Getting Started

Where to begin
No matter whether you’re an experienced dog handler, involved in other canine sports, or if you just got your first dog and you’re just trying to figure out how to tire him out so he’ll stop chewing up your shoes…everyone is welcome at Central Coast DockDogs.  

The best way to get started is to just bring your dog out to any event (whether is a competition, practice, or training clinic).  There are always plenty of volunteers on hand to get you pointed in the right direction and get your dog into that funny blue swimming pool for the first time. 

Get on the dock and jump in paws first!    Be part of one the most active clubs in the country.  Apply for membership with Central Coast DockDogs.  Membership fees are $50 a Year & $10 extra for Family Members. Membership has it’s privileges!  For more information about membership CLICK HERE.
What to bring to practices or your first training session…

  1. •Leash (no longer than 4 feet)
  2. •Your dogs most treasured toy:

        It must be floatable, non-sinkable toy (it cannot be food or animals; dead or alive)

  1. •Poop bags
  2. •Plenty of towels for you and your dog
  3. •Change of clothes for you (it does happen…people do fall in the pool…frequently)
  4. •Your ‘ready for fun with your dog’ attitude, and a bit of humility (if you forget the humility part, your dog will do that for you later when you’re on the dock) 😉
When you arrive…
No matter what type of event you are attending (whether a practice or competition event), you dog should pee and poop before coming into the venue.   During practice sessions, you will need to take your dog out to potty about every 15 minutes.   

Big Air is essentially the long jump for dogs.  Big Air is essentially the base of the sport, and is the most prevalent aspect of any DockDogs event.  Owners are allowed to throw a floatable toy or object (must not be edible, alive, or dead animal) in to the pool for their dogs to retrieve.   Dogs have the use of the entire dock surface (up to 40’) in which they can run and jump into the pool.   The dogs distance is measured at hind end of the dog, at the base of the tail, where it first breaks the surface of the water.   A dog does not have to retrieve the toy in order to obtain a score.  


Extreme Vertical (usually referred to as EV) was first introduced in 2005 as a competitive game.  Prior to that, it had been used as a training method to teach dogs to jump upward for their toys; in order to obtain greater distances in Big Air.   In Extreme Vertical an ‘EV Rig’ is used to suspend a Dokken, double stringed, puppy foam bumper, up in the air.   During competition, the bumper is required to be suspended 8’ out from the edge of the dock, and at a minimum of 4’ 6” high (measuring from the bottom of the bumper).  Dogs may begin at any height, but must make a successful ‘grab’ (given 2 attempts) in order to continue to the next height.  The bumper is gradually raised by 2” increments, until finally there is only one dog remaining. 


Speed Retrieve is a relatively new game, and was first introduced to through DockDogs National in the 2008 season.   During Speed Retrieve a Dokken, double stringed, puppy foam bumper is suspended a few inches above the water at the end of the pool.   Handlers then line the dogs up at the 20’ mark on the dock, just behind an infrared beam.  The apparatus used to suspend the bumper has yellow and green lights.  Similar to car racing, the yellow lights will blink to signal that it’s about time to start.  Once the green light is lit up, you would release your dog and encourage them to retrieve the bumper.  If you were to let your dog go before the light has turned green, you would be disqualified.    Time is measured from the second the green light comes on until the dog pulls the bumper completely away from the apparatus, therefore breaking the magnetic connection.   Dogs do not have to make a compete retrieve of the bumper