Kathryn R. Gubista
Dogs of all shapes and sizes will be making a spectacular splash in downtown Asheville as part of Ingles Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, July 4th. Ultimate Air Dogs, the premier dock jumping organization in the United States, will host the events as dogs from all over the country practice, perform and compete in dock diving activities throughout the day.
The dock diving will be held in the center of downtown in Pack Square, next to the Vance Memorial.
The 17’ x 45’ giant pool, with distance calibrations on the sides, will be set up and filled with 20,000 gallons of water. Dogs run down a dock and fly through the air to capture a thrown article like a toy, tennis ball or training bumper. Ultimate Air Dogs owner, Milt Wilcox, said the only items banned from the dock are other organisms or their previous parts. For example, “You can’t throw a steak,” he said.
For the distance competitions, dogs are assigned into classes based on their jumping ability, not their size, breed or age. Both mixed-breed and pure bred dogs are welcome to join in any or all of the competitions, including the non-distance competitions “Catch It,” “Fetch It” and “Chase It.” Wilcox said previous events in Asheville have attracted competitors from as far away as Michigan and Texas.
The Asheville July 4th schedule will include several qualifying rounds starting at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm, leading to the evening’s finals competition at 7:30pm. So individuals and families will have plenty of opportunities to watch amazing diving dogs and their human companions work, play and have a rollicking good time. As you imagine dogs flying through the air with huge smiles on their faces and tails wagging in the breeze, you may ask yourself, “What about my dog? Would my dog jump off the dock? Can we try?”
The answer is YES! Do you think your dog would like to jump off a dock for a toy, stick or lure? Are you willing to get up on the dock with your dog? Any dog bringing an adult human is welcome to register for the dock diving event. What’s more, Ultimate Air Dogs encourages newcomers. For this reason, they offer ample open dock time between competitions for practice runs. The organizers are always on hand to provide helpful instruction and training.
The champion distance jump in 2014 was 23 feet, accomplished by a Chesapeake Bay retriever from neighboring Brevard, NC. Whether you think your faithful companion can better that mark or not, you can have a great July 4th by experiencing Ultimate Air Dog at the Ingles Independence Day Celebration.
More information about Ultimate Air Dog events and about registering your dog to participate can be found at www.ultimateairdogs.com.
Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD offers concierge dog training through Lucky Dog Training and has over 30 years of dog training experience in disciplines including obedience, tracking, agility, sheepherding, dock diving and fieldwork. Kathryn is an evolutionary biologist and teaches a diversity of biology courses in higher education settings.
Photo Caption: Asheville Golden Retriever Calypso airs it out at 2014 event.