Wyatt and Maddie: Dock dogs don’t have to be professionals | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | April 1, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: March 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm
By KATRENA McCALL
Most afternoons, you can find Wyatt Drew at his grandparents’ house. It’s not because he doesn’t want to be home with his parents, Bramlett and Nicholas Drew. It’s because that’s where Maddie lives.
Maddie is his four-year-old black lab, and the almost 11-year-old Wyatt’s best friend. And she’s also an official “DockDog.”
The two competed in last year’s DockDog competition at the Rice Festival and had a blast. “She jumped about six feet, I think,” Wyatt said. “She jumped pretty far.”
Maddie has always loved to retrieve her tennis ball. “As long as you throw it, she’ll go get it,” Wyatt said. “She played until she was just about to fall over one time. She’s just plain crazy.” She only likes her tennis ball (she chews up other toys), but that’s OK, since DockDogs competitors bring their own “floating toy.”
Maddie came to Wyatt in 2012 as a puppy, sleeping in his lap in the back of his dad’s pickup on the way home. She comes from a line of field trial dogs, but her former owners thought she wouldn’t make the cut, Wyatt said. “But I just started playing with her and I realized that if I introduced water, she might like it. So when I saw the competition, I thought I’d enter her and see how she did.”
The two trained in the back yard of his grandparents (Michael and Tammie Drew) by leaping off the deck, as well as in a friend’s nearby pond. There’s no dock at the pond, but Maddie just goes off the side and jumps like there’s a dock there, Wyatt said.
Last year, all the grandkids came to him and wanted to enter Maddie in DockDogs, Michael said. But he was skeptical. “I know she loves to retrieve, but I didn’t know anything about her and water. But the people who had the DockDog thing were the most helpful people in the world. They really helped show us what to do and how to do it,” he said.
“Whatever training that dog’s got, Wyatt did it,” said Michael. “I hate to admit it, but I didn’t want the dog when we first brought it home. But they love each other to death.”
And they are all looking forward to this year’s competition. “Every time I come over, I start throwing the ball,” Wyatt said. “I think she’ll do better this year.”
ABOUT DOCK DOGS
This year, the Rice Festival will crown at Colleton County champion for the longest jump in the Palmetto Dock Dogs Competition.
DockDogs® is a sport in which dogs compete in distance or height while jumping from a 40-foot dock into water. There are three disciplines: Big Air® (dogs are judged based on the distance jumped), Extreme Vertical® (the dog that jumps the highest takes the prize) and Speed Retrieve® (a doggy drag race where the fastest rules the pool). Palmetto DockDogs is a club of dog-lovers and their canine companions who support each other during training, host competitions and practices and have a whole lot of fun
So, want to try DockDogs but don’t know where to start? The best thing about this sport is that dogs and handlers of all abilities are welcome! Here are a few important fundamentals for those wanting to try DockDogs:
The pup knows how to swim. Pups must be at least 6 months old to compete in DockDogs. Whether outside at a lake or pond or in a swimming pool, it is important that the dog feels comfortable in the water before trying DockDogs.
The dog has “toy drive.” What is “toy drive?” Simply put, it is a dog’s desire to get/fetch/retrieve/possess an object (toy). The more drive a dog has, the more likely they are to succeed in DockDogs. Many people think that dock jumping is all about dogs liking the water, and while it is important that they feel comfortable swimming and jumping into water, it is more about their motivation to get the toy that is either thrown in the water or hangs above it (Extreme Vertical) or at the end of the pool (Speed Retrieve).
The dog has confidence. DockDogs is a very noisy and high-stimulation experience for dogs. There are many distractions and dogs that exude confidence do best in this environment. The pup should also feel comfortable being crated for extended amounts of time.
The most important part of DockDogs is having fun with dogs and friends. Whether a beginner who has a dog that won’t jump off the dock yet, or a champion team, all share a deep love for dogs and desire to bond with them and work as a team. The DockDogs community includes a network of people who are dedicated to helping and mentoring new teams and sharing insight and training advice. World record holders cheer on the newbies and at the end of the day, all are happy to share these special moments with their best friends.
Newcomers are also welcome to enter an event and this is how many teams try the sport for the first time. By entering one “wave” of competition, participants will have access to practice (as available) for the duration of the event.
The Rice Festival schedule is:
Thu. Apr 21, 2016
Try DockDogs – 4-6 pm
Fri. Apr 22, 2016
Onsite Registration/Practice – 9 a.m.
Big Air Wave # 1 – 10 a.m.
Big Air Wave # 2 – 11:30 a.m.
Big Air Wave # 3 – 1 p.m.
Big Air Wave # 4 – 2:30 p.m.
Big Air Wave # 5 – 4 p.m.
Sat. Apr 23, 2016
Onsite Registration/Practice – 9 a.m.
Big Air Wave # 6 – 10 a.m.
Extreme Vertical (All in one) – 11:30 a.m.
Speed Retrieve (All in one Finals) – 1 p.m.
Big Air Finals – 2:30 p.m. (Pro, Semi-Pro, Contender & Amateur Finals)
Pre-Registration Entry Fees
$27/team per Big Air
$27/team per Speed Retrieve wave
$27/team per Extreme Vertical – For Adults
$12/team ~ Big Air
$12/team per Speed Retrieve wave
$12/team per Extreme Vertical – For Youth
On-Site Registration Entry Fees
$30/team ~ Big Air
$30/team ~ Speed Retrieve wave
$30/team ~ Extreme Vertical – For Adults
$15/team per Big Air
$15/team per Speed Retrieve wave
$15/team per Extreme Vertical – For Youth
To enter online, visit http://dockdogs.com/eventscal/colleton-county-rice-festival/
For information call 1.330.241.4975, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Palmetto DockDog is a regional affiliate club of the Worldwide DockDogs organization that was formed in 2011. The club covers South Carolina but welcomes members from all over the country. It doesn’t matter what breed of dog you have or if you know your dog will jump — the idea is to have fun! DockDogs is the fastest growing dog sport in the world and Palmetto DockDogs hosts 1-2 club events a year, as well as attending national events. The club raises money for many different causes such as Chase Away Canine Cancer and the B.A.A.R.K Foundation. Member benefits include discounted club merchandise, “members only” practices/seminars, and early bird registration for club events.
Monthly practices at the club’s location on Johns Island.