Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Molly Senior Jumper!

Molly and I attended the Delmarva Dock Dogs event at Cabelas this past Saturday!   As always, I know when we are going for a day of dock diving, we are going to have fun!

I registered Molly for all four "Waves" of Big Air.   The event was extremely full so we did not get much time to practice.   In fact, I only put her in the tank one time before our actual Wave time...just to make sure.   I really needed to make sure that she would jump into the traditional DockDogs tank.   After all, the only diving event we had been to since the catastrophic indoor diving event was the Codorus Blast - and that was jumping into a lake.   Anyway, Molly went right off the dock with no hesitation.

Wave #1 Molly jumped at the bottom of the Senior division with a 15'5 jump.
Wave #2 was a 15'1" jump but that meant that Molly had scored five jumps in the Senior Division, earning her Senior Jumper title with Dock Dogs.  Yay!
Wave #3 Molly threw a 16'5" jump for a change, that would be our best of the day!
and Wave #4 was 15"4 (and her first jump in that Wave was 15'3.  Funny how consistent she is!)

This video shows four of our jumps from the day.   The second clip is the "Place and Send", throwing the ball in the water and then revving Molly up and releasing her to it.   The last clip is slow motion - full of information!   I was surprised to see Molly taking off at the end of the dock, and that is something she is learning.  (Versus, leaving the dock a foot too soon, therefore wasting distance.)   Initially she was taking off too soon.   I also see that I do well with holding the ball low and in her line of vision, but I don't throw it well.   I just sort of lob it gently out into the water when I could have given if a more vertical path as well as further out.   Things to work on (with a new toy, more on that below.)

So, Molly has titled in DockDogs!   I am feeling a little bit aimless in the dock diving discipline.   With our current system of throwing the chuckit ball, I don't think Molly is going to get jumps much further than she is currently getting.   Her personal best was 17'1" at the Codorus Blast, and that was her first of the day at an actual lake!   It blew me away at the time that she jumped that far!

The vendor "SuperFly Suits" was present at this event, and I could not resist getting Molly...a swim suit!   Completely silly and "just for looks", but totally cute and fun.  There was a pirate design in XL, but Molly measured for a Large, and this particular flower design was calling her name in the "Large Plus" size (bigger chest area.)   It is flowery but sort of a "fire" color scheme.   Perfection!   I still might get her another one with tamales on and her DockDogs team name "Hot Ta-Molly" embroidered on.   Maybe!

When we started this, I wanted to train Molly to follow her ball so that she would get "pop" (upward jump rather than straight out) off the dock so that she could get further jumps.  I am not so sure that is possible.  The ball is a small "target", and the ball has promises.  You jump into the water and the ball will be there.   I think that to get and teach Molly to learn how to track a toy off of the dock, it would need to be a new toy with a new set of "rules" and "promises" - and I need to learn to throw better.  My choice would be a water Wubba.   Molly loves Wubbas and is very driven by them (I often use a non floatable variety for agility training.) - and they are a much larger visual target.  I notice that many of the Seriously Serious dock diving handlers are not using balls, but usually a larger more visual toy.  I will need to commit to working on this, perhaps even attend a practice so that I can learn more. (Wait, wasn't I saying that last year?!)

My other thoughts are that I would like to try another venue.   North American Dock Diving Dogs is having an event the second weekend of September and I think that we may try that out.  NADD invites participation with a one-time registration fee of $25.  Their events are often held at AKC events, so there is the possibility of combination road trip multi-dog multi-sport fun there.
I am frustrated with DockDogs' $50 per year membership, their poor online record keeping (team's individual jumps are not recorded on your personal records but instead you have to comb through the complete event results), and their costly per-Wave registration fees.  I contacted them regarding whether or not Molly's Junior jumps from 2015 when we were not members were grandfathered into her records and heard nothing back.  (And it does not matter now, since Molly is a senior titled dog anyway, she can no longer earn a Junior title.)  For a very casual Dock Diving team, NADD may be a better fit for Molly and I.  We are not competitive so to pay $50 per year for a membership with little to no benefit to us is...outrageous.  And it is not like dock diving is the only sport I am spending my money on.

So, next stop is NADD and a floatable Wubba.   We will see how that fits Molly and I, for our future in Dock Diving.

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