Approximately 27 dogs took part in a North America Diving Dogs (NADD) competition held at Eromit Acres last weekend (July 14-15).
The competing dogs, from as far away as Kamloops and Williams Lake, are led up onto a platform just above a large pool, one at a time. Each dog has at least one handler (sometimes two), and a toy of their choice. In most cases, the handler plays with the dog briefly, to help rile it up, then has it sit at the far end of the platform while they stand next to the pool.
The handler throws the toy into the pool and the dog dashes to catch it. Their jump into the pool is measured, with the farther they go the better. Some lucky dogs even managed to catch the toy mid-jump.
Each dog gets two jumps per turn, plus a practice jump if they need it.
Each dog also belongs to a division, based on how far they can jump. Jumping less than 10 ft is novice, jumping from 10 ft to just under 15 ft is junior, from 15 ft to just under 20 ft is senior, from 20 ft to just under 24 ft is master, and anything over 24 ft is the elite division. Dogs can win first, second or third in each division.
This is Erin and Tim Lynes’ third summer hosting dock diving competitions. The duo breed Labrador retrievers and run a store with items for the feeding, care, health and training of dogs, called the Eromit K9 Sport Gear. They also host dock diving practices and offer training for dogs new to the sport.
Erin says they hadn’t heard of dock diving until they were sent a photo of a dog from one of their past litters jumping in a lake in Whistler. That particular dog started competing and has even gone to the world championships.
“When we had the chance to try it for ourselves, we went down to Kamloops for an event, got hooked and decided to build our own pool and bring it to Quesnel,” says Erin.
She says it’s a friendly competition. “The dogs love it,” she says. “And the people are top-notch. Everybody cheers for each other.”
While most of the dogs didn’t hesitate to rush into the pool (and many even enjoyed a quick victory lap), the odd dog required a little more encouragement from the crowd before jumping in to retrieve their toy.
Heather Peters has been competing with her dog, Scraps, since last summer.
She says when they got Scraps, he was high energy and loved retrieving and swimming. When they found out about the dock diving at Eromit, they decided to try it out. Peters and Scraps come to the pool each Wednesday for practice, and then compete as well.
“My dog is nuts for swimming,” says Peters. “He knows the pool is here and he does not care about humans right now, he just wants to jump.”