Getting our Paws Wet!

jumpusFriends… we did something so, SO cool this weekend!

While visiting family in the Richmond, VA area, we made time to visit the Dominion Riverrock Festival. Set against the backdrop of downtown Richmond’s urban cityscape and river front, the festival brings athletes, spectators, chefs, musicians, and the general community together. It is an outdoor lifestyle festival, making it possible for visitors to experience adventures including trail running, kayaking, biking, bouldering, slacklining, stand up paddleboarding, and (drum roll please!) dog dock jumping. Any guesses as to where this is headed?!

Some of you may know that our Tonka-Tue is a lifelong water lover. His favorite way to spend a day is by running after a stick or ball as it is endlessly tossed into the water. Whether from land or dock, he dives enthusiastically into the blue depths with reckless abandon.


jumpprev1 I visited the Dominion Riverrock Festival a few years ago, and was amazed by the Ultimate Air Dogs competition. I just knew that I had to find a way to make Tonka a part of it!

jumpcollieOf course, life had other plans, and I became busy with school, horses, etc. While each trip to the river would remind me of Tonka’s aspirations, the competitive side of things took a back seat.

Fast forward to 2013… we had already made plans to visit VA this past weekend, and then realized at the last second that it happened to be the same date of this year’s Riverrock. What better way to get our feet wet?! (Literally!)

Look at this little peanut! Any pup can be a dock dog!

Look at this little peanut! Any pup can be a dock dog!

It was amazing to see so many happy dogs and dedicated owners all gathered in one place. Many of the pups were rescue or shelter dogs, and their happiness was palpable. The owners were all so proud of their pups, whether they were seasoned competitors or novice jumpers.

Look at this cutie pie!

What a cutie pie!

jumplabOf all of the demonstrations at the festival, the dock diving dogs certainly saw the most visitor traffic!

jumpmisc2The rules behind the competition are pretty straight forward. The owner throws a toy into the water, the dog runs and jumps into the water to retrieve it. Where the base of their tail hits the water is the measurement that is recorded to be compared to the other dogs. The best of two jumps is the official score.

This pooch was trained to come running at a moment's notice... he would leap into the water to show novice dogs where and how to climb out!

This pooch was trained to come running at a moment’s notice… he would leap into the water to show novice dogs where and how to climb out!

jumpmisc1Tonka, of course, was such a perfect gentleman. In an environment that was at times chaotic and fraught with tension, he maintained his composure and relished the opportunity to show his skills. He remained 100% focused on me at all times… that dog makes me look so, so good. He was definitely a crowd favorite.


Waiting in line for our turn

The 'wonderful' photos that my mother took for us ;)

The ‘wonderful’ photos that my mother took for us 😉

Thank goodness that a kind stranger in the audience happened to get a great shot and share it with us… that’s my boy!!!

Look at the faces of the spectators!

Look at the faces of the spectators!

We are in the process of researching some local groups that offer the dock diving competitions. It is such a great way to let your dog burn some energy, while also building the relationship you share with your pup. I definitely recommend checking this out!

14 thoughts on “Getting our Paws Wet!

  1. Looks like so much fun! We’ve tried to get our dawgs to jump off docks, into swimming pools etc. For as much as they love frolicking in the water, the absolutely hate jumping into it. But it looks like you’ve got a natural on your hands!

  2. How fun! We REALLY want to try dock diving with Athena this summer. That’s so cool that you were able to try it out with Tonka.

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