Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dock Jumping - Part Deux?

 You may or may not recall Secret's journey into the world of competitive dock diving last year.  For those who may not be aware of it, you can read all about the epic failure (complete with video!) by clicking here.  To say I was a little disappointed about that whole turn of events is a bit of an understatement.  She's a great jumper with no fear on the local docks, but the indoor pool experience was just entirely new for her.

After the fair fiasco last summer I more or less just put the whole dock diving thing on the back burner.  We've obviously continued to swim our little hearts out on a regular basis, but I stopped obsessing over finding dock events to try to fit into our crazy schedule.  I definitely wasn't willing to give up any agility weekends to go through that again.

Well, a friend posted about an outdoor event being held on a lake in MN at the end of next month.  It's not anything official or sanctioned, just a local event trying to get off the ground that might bring in something bigger next year.  Hmm.  It's outdoors.  It's in natural water.  I got to thinking that maybe I'd like to try again with Secret!
Tonight was a beautiful 82 degrees and I didn't have to work at the shelter.  Considering that starting tomorrow it's going to be deathly miserable and hot, what I *should* have done this evening is set one of the agility drills I have piling up and worked all three dogs.  But no, I once again have the dock jumping itch and I decided instead to throw Secret in the car and drive to Lake Neshonoc in West Salem.

Yup, I just took Secret.  The reason for this decision was twofold -- I anticipated that it might be busy and didn't want to worry about watching three dogs (one of whom has to stay on leash).  Also, Secret HAS GOT to learn to start doing things on her own without having a meltdown.  So yes, it was a very good thing for her to go by herself.

She was unsettled and whining in the car.  Was this because she was by herself or because she knew we were going swimming?  We parked at the top and had to walk down the hill to the water and she wasn't paying attention to me or the toy at all.  There were a couple of guys fishing, a truck with a boat on a trailer and someone putting a jet ski on the trailer.

I knew better than to just go and chuck the new Wubba off the end of the dock, so we started slowly.  VERY slowly because Secret was being all freaky and whiny.  I walked in the water with her and threw it about two feet away from her and she GINGERLY picked it up out of the water.  I threw it into the shallow water a few more times and when I was confident she was comfortable getting it I threw it so that she had to swim a bit.  Then we moved onto the dock and I threw it from there into the shallow water.  Secret was very hesitant at first but she quickly found her confidence.

We quickly moved to doing jumps off the side and closer to the end -- this meant a fairly long swim back to the shore, but Secret doesn't mind that.  She had some spectacular jumps, easily making it over 10', which is saying something for trying to get a foothold on that slippery metal dock.  Once I knew she was totally comfortable I moved to throwing it off the end.  The most difficult thing about that on this dock is that it has a lip and honestly I'm not sure if it's even a good test for her.  She was game, though, and after totally flopping in over that lip the first time she had a couple of nice jumps off the end.

The work schedule is already out for July and obviously I'm working that weekend (especially since we have a NADAC trial in La Crosse the weekend before).  I will wait a bit longer before asking around to see if anyone wants to switch with me, but I do think it would be fun to try again.

The biggest issue I foresee is Secret's initial hesitancy in new situations.  I figure if we try this again, I'll just have to go into it planning to jump in the water if I have to.  If there is any way to send her in off the side of the dock we'll of course try that, too.  I feel that she'll have a lot more confidence on the familiarity of outdoor natural water, although I'll have to be sure to travel around to several places again prior to the event.

It's really just a small town fun sort of thing.  The flyer is here:  http://www.wabashamn.org/brochures/details/329/  So far it sounds like several of my friends are going and it would just be an all around fun time.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck! I'd like to get Legend into that but it's all about time! Not enough for everything :(