As you know from previous posts, Hooch has practiced his dock diving at both Canine Spaand Mountain Trail Training Center. However, both facilities have docks that are only a few inches off of the water. Hooch had never jumped in from a height of an official DockDogs dock (2 feet). To make sure he was comfortable with this, as soon as we arrived to the Maryland State Fairgrounds, we took Hooch up on the dock for a practice run. As soon as I unleashed Hooch, he ran down the dock stairs into the crowd, and all around the pool (TWICE!!) The third time, he ran and dove in with no problem – so I thought I had this down pat, no problem. I was highly mistaken!
Hooch’s first official recorded dive was amazing! Although we had practiced nothing but the “chase method” (where the dog is placed in a stay or wait position at the starting point on the dock. The handler proceeds to the end of the dock, then releases the dog. The chase object is thrown at just the right moment to keep the toy in front of the dog’s nose all the way into the water. Thus, the dog is chasing the object! The advantage of this method is that the handler can control and optimize the launch angle to increase distance – it avoids the flat jump that is likely with the place and send method). After Hooch had run off the dock during practice, I let it get the best of me, and decided to last-minute change to the “Place and Send” method (the dog walks with the handler to the end of the dock and is held back while the handler tosses the toy. The dog is then returned to the start point and released or sent to retrieve the toy. Dogs that use the place and send method are generally just not trained to wait or stay on the dock themselves). Even with this last-minute change, Hooch jumped big!
Hooch’s first official jump was a whopping 16 feet! I was SO excited! Luckily we had some friends at the event that took a video to capture Hooch’s Debut!
Here’s another video of the same jump, in slow motion that another friend shot for us:
For Hooch’s second jump, I also used the Place and Send method, and he jumped 13 feet, 1 inch – again – a distance I was thrilled with! Hooch wound up earning 2nd Place in the Senior Division!!
After Hooch’s first wave, he decided he was not going to run and jump – but rather run, stop at the edge of the dock, then “POP” into the water. Although this frustrated ME, the crowd LOVED him!
Hooch (AKA “Big POP-pa”) continued to be a crowd pleaser, but jumped in the Junior and Novice Divisions.
Overall, Team Homemade Hooch placed in every wave we were registered in, and won FOUR ribbons in their dock diving debut! WOOT WOOT!
Getting ribbons was fun!
Cello also did very well in her first 2015 event – she won 2nd Place Iron Dog in the Warrior Division!
This was also Cello’s first time trying Speed Retrieve – having never practiced this competition before this event! Her time was 9.85 seconds…not too bad for her first time!
Here’s Cello doing Extreme Vertical:
And here is Cello doing Big Air – although she was still a crowd favorite, she was leaving the dock SUPER early, and did not perform to her usual standards.
Brian also volunteered to announce at this event:
It was an awesome weekend filled with great friends, good conversation, and lots and LOTS of laughs! We want to thank EVERYone for their advice and support during this event. I also want to personally thank everyone who took video and photographs of both Team Cello and Team Homemade Hooch. I was so preoccupied with being a nervous wreck, that I took not ONE picture or video with my own camera or phone!
Team Homemade Hooch also wants to thank Team Cello for celebrating Team Homemade Hooch’s dock diving debut by buying us a Chesapeake DockDogs shirt in our team color!
Our 2015 shirts were a big hit as well!
We had a super-fun weekend, and are very proud of our two dock divers. We are excited to compete in part two of the World of Pets Expo in Virginia in a couple of weeks!