw her ball in. Cue freak out! Now her ball is in the water and she knows it. Back to the opposite end of the dock, leash off. I held her collar and really revved her up and released her! The last clip in the above video is our first time trying that, that was Wave #3. We tried it in Wave #4, both jumps and she jumped a consistent 15.9 so we will stick with this and see where it gets us. It certainly takes Molly's frustration build up and turns it to our advantage!
Wave #1: 17.1 feet (Senior, no placement.)
Wave #2: 15.5 feet (Senior, no placement.)
Wave #3: 14'2 feet (Junior, 1st Place.)
Wave #4: 15.9 feet (Senior, no placement.)
Just like last year, Dock Dogs was a refreshing break from the intensity of agility. I know, I know. Agility is "all fun." But it's not all fun. You need to think, you need to handle. Your dog deserves that. There are weave poles, there are obstacles to be taken safely and with thought. Dock diving? Throw the ball and enjoy. That's it! It is more natural, it is less braining...and we love the change in scenery. No local events in July but I am looking forwards to August when we get to play again! And I'm sure if Molly could read a calendar, she would agree.