About the Sport

DockDogs has three different disciplines:

  • Big Air
  • Extreme Vertical
  • Speed Retrieve
  • Iron Dog

Big Air


“Big Air” is essentially a long jump for dogs. Distance jumped is measured to where the BASE of the dogs tail breaks the water. In club competitions this is measured manually by two certified judges and in National competition this is measured electronically.
Here is a quick overview of “Big Air” rules and regulations, a full set can be found here.

• Handlers may position their dog anywhere on the dock, forward of the 40 foot line. The dogs tail may rest over the line but the remainder of the body must rest in front of the 40 foot line.
• A chase object may be used to entice the dog into the water but is not required, more than one object thrown into the pool will result in disqualification.
• Chase objects must be floatable and retrievable and non edible (no food on the dock!). Your dog doesn’t have to retrieve it!
• The handler may choose to release the dog at any time, regardless of when they release the chase object.
• If your dog jumps in BEFORE you release the toy/chase object, you may call the dog out of the pool and reset it – without going over the 60 seconds!
• Each team gets 60 seconds on the dock from the time the dog sets foot on the dock until the dog is in motion.
Dogs on the dock longer than 60 seconds will be disqualified.
• One dog, one handler, one toy only allowed on the dock during competition.
• Double handling will result in a disqualification.

Big Air Divisions
Novice 0 – 9’11”
Junior 10’ – 14’11”
Senior 15’ – 19’11”
Master 20’ – 22’11”
Elite 23’ – 24’11”
Super Elite 25’+


Extreme Vertical

Extreme Vertical (aka EV) is a high jump competition for dogs. The bumper is suspended above the water eight feet out with the lowest starting height set at four foot, six inches high, measured from the dock to the bumper. Dogs are required to “grab” or knock down the bumper from the extended arm to obtain an official score.

Here is the readers digest version of Extreme Vertical rules:

• Cadet division will have a starting height of 4’6″ feet.  Top Gun teams can start as low as 5’6″ but can only take two jumps below 6′.  High Flyer teams can start as low as 6’6″ but can only take two jumps below 7′. All teams must select their starting height prior to the start of competition.
• There is a one minute time limit per attempt in all rounds.
• A team is allowed two attempts at any given height to achieve a successful height, except during a tie where teams will get one attempt at a successful grab to break the tie.
• The bumper is raised by 2″ after each round. New teams coming it at a particular height do so once all the teams who are already jumping have had their turn.
• Two misses, regardless of height, disqualifies a team from further jumping except in the case of a jump off for a first place tie.
• The team that has won the competition may continue jumping until they have a total of two misses and may pass (at 2″ increments). For example, if they win at 7’4 they may pass to 7’8 but not 7’7.
• Passing at a height is possible only until there are 3 teams or less.

Please click here for a full set of rules and regulations.


Extreme Vertical Divisions
Cadet  4’6″ – 5’11”
Top Gun 6’0″ – 6’11”
High Flyer 7’0″ + higher

Speed Retrieve

Speed Retrieve is like drag racing for dogs. It is a timed event and the fastest dog wins!  Here are a few quick facts about Speed Retrieve, you can read the full version here.

• Each dog will take two retrieves in rotation order. For each of the retrieves the dog’s handler will signal to the dog to retrieve the bumper which is located 2″ above the water on a rig at the end of the pool.
• Dog is placed with their front paws in the white starting mark at the 20′ line on the dock. The starting block is a two foot wide white painted line on the surface of the dock.
• The dog runs down the dock, jumps in the water and swims out to retrieve the bumper from Speed Retrieve™ rig hanging at the end of the pool.
• The dog must snatch the bumper cleanly (both strings must be pulled off the rig)  before the timer stops.    The dog does not need to bring the object back to the handler for a score.

Speed Retrieve Divisions
Sonic – 5.999 seconds and under
Nitro – 6.000 to 6.999 seconds
Turbo – 7.000 to 7.999 seconds
Express – 8.000 seconds and over

Iron Dog

Iron Dog is similar to a triathlon – it is dogs that compete in all 3 disciplines – Big Air, Speed Retrieve and Extreme Vertical. Dogs that are registered as an Iron Dog will have their best score in each of the three disciplines from the event (Big Air, Speed Retrieve, and Extreme Vertical) calculated from the points table. The goal is to achieve the highest amount of points. To compete as an Iron Dog you MUST compete and receive a valid score in all 3 disciplines:  Big Air, Speed Retrieve and Extreme Vertical.  Want to see how your dog would do in Iron Dog? Download the Iron Dog Calculator.  Many thanks to ODD member Al Wright for making the Title Tracker program and sharing it with us!!


Iron Dog Divisions:
Spartan – 3000.000 and up
Titan – 2800.001 – 2899.999
Warrior – 2800.000 and under