I did do some this summer and loved it! I plan on dock diving my puppy when I get her next year so a friend let me do some with her dog this past summer.
Here is what I'm planning on doing with my pup:
-I already found a trainer with a NADD approved pool, but that should be your first step.
-I asked the trainer how early I can start my pup and she said that she starts getting her pups swimming in a pool at 12 weeks.
-There's an indoor pool (at a rehab center, not a diving pool) near me. Depending on the temps near you, you may want to find one.
-Once my pup is confidently entering the water, I'll start diving lessons.
-A pool is very different than a lake or pond. If you choose to teach your dog to swim in a lake, don't be surprised if they're hesitant to jump into a pool. Some dogs are freaked out about the clear water of a pool - not all, but some.
-Practice throwing! When I competed this summer for my first time, I tossed the toy outside the pool and the poor dog was swimming all over looking for it.
-Make sure the water temperature is comfortable. For some dogs, getting into freezing cold water may make them leary the next time. Once they develop that love for the water, they won't care about the temp!
Thanks for the great advice! Note to self: step 1 find a trainer!
I will keep you guys updated. Piper likes the water but I wouldn't say she loves it. I have a small plastic pool that I got for like $8 and it works well to get her used to it. She not eagerly climbing in yet but sometimes if I sit in the middle and squeak her toy she will, VERY slowly get in. Thanks for your help! =)
Ok I'm back! lol. Pro: I found a trainer! Con: He is located 3 and a half hours away. And that is the only dock diving instructor with in about 200 miles of where I live. He has really great reviews on his fb page though I must say.
I might consider making the drive if it is maybe a once a month thing but I'm not sure?
Umm...so now I'm a bit stuck. If you guys know of any trainers in North Carolina, USA. Please let me know.
I did a quick search and that's the location I found... I don't know anything at all about them. If you're on FB, I would join some dock diving and sport dog groups and ask in there. You're likely to find someone fairly close by with some good info!
I'd recommend going to an actual Dock dog, Ultimate air(UAD), or NADD competition. Talking to people is the best way to find out more info. There could even be a pool that does rentals closer to you that maybe isn't advertised. That's how I found the one that's closest to me. I never new it existed, but it's about 25mins from me. However they often get booked up quickly so we end up going to our friends place to practice instead.
Also if you go to competitions UAD and NADD usually do try its inbetween waves and will let you try/practice with your pup.
Age wise they can start at any age. I have a few breeder friends who start introducing their puppies to the pool/swimming as early as 6.5-7 weeks(but they also actually own the facilities with the pools). However if you will be taking your puppy to a place where tons of dogs frequent wait until he's had all his shots.
Dogs are allowed to compete in competitions as long as they are at least 6 months old(at least with Dock dogs not sure about the other orgs). All my dogs were older when I started working with them and I personally would wait until my puppy is at least a year same as I would something like agility, but that's me.
For now you can always work on building that toy drive. You can never have enough toy drive when it comes to dock diving.
Thank you Boxerluv! Going to a competition sounds like a good idea, I might try that.
I have been working on simply playing fetch with her and introducing her to being around open water, and getting into the kiddie pool. Kiddie pool is her favorite! She gets excited every time I walk out of the house with her fetch toy (a fluffy raccoon that I toss into the pool for her to retrieve.) She has come a ways since I got her.