Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of commonly asked questions about DockDogs and getting started. If you still have questions please don’t hesitate to e-mail us at info @ ontariodockdogs.com We are always more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

Newbie/Never done this before Questions:
I really want to get involved in DockDogs® with my dog. What’s the best way to get started?
My dog has never done this before – do you have a novice class?
Do I have to be a member of your club to participate?
What is a wave?
Do I have to jump in every wave? Do I have to jump both days of the event?
Is there Practice Time Available at your events?
What are the divisions for Big Air®?
This is my first event! What should I register for?
What is the bubble?
What’s the difference between national and divisional finals?

General Questions: 
What is a national event?
What is a club event?

Registration Questions
I’m not able to register online. Am I able to register on-site?
I’m trying to register on-site and only Speed Retrieve™ and Extreme Vertical™ are showing up as open, everything else is closed. Help!
I’m driving from really far away and I didn’t pre-register. Are you able to save me a spot?

Title Questions
How do I earn a title?
How do I receive my title?
What’s the difference between a regional and national title?

I really want to get involved in DockDogs® with my dog. What’s the best way to get started?
Many people get involved with DockDogs® for the first time at an event. They either are watching the event or hear about it and decide to come on out and try it with their own dogs. Some people also have dogs that jump of the dock at the lake or at their cottages or have been trying out the sport or taking classes at a sanctioned facility. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying the sport out for the first time at an event and in fact we encourage it! We always have volunteers on hand to help new dogs get into the pool.

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My dog has never done this before – do you have a novice class?
Dogs that have never competed before are always welcome at our competitions! We do not designate any specific waves for newbies or novices – dogs of all abilities are able and welcome to compete in each wave, however, at the end of the wave we do award ribbons to the top 3 dogs in each division. As well any dog that gets wet and jumps off the dock gets a participant ribbon!
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Do I have to be a member of your club to participate?
No you do not! Members and non-members are able to participate in our events however there are advantages to being an Ontario DockDogs member and you can learn more on our membership page
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What’s a Wave?
A wave is basically a competition round. You can register for one or as many waves as you would like.
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Do I have to jump in every wave? Do I have to jump both days of the event?
You can register for one or all of the waves. Register for as many waves as your schedule and budget allow. You do not need to be there every day, but you might want to come back on the last day to see if your dog made the finals.
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Is there Practice Time Available at your events?
There is always Open Dock Practice Time between each of the Waves.  If you enter one or more Waves, you will receive a wristband. That wristband allows you to get on the dock and also to practice whenever there is open dock time. We will have practice coaches available to help you and answer any questions.

The amount of practice time depends on how full the Waves are. If the Waves are full (or close to full), that will cut down on the practice time between the Waves. Also, the number of teams wanting to practice also affects the time you will get on the dock to practice. We also try and limit the time for each person on the dock to  2 jumps or 2 minutes each turn to make it fair to everyone. Often the practice lines are long, so you might only get one or two times on the dock during a practice session. Sometimes, due to time constraints, practice time might be limited to only dogs jumping in the next wave.
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What are the divisions for Big Air®?
The divisions for Big Air® are:

Novice 0 – 9’11”
Junior 10’ – 14’11”
Senior 15’ – 19’11”
Master 20’ – 22’11”
Elite 23’ – 24’11”
Super Elite 25’+
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This is my first event! What should I register for?
If this is your first event we strongly recommend that you stick with Big Air® (long jump for dogs) for your first event or two to allow your dog to get used to the pool, exit ramp, stairs, surroundings, crowds etc. For a dog doing dockdogs for the first time its a bit intimidating for them to have to go get a bumper thats 58 feet away from them (as in Speed Retrieve™) or fetch a bumper thats 8 feet from the edge of the dock and 4’6 up in the air. Some dogs are able to handle it just fine, but from our experience, the majority isn’t.
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What is the bubble?
The bubble is a sheet that shows who is currently in finals for each division in Big Air®. At Ontario DockDog events we run divisional finals at the end of the event on Sunday. At the end of the waves on Saturday we post the bubble which shows the top 6 teams that are currently in finals for each of the divisions. If you are in the bubble on Saturday there’s a good chance that you will remain in the finals on Sunday so it is worth coming back on Sunday to check. We update the bubble again at the end of the waves on Sunday before the finals. The top 6 teams in the bubble most check in 1 hour before finals. If you are an alternate it’s a good idea to stick around as sometimes those in the bubble do not show up and the alternates take their place.
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What’s the difference between national format finals and divisional finals?
National finals are held at all national events (events held at sanctioned facilities or hosted by DockDogs® Worldwide) National finals take the top 6 dogs in the amateur class (up to 12’11), top 6 dogs in the contender class (13-17’11) and the top 6 dogs in the semi-pro class (18-21’11) and the top 6 dogs in the pro class (22′ +).

Divisional finals are the type of finals the Ontario DockDogs holds at all of our events and a lot of other clubs also do divisional finals. At the end of the event we bring back the top 6 dogs in the Big Air® divisions below to compete in the finals.

Novice 0 – 9’11
Junior 10’ – 14’11
Senior 15’ – 19’11
Master 20’ – 22’11
Elite 23’ – 24’11
Super Elite 25’+

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What is a national event?
A national event is an event run by the staff at DockDogs® Worldwide. They are very similar to a club event however the main difference is the finals structure. They are also judged by an electronic system that is very accurate. They do a national finals format which takes the top 6 dogs in the amateur class (up to 12’11), top 6 dogs in the contender class (13-17’11) and the top 6 dogs in the semi-pro class (18-21’11) and the top 6 dogs in the pro class (22′ +). Finalists get medals and can also win DockDogs® credits which can be used towards future DockDogs®/ODD event registrations.
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What is a club event?
A club event is an event put on by Ontario DockDogs or any other affiliate club of DockDogs. At club events you are able to earn your regional titles. Each club does things a little differently but all ODD events have Big Air®, Speed Retrieve™, Extreme Vertical™ and Iron Dog. We also run divisional finals which allows the little and big jumpers all a chance of making finals! Our finalists win medallions and prize bags!
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I’m not able to register online. Am I able to register on-site?
Yes we do have on-site registration available though it is often limited. To secure your place we recommend trying to pre-register online or arriving early the day of the event. As a side note, we only allow people to register for Sundays waves on Sunday to make it fair for those people who are not able to be at the event all weekend.
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I’m trying to register on-line and only Speed Retrieve™ and Extreme Vertical™ are showing as open and everything else is closed. Help!
When that happens it means that pre-registration for Big Air® is full and only on-site registration spots are available still.
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I’m driving from really far away and I didn’t pre-register. Are you able to save me a spot?
Unfortunately while we wish we could do that, we aren’t able to as it’s not fair to those that arrive early for on-site registration. On-site registration is first come, first serve and must be done by the handler. Registering for a friend is not permitted. We don’t like to turn people away so we try and accommodate as many people in our events as we can. We have run waves with up to 60 dogs before though sometimes this is not always possible due to event schedules, venues etc.
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How do I earn a title?
A title is earned after 5 legs within the same division for Big Air® (i.e you have jumped in 5 waves, and in each wave your farthest jump has been between 10′ and 14’11. This will earn you a junior title). You can earn a regional title by completing 5 legs within a division at a club event, and a national title by earning 5 legs within a division at a national event. Once you earn a title, you are not able to earn a title in a lower division (i.e Bob and Sparky have their Junior regional title, they are not able to earn a novice regional title but can work towards earning their senior regional title).
For Speed Retrieve™, Extreme Vertical™ and Iron Dog a title is earned after 3 scores within the same division. Regional and National titles are also able to be earned for these disciplines.
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How do I receive my title?
If you are a worldwide member of DockDogs® (our sanctioning body) you will be able to print your title certificate(s) as you achieve them from your DockDogs® account. There is an additional fee for being a DockDogs® Worldwide member but membership also has it’s benefits including being ranked nationally and being eligible to be invited to the DockDogs® World Championships just to name a few. For more information please visit www.dockdogs.com
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What’s the difference between a regional and national title?
National titles are earned at national events (5 legs for BA, 3 legs for SR and ID) whereas club titles are earned at club events  (5 legs for BA, 3 legs for SR and ID). EV titles are earned after 5 legs and this can be thru a combination of club and national events. If you are a member of DockDogs® Worldwide you will receive certificates for your titles as you achieve them.
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