Monthly Archives: June 2011

Aaron Vale: Grand Prix Rider Extraordinaire!

Unfortunately the post that I was working on for my special Thursday daily project disappeared into cyberspace … 😦

So while I silently cry (lol) and rewrite the post, here are some clips that I took of Aaron Vale, Olympic rider, at the Roanoke Valley Horse Show last weekend.  Vale won his 11th Grand Prix of Roanoke!  He is absolutely incredible and just breathtaking to watch.  Even though this isn’t dog-related, I hope that you all still enjoy it — we have to improvise every once in a while, right?!?  🙂

Trick Tuesday: How to Train Your Dog to Jump Into Your Arms

Every Tuesday, I am going to try and blog about dog tricks.  “Trick Tuesday” might include a trick tutorial video, a video of my dogs performing a newly learned trick, a written explanation of a trick, a neat trick that I’ve found and would like to try, etc.


I made this trick tutorial video, “How to train your dog to jump into your arms”, last fall.  This is one of Kylie’s favorite tricks and it’s one that I use at the end of agility runs since the dog is then caught and ready to exit the course.  Every dog that I have taught this trick to seems to enjoy performing it and it’s a fun trick that bystanders enjoy watching.

Before you begin training this trick, make sure of several things.

  1. Make sure that your dog is full-grown, is in good health with no soundness issues, and is in shape.  Depending on the size of your dog and the height you are asking him to jump up, this trick can be physically demanding.
  2. Make sure that you are comfortable with picking your dog up off the ground, from a standstill.  If your dog is too big/heavy for you to pick him up off the ground, you are definitely not going to want him to launch himself into your arms!
  3. As with any trick, adjust to your dog’s learning curve.  Just like people, some dogs pick up things faster than others.  The more positive and exciting you make training, the quicker your dog is going to learn and the happier he will be to work with you.  And just like people, dogs have various attention spans.  It’s better to break training up into many mini-sessions than to try and force feed everything in one big session.  You know your dog – adjust to what fits!

Please let me know what you all think of “Trick Tuesday” and if you have any questions regarding any component of this trick, please ask!  Hope you all enjoy!  🙂

Sports Saturday: Dock Diving!

Since I’m the kind of person that enjoys at least some structure, I’ve decided to initiate a blogging schedule.  Ever since my “Countdown to Graduation” project ended, I have to admit that I have felt a little lost when it comes to this blog, and I want to change that!  So, over the next week I am going to introduce the daily projects and blogging schedule that I will hopefully stick to (and that you will hopefully enjoy!).  Which brings us to Saturday.  Every Saturday, I’m going to blog about something in the world of dog sports.  “Sports Saturday” might include an introduction to a dog sport, a training exercise that we are currently working on, an upcoming competition that we might be attending, an event that we watched, etc.  And of course, you can bet that there will be lots of photos and videos along the way!


Today I want to introduce the sport of Dock Diving or Dock Jumping.  Let me emphasize that I am far, far from a Dock Diving expert … I’ve only watched two Dock Diving competitions, held by “Dock Dogs”, so I’m still trying to figure out what is going on within this sport!

A shot from the competition we went to the first weekend in June 2011 in Bristol, Virginia. (Handler: If you see this, please contact me so that I can give you and your pup credit and also a copy of this photo if you would like one!)

Dock Diving is a relatively new sport – it first appeared at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge in 1997.  As far as organizations/venues go, the two that I have come across are “Dock Dogs” and “Splash Dogs”.  Any dog over 6-months-old can compete, regardless of breed or size.  Dogs compete in this sport by either jumping the greatest distance horizontally (such as Dock Dogs’ “Big Air” class), vertically (such as Dock Dogs’ “Extreme Vertical” class), or by being the fastest to retrieve a bumper placed at the end of the pool (such as Dock Dogs’ “Speed Retrieve” class).  The “Big Air” class seems to be the most popular and it is what most people picture when they think of this sport.

Coming back from a speed retrieve?

Within this sport, there are different divisions which allow dogs to compete against other dogs that jump a similar length.  For example, in Dock Dogs, the Novice division includes anything from your dog falling in the water up to a distance of 9’11”.  Dogs are then ranked within their divisions.  I find this neat because even if you have a lap dog (and there is indeed a “lap dog” division) or a veteran dog (a division for dogs typically 8-years or older), you can still play and be quite competitive in this fun sport.  In Dock Dogs, the jump distance is calculated by measuring where the base of the dog’s tail hits the water.  The current Dock Dogs’ world record is a whopping 27′ 7.4″, held by Rocket, a Belgian Malinois.

Wahoo, Kylie!!!

Now as far as what we’re doing in the world of Dock Diving?  For now, we’re just spectators.  Will we try it?  Hopefully!  Kylie, as I’m sure you all know by now, lives to swim and Diesel is well on his way to becoming an “Aussie-fish” as well.  Let me know what you all think of today’s post and the future of “Sports Saturday”!  And if you’re interested in trying your hand at Dock Diving, here’s a great article on how to get started (“Getting Started with Big Air”).  Have a great Saturday, everyone!  🙂


It’s Summertime!

Just a preview for tonight … big post with lots of photos coming tomorrow!  Hope you all are staying cool and having fun.  🙂

Miss Aussie-fish!