Questions about Ultimate Air Dogs and the sport of Dock Jumping?
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The dogs name can only appear once per Splash, It-Game, or the Finals. Since there are 2 jumps per Splash or (in your case) Catch-It round, you can have a different handler for each jump. With UAD, it's all about the dog, and not the team. Doesn't matter who handles the dog but each dog only gets one chance at the game.
Note: Your dog must be at least 6 months old, and you may be asked for proof if your dog looks too young. There are special circumstances like if you happen to have an experienced swimmer that is only 4 months old, the event judge can test the pup's swimming ability and it is up to him/her if they will allow your dog in. Please be sure to read the rules.
There is a $10 practice fee per dog/per day at OUTDOOR events. You are able to practice in between our Splashes as time allows... so there is no guarantee that if you come to an event, you will be able to practice. The earlier you get there, the more likely you will be able to try. It just depends on the event. Indoor events are absolutely the worst place to teach a new dog... they are extremely louder than normal, which can be quite intimidating to a new dog trying to learn. The last thing you want to do is scare your dog, so best thing is to look for an outdoor event - which most of our events are. Find an outdoor event near you and look at the schedule for that event, where it says "check-in and practice" is where we have practice. Now, just an FYI... there is NEVER any guarantee - meaning, if there are 100 dogs at an event that are all competing, most likely we won't take any outside practice dogs because the practice time will be used up by competitors participating in the event. 90% of the time that isn't the case, but you need to know that just in case.
To Be Announced. We typically don't open events for registration until it's 4-6 weeks out. There are some occasions where we will get a last minute event and we'll list the event with TBA just to get the word out. No need to email us - just keep watching the schedule page for that "TBA" to change to "REGISTER/INFO".
The thing is, one of our rules is that your dog has to be an above average swimmer before even "trying" this out, so you'll have to get him/her to that level first. You have to get them better acquainted with water and swimming - your dog must be past the "splashing around haphazardly" stage. We have this rule in place as a safety measure for you and your dog. We do not allow dogs that are not at the above average level of swimming. It can be horrifying to a dog who's never swam, and then gets put into the pool… If he/she isn't sure about it, it can ruin their chance of ever swimming! Events can be extremely intimidating to some dogs...loud music, loud crowds, lots of other dogs, etc. Definitely not a good place for their intro to swimming!!!
So this what you do next:
If your breed of dog is one that typically wears a swim vest when they swim, go out and get one. The other thing to get on the way to the swim hole is a "dock only" toy. Bring your dog to the nearest pet store and let your dog pick it out. Make it a rule that this toy is only available to your dog during their swimming lessons, and then later on at the dock. This will bring excitement the next time your dog goes swimming.
Your best bet is to try to take your dog somewhere where you can get in the water with him/her if you had to. We always suggest a river or lake with a gradual decline. You bring your dogs favorite toy, and toss it in short - making it as easy for your dog to bend just a little bit to retrieve it. Praise your dog as soon as he/she gets it. Slowly, toss it farther and farther away. Your dogs confidence builds each time they have to get the toy and you praise him/her. Eventually, your dog will have to swim to get it. REMEMBER, this is a gradual process. Don't do too much in one day. You can go again the next day. Have the swim vest on hand in case you think that he/she needs it, and be ready to jump in too...allot of times a dog will learn to swim on the fly if their owner jumps in first!
Once you get your dog swimming like a fish, then just bring her out to an event to try our "Practice Time".
First of all, and most importantly, we do not tolerate abuse of any of our rules so please make sure that you read them.
We have "practice" time at most of our events… you pay a $10 per dog / per day practice fee, and you can practice all day in between competition rounds. You'll get in line with everyone else, take 2 jumps, then get back in line. If you're brand spankin' new, we can help you get started, as long as it's not a crazy full event. When you get to the event, just find the event secretary's tent and ask her if there is availability. You will be asked for your name and signature for the liability waiver, & anyone else that will be going on the dock with you must do the same. NOTE: You do not have to be a registered competitor to come out and practice, but your dog must be an above average swimmer!
Make sure to let the secretary know that this is your first time, and please try not to be intimidated… we were all in your shoes at one time or another, and before you know it, you'll know everyone's name and hopefully you'll be coming to as many events as you can because you and your dog will be hooked!
3 things to note: A) Not all events have practice times, that's why on every schedule posted on our Web site you will see *Schedule subject to change. Please be kind to the event secretary, it's not her fault that you didn't get there before everyone else! B) Even though you paid $10 to practice, competitors have priority on the dock. There could be a point where you're standing in line and you get cut off because we need to get an event going, and if this happens to you, just sit back and watch the show, then when the competition ends, get in line again. The $10 is for all day, which is pretty un-heard of. C) At these busy events, most of our own dogs (UAD Staff) sit in their crates and mope most of the day because we're too busy to let them jump. In that case you may have to wait a little bit after a competition so that staff can run their dogs.
What you'll do the very first time:
Get in the practice line, and when it's your turn, have your toy ready, and take your dog (on leash) to the ramp. It's important to try to remain calm and don't get anxious because you think people are watching you…no one is judging, in fact, we're all here to help you. So guide your dog up the ramp making sure that your dog feels comfortable and try to keep him/her stable. Most dogs on the first time out may struggle a bit because it's not familiar, so just be patient, keep your cool, and relax. Your dog can feel everything that you feel, so let him/her feel the confidence that you have in him/her. Now when you get to the top, take the leash off while getting the toy out, and toss the toy about 4 or 5 feet out. Your goal is to get your dog to swim out and get the toy and bring it back, exiting the pool via the ramp, and being comfortable doing it.
Some dogs take more practice than others, so if you have to do it twice, go for it. If your dog still struggles on the second time, no worries. Stay calm, bring your dog down the ramp, and get back in line. Make sure to constantly praise your dog for doing something he's never done before. Even though you may not think it, you're making great progress and are headed in exactly the right direction. There's a little thing called jealousy… and it helps in training because your dog will want what the other dogs have. While you're in line waiting for your next turn, your dog will see the other dogs jump and swim, and get out of the pool via the ramp, and your dog will want to do the same. When it's your turn, go back to the ramp and try it again - never stress, always praise. When your dog is comfy on the exit strategy, you're ready for the dock. If your dog still isn't comfortable, you are welcome to get back in line and keep trying, but your dog might not do it.
What should I bring with me?
How do I know when it's "practice time"?
How many people can be on the dock?
What does Club Event mean?
Ultimate Air (Distance jumping) is the main feature of our events. Dogs run down a dock and fly into a pool - the distance is judged from the end of the dock nearest the waters' edge, to the base of the dog’s tail. It is showcased in different rounds called “SPLASHES”. At a typical event, we usually host anywhere from 2 to 15 Splashes - culminating at the end of the event with our Divisional Finals.
Our National event Judges are all certified UAD & UKC Dock Jumping Judges, and all have at least 10 or more years experience judging and/or competing. Judges are trained by the President (Milt Wilcox), and/or his son (Brian Wilcox), who have judged over hundreds of thousands of dogs for more than 15 years. Mainstream dock jumping events are judged one of two ways - by camera or by human eye. The only way of getting an accurate jump distance by camera, is if there are multiple camera's setup at several points on the pool, with an additional camera in an aerial position. On the average, most dock jumping pools are not shorter than 40ft, and dogs jump anywhere from 1ft to 30ft, so it's scientifically impossible to make a correct call from only 2 camera angles, let alone some only use 1. The dogs that jump directly at the mounted position of the camera will have an accurate call, but all others will be off. Besides that, once the camera captures the image, it is then read by a human that wasn't watching the jump live. UAD events are judged the most accurate way possible, which is by eye. Our Judges are trained to move with the dog so they are actually standing right in line with the dog when they land. Our Judges are the most experienced Judges in Dock Jumping, and they are also known to be the most fair. Not to mention they are very entertaining!!!
Within each Splash, dog-handler teams get 2 jumps. Ultimate Air Dogs runs a format unique to other Dock Jumping organizations where dogs jump back-to-back in our Splashes. This means no extra fatigue for you or your dog from standing and waiting in line until your next jump. Once you’ve made your 2 jumps, you may exit the pool area and go praise your dog for the awesome sportsmanship!!!
The best score [of those two jumps] is then recorded for the Bubble. What is The Bubble? The Bubble holds the key to the Finals - it breaks down the dogs into our pre-determined divisions, allowing teams to track their progress throughout the event.
How does that work? After each Splash, the secretary enters the scores into the computer, which then places the dogs into their corresponding divisions, according to their best distances jumped. It also tracks the second best jump in case of ties. If your dog's best jump is 14'3", but it's tied with another dog in the Bubble, our software system looks at all previous jumps and then ranks in order of 2nd best jump. If both of those tie (it's not as likely but does happen), both dogs remain in the same position in the ranking of the Bubble. The Bubble is typically printed out after each Splash and kept at the secretary's desk.
I bet you're still wondering how the Finals work right? Well wonder no more... Immediately following the last Splash of the event, the final Bubble is compiled, a “roll call”* is taken, and once it’s determined, the top 5 dogs in each Division are announced and invited** back to compete in the Divisional Finals. Nice rosette ribbons are given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place dogs and Participation ribbons are given to 4th and 5th place dogs.
Dog and handler teams also earn annual titles on the Ultimate Air Dogs database by participating in SPLASHES.
**When we announce that we need everyone to check in for Finals, please come to the secretary desk and tell us your dogs name(s) so that the secretary can check off who is on site, and who is not. At that time, the secretary will not know who is in the Finals… in other words, please don’t ask! We will make an announcement of each team that will be in the Finals as soon as the information is available to us. As stated in the rules, you must be checked in 30 minutes prior to each Splash to be included in the running order, and this especially applies to the Finals because if you don't check in, we have to move to the next dog until we have 5 in the division. If you show up after check-in, please do not assume that you are in the Finals. If you need to leave before we call for Finals check-in and you know that you won't be back in time for the proper check-in, please alert the secretary and they will check you in.
***There is no charge for the Finals
UAD Rules can be found here.
Catch-It is new twist on the Ultimate Distance game (Splash). The winning team is so connected, that if the dog were a person, they would finish each others sentences!
It runs the same way as a SPLASH, where two jumps for each dog are judged by 2 distance points, however the dog MUST catch the object thrown for the jump to count, as opposed to SPLASHES, where only the best jump is the score.
If the dog makes the catch, two distances are recorded: where the dog makes the catch, as well as where the dogs tail lands in the water.
Each dog gets 2 back-to-back chances to make their best catch. The distances are then added together for the score.
Not only is it an added challenge for the dog to catch the throw object while in mid-air, it also requires intense concentration, spot-on timing, and strategy from the handler.
Catch-It is played by the most highly skilled teams. It is extremely fun to watch, and highly addicting!!!
Normal UAD rules apply, as well as specific rules below that pertain to Catch-It:
1. You can have up to 2 handlers (with the exception of service dogs).
2. You can place your dog at any position for your starting position, but we recommend using the full length of the dock.
3. As outlined above, there are 2 parts to the scoring in Catch-It - the "Catch" score, and the "Landing" score. Hand-off's do not count towards a "Catch" score, so you must throw the object in order for it to count towards the first score. If you do a "hand-off", you will get no score.
4. You get 2 tries at it. If your dog catches the bumper both times, the score gets added together.
5. In the event of a tie, both dogs will jump again and the dog with the highest score wins.
“FETCH-IT” is a sport that was developed by Milt Wilcox & Bill Richardson, and while there may be others trying to imitate it, Fetch-It is only found at Ultimate Air Dogs, and now as seen on TV at the ProPlan Incredible Dog Challenge.
It is the horizontal version of a sport called "vertical”. The rigs look very similar, but the outcome is completely opposite, whereby the dogs jump out, and not up... In other words, a very safe alternative, as well as an excellent training tool for distance jumping. Unlike the other "vertical" sports, dogs will not hit the bottom of the pool (risking serious injury) in the game of Fetch-It. UAD has done "vertical" in the past, but when we saw the horrifying footage taken from the underwater camera that we placed at the bottom of the pool, specifically out of curiosity to view how the dogs were landing, we immediately cancelled the sport indefinitely, and developed Fetch-It.
In Fetch-It, a bumper is suspended 4ft off the water, and starting at a minimum distance of 10ft out, the dog must knock the bumper out of it’s hold within two tries in order to move to the next level. The bumper is moved out at 1ft increments and the dog that knocks the bumper off at the furthest distance wins. It is not only a sport of endurance and skill, it also helps condition your dog to jump further in our regular Splashes, as it trains his or her muscle memory and improves speed on the dock.
It's immediate gratification for the dogs, and the crowds just love it!!!
Normal UAD rules apply, as well as specific rules below that pertain to Fetch-It:
1. You only need 1 handler, but you can use two if you need a holder.
2. You can place your dog at any position for your starting position, but we recommend using the full length of the dock.
3. You get 2 tries at it so if your dog misses the first time, bring him/her back up for the 2nd. After the second consecutive miss, the dog is out. A "Fetch" is completed when the bumper comess off of the Fetch-It rig, regardless of whether the dog has it in his mouth, or it gets knocked off.
4. You can take 1 pass - meaning if you start your dog at a certain distance, and he/she is getting it with ease, you can pass the next distance so you don't tire your dog out early.
5. There will be a practice round for new dogs and dogs that need to determine a starting distance.
6. In the event of a tie, the dog that has the least "misses" wins. If that is tied, the dog with most "Fetch's" wins.
7. For title purposes, the last "Fetch" is the score that is recorded for the dog, for the event.
“CHASE-IT” - is a timed swimming race that ultimately gives bragging rights to the events FASTEST DOG!!! Chase-It is another Ultimate Air Dogs exclusive, that really gets the crowds cheering for the dogs!
Chase-It requires a minimum of 2 handlers per dog... The "Main Handler", who should be the person that the dog responds to the most (as this person will be at the far end of the pool, waving and cheering the dog to the Finish line); and "The 2nd Handler", who should be the person that will be on the dock with the dog at the starting line. (You may have 2 handlers on the dock; if you have a Service Dog you may have 3.)
By starting all dogs in the same position (at the front of the dock nearest the waters edge), it allows for a level playing field. Each dog runs on their own, meaning this is not side-by-side racing. Each dog gets 2 back-to-back chances for a best time.
The dog and 2nd Handler are positioned on the dock at the front (nearest the waters edge). The "Main Handler" is in position at the far end of the pool (near the finish line, which is at the 35ft mark. When the Judge sees that everyone is in position, the Judge will say either say "Bumper in" or "Ready", and the 2nd Handler releases the dog to jump into the pool and the clock starts.
A UAD lure is either tossed in front of the dog and "lured" (the bumper is on a very long rope) through the water to the finish line; or the handler might prefer not to use a "lure".
If the Main Handler chooses to use a lure, they must use a lure provided by UAD, unless you show up with a toy tied to a 45ft rope, and this must be approved by the Judge before the competition starts.
If they choose to use a lure, he or she is responsible for doing the "luring"... the Main Handler will toss the lure into the center of the pool (roughly at the 15ft mark), and then he or she will get ready to "lure" or pull the rope in front of the dog.
The Main Handler must concentrate on luring, because the dog cannot touch anything until he crosses the finish line, or he is disqualified. If the Main Handler chooses not to use a lure, he or she should be ready to act like a Mexican jumping bean, waving the dogs favorite toy, until the dog crosses the finish line... in essence luring the dog to victory!
Chase-It has been dubbed by the press as “drag racing for dogs”!
Normal UAD rules apply, as well as specific rules below that pertain to Chase-It:
1. You can have as many people as you want at the finish line helping to cheer on your dog
2. Up to 2 people per dog (with the exception of service dogs) will be permitted on the dock.
2. The handler on the dock cannot push or throw the dog in.
3. The handler at the finish line cannot touch the dog until he or she either crosses the finish line, or loses the race.
4. If a dog jumps in before the Judge is ready, he/she is subject to losing that turn.
5. The Main Handler is responsible for choosing whether to use a lure or not; as well as being responsible for doing the "luring".
6. If you want to use your own toy as the lure, it must be tied to a 45ft piece of plastic floating rope. You are responsible for bringing the toy with rope attached, and having it approved by the Judge at least 1 hour prior to starting Chase-It.
What is UKC?
*Fees subject to change without notice.