The DockDogs® are returning to entertain visitors to the 2008 Waterfowl Festival, November 14, 15 and 16. The competition debuted at last year’s Festival and was a hit with the crowds, joining the annual Retriever Demonstrations as must-see events for dog lovers.
This internationally sanctioned competition was established in 2000 at the ESPN Great Outdoor Games and has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. The DockDogs® “Big Air” competition features canines of all breeds taking flying leaps off a dock to see which can splash farthest into a pool of water.
The current World Record Holder, with a jump of 28 feet 10 inches, is a Greyhound mix named “Country.” An “Extreme Vertical” high-jump variation was added in 2005 and a new “Speed Retrieve” timed event debuted this year.
The competition is not just for professionally trained retrievers. Anyone may enter his or her own dog in the event, house pet or hunting companion, pure bred or mixed breed, as long as the dog is 6 months of age or older. Pre-registrations are accepted online at the DockDogs® website, www.dockdogs.com.
One may also enter on the day of the event at the Waterfowl Festival. However, last year the few available on-site registration slots for competitors filled up quickly, so pre-registration is advised.
The local Delmarva DockDogs® chapter is hosting the competition. A $20 entry fee includes at least one practice jump and two competitive jumps. Handlers receive one free Festival ticket for each dog entered, allowing them to enjoy the rest of the Festival in addition to the competition. A Festival ticket or badge is required for spectators.
Competitions will take place at the Easton Middle School throughout the three days of the Waterfowl Festival. Groups of handlers and dogs will compete in “waves” about two hours long, with a half-hour practice period in between. With almost continuous activity, Festival visitors will be able to stop by anytime for some wet-dog entertainment.
The event is fun to watch even when the dogs don’t get wet. The ones that get to the edge of the dock, stop and turn to their handlers with a “you’ve got to be kidding” look on their faces can be most entertaining. The practice sessions where novice dogs are coaxed off the dock by their handlers provide many memorable moments.
Even at the Retriever Demonstrations at Easton Village Ponds, the highly trained retrievers can outsmart their handlers by taking the quick and easy route of running around the pond to retrieve the thrown or hidden dummy, rather than swimming across. The demonstrations take place three times a day, each day of the Festival.
Both events offer entertainment for audiences of all ages at the Waterfowl Festival.
The 2008 Waterfowl Festival will be held in Easton November 14, 15 & 16. For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation, contact the Waterfowl Festival office at 410-822-4567 or visit its website, www.waterfowlfestival.org.