Dogs jump for joyand prizes into the water


 Maybe humans can’t read a dog’s mind, but they can certainly tell when their canine friend is having fun.  And dock dog jumping — a relatively new animal water sport -- has become  the cat’s meow for both canines and humans.

 Nina Allen  of Libertyville spent 10 hours July 10 and another four hours July 11 watching dog after dog be coaxed with a Water Wubbba  to run down a dock and jump in the air before landing into a 27,000-gallon pool of water and retrieving a prize to bring back to the owner.  A Water Wubba looks like a stuffed sock tied at both ends.

“I’ve been wating for this for months,” said Allen, sitting on the sidelines in downtown Libertyville during the  DockDogs Big Air Dog jumping competition held July 9-11 as part of  Libertyville’s Dog Days of Summer.  The event was produced by Pampered Pup’z of Libertyville.

 “You can see the dogs love this. It’s so exciting,” said Allen who has had dogs for many years until she moved to an apartment where she couldn’t have a pet.

At the event, leashed professional and amateur  dock dog  jumpers  followed their owners, getting sprayed down to keep cool on the blacktop while waiting for their  turns to sprint into the air.

An announcer introduced each dog, its owner and breed while officials documented the jump length, from the end of the dog’s tail to where it landed in the water.

“It’s all over the nation,” Beth Wiltshire, president of Chicagoland Dock Dogs Club said. “ It’s fun for all ages to watch, and the  dog is just totally happy. They get to run and jump and splash.”

Dock dog jumping began rising in popularity during the late 1990s when it was featured at the former Great Outdoors Games, Wiltshire said.  

Any old dog—big, small, trained or not—can learn to jump from a dock, she said.  Putt together a dog’s love of water and its love to go fetch and it will likely love dock jumping, she said.

It’s not only the dogs that are addicted to the sport, but it’s also the humans.  “Everybody cheers for each other and there’s no nasty back-biting competition,” Wiltshire said.

That was Jerry Sentowski ‘s sentiment.  "We’re just going to have fun,” Sentowski said, with dog Bobber at his side.

Bobber leaped into the air over the water when it was his turn, but didn’t get anywhere near the 21- foot benchmark the top dogs had established.  Considering  Bobber wouldn’t even go into the water Friday, his Sunday jaunt was a great achievement.

Nina Allen said she's become a dog jumping groupie and is especially proud of Chase, who won the  July 10 extreme vertical jump competition with a score of 7-feet-2-inches high.

“Everybody loves my dog,” said Case’s owner Scott Novak of Romeoville.  “He’s a German shorthair pointer. He likes this more than hunting.” story and photos by Sheryl De??V?ore??????????????????????????

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  1. You can find the Big Air event winners at

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  2. The winner for one of the events is listed int he story, and I need to get the list from the folks who put on the event. Still waiting… will post as soon as possible.
    Best wishes

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  3. I have been looking all over for a mention of the Big Air event winners and you don’t mention them…..

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