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Learning To Swim
When Lucas was around one year old, I took him to play a few times a week in an open field that had a lake. I started throwing his favorite toy in the water near the edge to encourage Lucas to go in the water. After four months of this process, Lucas cautiously walked into the water to retrieve the toy. Continuing to play this game for a few days, it wasn't too long until he started swimming. Lucas excelled at swimming and it filled me with joy to watch his confidence grow.

How Lucas Got Started In Dock Diving
Involved in dog agility by the age of four, I still wanted another outlet for his high drive, endless amounts of energy, and desire to work. Dock diving seemed like a great addition to his training program.

The dock diving class we signed up for consisted of four Labrador Retrievers and us, THE DOBERMAN. We were ready and eager to learn. The other student teams in our class seemed intrigued and interested in a Doberman taking the class. The instructor was less than happy when he discovered he had an "off breed" in his class and tried to convince me that Dock Diving is not a sport for a Doberman.

During class, the four labs took their turn to jump off the dock and then it was our turn. With only the experience of swimming in lakes, Lucas would not jump off the dock when it was his turn. The instructor proceeded to verbally humiliate and shame us in front of the class. I was certain that Lucas could learn to jump, but after two weeks of the instructor's treatment, we did not go back, and I thought Lucas' Dock Diving career was over before it started.

A few years later we found The Canine Ranch in Canton, Georgia, where they believe all dogs can dock dive. With the support, training and encouragement from The Canine Ranch's owner, Chris McLeod, Lucas learned how to dock dive and has even placed second in a dock diving competition in the Speed Doggie event.

There are many types of events in Dock Diving and they vary from competition to competition. A few popular events are: distance jumping, height jumping, and speed (how fast your dog can run down the dock). There are many divisions depending on the sanctioning organization. All teams are ranked according to how far they jump and are rated against teams within their own divisions for placements. Overall, the competion atmosphere is relaxed, and the camaraderie among fellow competitors is refreshing.

Advice For Fellow Doberman Owners
I often hear other Doberman owners say that their dog does not like the water because they won't go out in the rain. Even though Lucas loves to swim and dock dive, he won't go out in the rain either. You may have a Dock Diving Doberman and not even know it. Give it a try.

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Lucas Haynes-Clark 

Much About The Mutt provides designs and apparel for the dog sport enthusiast and FREE dog agility e-cards. Offering designs for: Dog Agility, Flyball, Dock Diving, Herding, Frisbee, Earth Dog, Lure Coursing, and Schutzhund.

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