Dock Diving with Retrievers

Last Updated: August 6, 2014 | Posted In: General, Training

If there was ever a sport that was designed for your retriever, dock diving is it. Dock diving is one of the fastest growing canine sports in the world. According to USA Today, televised competitions often outdraw Sunday afternoon football games. Today, dock diving competitions are frequently televised on networks like ESPN, ABC, and the Outdoor Channel.

It began at Lake Placid in 2001 when someone came up with the idea of pairing a cottage routine with a sporting event. The first event, and only one at the time, was Big Air. It is a bit like the long jump done over water. Dog and handler stand on the dock. The dog has up to 40 feet of dock space to get a running start to his leap. He leaps into a pool that is forty feet in length. The handler cannot leave the dock unless his dog is in trouble or needs to be retrieved. The distance jumped is measured from the edge of the dock to the point where the dog’s tail set hits the water. Although other events have been added since then, Big Air remains the most popular event at Dock Diving competitions.

Extreme Vertical began in 2005. It is the high jump version of dock diving. A toy is hung 8 feet out from the dock’s edge. It starts at 4’6” above the water. The dog has 20 feet of dock space to pick up speed. He needs to leap into the air and grab the toy. All of the successful dogs move on to the next level. At each level the toy is raised an additional two inches.

The last two additions were Speed Retrieve and Iron Dog and they came about in 2008. Speed Retrieve has a dock space of 20 feet. A toy is suspended a few inches above the water at the far end of the pool, which is 40 feet in length. The dog is timed from the moment he leaves the dock to when he reaches the toy. The Iron Dog winner is the dog with the highest combined score over the three types of events.

Dogs can compete in one or more events and as often as they wish over the course of a weekend. It is open to all dogs, purebred and mixed breed. Retrievers excel at this sport with the combination of their love of retrieving and their skill as swimmers. There are special classes for youth handlers (age 7 – 15), veteran dogs (8 – 10 years of age), and lap dogs (dogs under 17” in height at the withers).

Females cannot be on the premises if they are in season. All dogs must be on leash or in a kennel when not competing and you have to clean up after your retriever. There is a participant meeting to review the rules before each wave of competition and attendance is mandatory if you wish to compete. The main rule is that the dog must enter the water voluntarily and handlers cannot enter the water unless their dog needs help getting out of the water.

Clubs have sprung up all over North America and the sport is rapidly gaining ground in Australia and Europe as well. Thousands of dogs and their owners have found out how much fun it is to be a competitive dock diver. For those who compete regularly there are titles to be won and you can compete in different divisions.

Think about how much time your retriever spends jumping off your cottage dock to retrieve dummies you throw for hours on end. If he loves swimming and retrieving, he’d probably be a great candidate for competitive dock diving. Give it a try.

Photo credit: LouisvilleUSACE/Wikimedia

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Best Retriever Breed for Your Hunting Needs

Last Updated: July 4, 2014 | Posted In: General, Training

When you are looking to purchase a dog to hunt with, you want to make sure that you find the right dog for your needs. Although different breeds can be taught to do things that don’t necessarily come naturally, they will never be as good at it as the breed that lives to do it. For example, you can teach any breed to point game. However, a pointing Lab will never show the same intensity or skill that a well-trained Pointer will. You’ll also need to take into account other features that don’t relate to hunting such as your lifestyle, how much grooming you are willing to do, your family’s needs, etc.

Retrievers are bred to retrieve game and no other breeds will do it with quite the same flair and love for it that a retriever will. Which retriever breed is right for you depends on factors like what type of birds you will hunt, climate conditions where you hunt, etc.

What You Hunt

Sticking with birds, what type of birds do you generally intend to hunt? If you never hunt pheasant, then your dog’s ability’s on land aren’t as big a deal. If you intend to hunt only upland game birds, those same characteristics become all important.

Upland Birds like pheasants, quail, chukar, and pigeon require a dog that is comfortable retrieving in tall grasses, field, and brush. Most retrievers will do it, but some breeds like the Golden Retriever and Flatcoated Retriever were bred specifically for land work. Because of the popularity of Goldens as pets, some have lost their hunting instincts. If you are serious about hunting with your Golden, consider looking for a breeder that actively works their dogs in the field. Flatcoats tend to be more dual purpose and there is less difference between field and show lines.

Ducks and waterfowl require a dog that likes to swim and excels at water retrieves. Again, most will do it but some simply love the water and are hard to get out of it. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and Curly-Coated Retriever were all bred specifically to work in the water. They thrive in wet situations and are less likely to turn their nose up at harsh conditions.

What if you hunt both waterfowl and upland game birds? Then you may wish to consider a Labrador Retriever. Although originally designed for water work, Labradors have been bred to work both on land and in the water for centuries. They are equally happy at both ends although their love of water is certainly famous. Look for lines that produce hunters.

Where You Hunt

In great weather, most dogs will retrieve for hours on end. But, when the weather is rough or the water especially cold such as the conditions under which sea ducks are often hunted, many will quietly refuse to retrieve more than once or twice or be shivering so badly that you need to stop anyway.

This is when you want a dog bred for icy conditions. Both the Chesapeake Bay and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers were bred to work under the harshest conditions. The Chesapeake Bay is icy and the water is very rough, it takes a strong swimmer and determined retriever to keep going out to fetch up the ducks. The north Atlantic region of Canada, where the Nova Scotia Duck Toller was created sees many fierce and nasty storms. The water can extremely cold and rough. Like the Chessie, Tollers need to be serious retrievers to do their work under those conditions.

In both breeds, there is no split between show and field lines. This makes it easier to find a breeder that is producing dogs capable of excelling in the field. While not as common as Goldens and Labradors, they can be a treasure to someone who values their retrieving skills. Happy Hunting!

Photo credit: uhercikova/Shuterstock

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Adopting a Rescued Retriever

Last Updated: March 5, 2014 | Posted In: General

The decision to get a new dog is an exciting one. While there are lots of options to choose from, adopting a rescued retriever is an excellent choice and can save a life. Some people shy away from adopting a rescued dog, worrying that the only dogs that will be available are older, untrained, damaged from abuse, and will not bond with their new families. These are myths. There are many well-adjusted purebred retrievers and retriever mixes available through shelters, humane societies, and rescue organizations.

Age of Dog

Although fewer puppies end up in need of a new home, it does happen on occasion. However, you shouldn’t ignore the option of choosing an adult dog. Adults may already be housebroken which can be helpful if you work during the day and are unable to take time off to train your new retriever. They have passed teething and other puppy stages that take more patience and time than you may have. Adults are more likely to have at least some training already rather than a puppy and can wait longer between potty breaks. Puppies need to get out very regularly and, if you can’t be there to let them out, then you will need to hire someone to come in and let the puppy out.

Seniors are the most often overlooked. Ironically, they can be the best choices. They’ve finished with the years of teenage rebellion and puppy stages. They are looking for a good home for their final years and are often fully trained. They do not need as much exercise as a younger dog making them a good candidate for families that are busy with work and other commitments and may not be able to get a dog out for long runs on a daily basis. Some worry that they risk losing their new pet too soon. That is always a possibility but death can happen at any age and many young animals are struck down by disease, accidents and injuries and pass far too soon. Some seniors live many years beyond what might be expected. It is a risk worth taking that can pay off in many years of loving companionship.


Yes, some dogs end up in need of a new home because their previous home couldn’t be bothered to train them. However, many end up there for entirely different reasons. Divorce, newborns, moves, and changes in work schedule are among the most common reasons dogs need a new home. These dogs may be fully trained and many are at least housebroken and know some basic commands. The reason they are being turned in is not their fault.

Most have not been abused or mistreated. They are often eager to work their way into your heart and show you how much they can love you and make you happy. Even those who have been treated harshly will bond with a new family. It may take them a bit longer and require a bit more patience on your part. However, most abused dogs come around and appreciate your kindness more than a dog that has never known a bad day in his life can.


All retrievers have the potential to bond with their new families. The ability to bond with people is not limited by age. Retrievers are naturally people oriented and enjoy interacting with their families. Your new dog will be a loved and loving member of your family within no time.

Adopting a dog can be a wonderful experience for you and the dog. You give a home to a dog in need of one that might otherwise be euthanized or languish in a shelter for an extended period of time. It’s a good turn that pays for itself in love and companionship for years to come. Adopt today!

Photo credit: Black Labrador Lotte/Flickr

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Best Dog Breeds For People With Allergies

Last Updated: December 10, 2013 | Posted In: General
Low Allergen Dogs

Low Allergen Dogs

Dog lovers come in almost as many shapes and sizes as there are dogs. Even people who are allergic to dogs may love them. Those who suffer from mild pet allergies, but still love owning dogs, used to be somewhat limited in the breeds they could choose from. Recent developments of several cross breeds have meant that people who suffer from pet allergies can now choose from several different breeds that are designed to minimize the impact on the allergy sufferer. One of the best dogs for people with allergies is the Labradoodle. Understanding what causes pet allergies and why the Labradoodle is different will tell you why.

Anyone who is allergic to dogs can tell you that not only are allergic reactions not fun, they can be dangerous as well. Pet allergies, and dog allergies in particular, are caused by allergens located in the saliva or dried skin of the dog. When people susceptible to these allergens come into contact with pet dander or saliva, an allergic reaction is likely. It just makes sense that breeds with less allergens or with less pet dander are less likely to cause allergic reactions in the people they come into contact with.

. This is exactly why the Labradoodle was created.

It has long been known that poodles are less likely to cause allergy problems than many other dog breeds. Poodles tend to have shorter hair that does not shed as readily as other breeds. also, they are less likely to shed pet dander. The only problem was, some people didn't like poodles. The solution? A cross between one of America's favorite breeds, the Labrador and the nearly allergen free Poodle. The resulting Labradoodle seemed to have the best traits from both breeds. Known for their intelligence and ability to learn, Labradoodles have an even temperament that makes them ideal as guide dogs or for owners with small children. Labradoodles don't shed nearly as much as other dog breeds, meaning their is less of the allergen laden pet dander to deal with.

Allergy Free dogs

Allergy Free dogs

For many dog lovers, what it really comes down to when selecting a breed is size and temperament. The Labradoodle has quickly become a favorite allergen free breed for several reasons. First. Labradoodles come in three different sizes, miniature, medium and standard, meaning that no matter what size dog you are looking for, it is possible to find a low-allergen Labradoodle! Like poodles, Labradoodles come in a variety of colors as well. Their short and somewhat curly coats make grooming easy, and are an additional reason they are great for dog lovers who suffer from allergies. Their even temperament and kind nature make them a favorite as well.

Just because you suffer from dog allergies doesn't mean you cannot have a dog to call you own. contact a local Labradoodle breeder today to discuss the perfect allergen free Labradoodle for your home. Labradoodles are fun, beautiful, smart and won't irritate your allergies – what more could you ask for!

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Giving A Labradoodle As A Gift

Last Updated: March 7, 2016 | Posted In: Doodles, General
Many varieties of Labradoodle

Many varieties of Labradoodle

Have you ever thought about giving someone a dog as a gift? It can be a risky proposition. Deciding what size dog, what breed and even what sex can be difficult when you are trying to choose a pet for a loved one. When you are trying to select a dog, it is often difficult to know just what breed is right. Finding the perfect breed depends on many factors, but the most important maybe temperament. how to find the owner of a domain name Speaking with breeders may very well lead you to a relatively new breed – the Labradoodle.

Breeders will tell you that Labradoodles have been bred specifically for several impressive traits The dogs are known as ‘smart’ dogs and have quickly become a favorite breed for guide or ‘help’ dogs. A breeder will further explain that Labradoodle dogs are exceptionally easy to train. Not only are they smart, they are intuitive, making them ideal for families with small children. Because they come in three different sizes, it is possible to find a Labradoodle for any size home. The miniature works well for apartment dwellers while the standard is perfect for people with yards.

Labradoodle Puppies

Labradoodle Puppies

Labradoodle Assistance Dogs

Anybody who is need of a guide or assistance dog would certainly appreciate the Labradoodle. Because of their intelligence and intuition, they are often the perfect breed to be trained as either a guide or an assistance dog. A Labradoodle can easily be trained as a ‘hearing’ dog to assist the deaf with hearing sounds such as doorbells or tea-kettles. They also work well as service dogs where they become the arms and legs of the disabled person. Many people find the Labradoodle a great gift for the elderly who can be trained according to the particular needs of each owner by working with a trainer.

Finally, Labradoodles, originally bred as a low-allergen guide dog, are perfect for anyone who suffers from mild allergies. Pet allergies can be downright dangerous if they are severe enough. If you are considering gifting a dog, this is something you must take into consideration. By selecting a Labradoodle, a breed which does not shed a lot of animal dander, the likelihood of an allergic reaction is much less.

Labradoodle Breeders

If you are considering gifting a dog, it is an excellent idea to speak with a local Labradoodle breeder about Labradoodles. They will be able to assist you with this difficult decision and help you to understand the benefits of the Labradoodle breed. Gifting a dog is about much more than a cute puppy with a bright red bow, it is about finding the ideal breed and the one best suited for its new owners needs. You must carefully consider all aspect, from color to size and from temperament and intelligence. While all dogs are different, as a breed, Labradoodles are known for their even temperament and the various sizes and colors available makes picking one easy. Labradoodles may simply be the best breed to gift.

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The Labradoodle Is The Perfect Dog For Non-Dog People

Last Updated: March 7, 2016 | Posted In: Doodles, General
golden labradoodle

golden labradoodle

Not too long after I married my husband, a bonafide dog lover, his dog, whom he often referred to as his ‘other woman’ passed away. He was simply heartbroken. I, however, didn’t really consider myself a dog person. They seemed to shed all the time, barked, yapped and generally made more work for me than I was really prepared for. Still, he seemed so sad so I relented.

I started looking around for a breed of dog that would meet our needs. I wanted a friendly, larger dog that was known as a ‘low-shedder’ and I found the perfect solution in the Labradoodle.

My hubby was, at first, skeptical. He couldn’t imagine that a dog with a name like Labradoodle was anything other than a ‘girly’ dog. I convinced him to visit a local breeder and he changed his mind. We settle on a ‘standard’ male labradoodle whom we named Caliber. He fit the bill perfectly. Because my husband insisted on a larger dog, the male labradoodle was perfect. As full-grown adults, standard labradoodles average between 55 and 75 pounds and can reach heights of 26 inches. Caliber’s size was just right.



Labradoodle Temperament

We soon learned his temperament was perfect as well. Labradoodles are known for their innate intelligence and my husband found that Caliber was easily trained. In no time at all they had a large repertoire of ‘tricks’ – Caliber even ‘dances’ with him. Our Labradoodle is by far the most even-tempered dog I have ever come across.

Labradoodle Grooming

Even better, Labradoodles are known to have little grand online casino to no shedding throughout the course of the year. No ‘dog bunnies’ for me to clean up! Caliber’s coat has been easy to groom. The somewhat curly nature of his fur is attractive and we have managed to get by with only two trips to the groomers each year. Our breeder also explained that the Labradoodle is one of the best breeds for anyone concerned about mild allergies. This may be due to their lack of shedding. My mother-in-law is mildly allergic to pet dander and hasn’t had any trouble with Caliber.

Dark Labradoodle

Dark Labradoodle

My husband and I have both been ‘sold’ on the Labradoodle. Our local breeder has told us that many dogs of this breed are used as guide or therapy dogs because of their even temperament. We specifically asked about Labradoodles and children, as we are hoping to start a family soon. Our breeder explained that while each dog is different, the Labradoodle breed is one of the best breeds for families with children because of their temperament.

While no dog could ever replace the one my husband lost, our Labradoodle Caliber has come close. He and my husband are now good companions. Instead of having ‘another woman’ to hang out with, my husband now jokes that he and Caliber need ‘guy time.’ I would suggest this breed to anyone looking for a larger dog with an even temperament or to someone suffering from mild dog allergies that still wants to enjoy a dog. As for me, I think I have finally become a dog lover and am considering getting a miniature labradoodle for my own.

Read more: The Labradoodle Is The Perfect Dog For Non-Dog People