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Canine competition returns this weekend
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Forsyth County News

If you go

• What: Rucker Jump Into Summer

• When: Friday through Sunday

• Where: 5456 Bethelview  Road

• Online: www.dixiedockdogs.com

Dogs will be making a splash this weekend at the Rucker Jump Into Summer.

Dixie Dock Dogs will hold its second event in Forsyth County on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, once again setting up the large pool in the parking lot of Rucker Pet and Wild Bird.

Canines can compete in big air, speed retrieve and extreme vertical categories during the three-day event, which will conclude with finals Sunday.

The three categories test a dog’s ability to jump the farthest into the pool, swim the fastest across a pool to retrieve a toy and jump the highest, said Bill Akin, president of the Georgia-based DockDogs USA chapter.

The big air competition is the most popular at the event, with eight chances for dogs to show off their leap.

Any toy a dog likes could go flying off the end of the dock and into the pool — as long as it’s not edible and was never alive.

The toy is required and a key component to competing in a dock diving event, Akin said.

“To get a dog to jump off the dog, you need to throw something for them to retrieve,” he said. “That’s going to help them jump off the dock into the water the furthest.”

Any dog can compete, as long as he or she is at least 6 months old, Akin said. The dog’s handler must be at least 7.

The size of the dog also doesn’t matter, he said, since a dog will be placed into a classification based on its ability to jump.

“A little dog is not jumping and trying to compete against a greyhound,” he said.

Even first-timers can win the novice division by jumping just a few feet, Akin said.

From those who’ve never competed to those looking to warm up, he said, practice rounds will be available for teams each morning, with coaches on site to help.

“The key to success of all of it is having fun with your dog,” Akin said. “That’s why we do it.”

Akin said the club, which he and his wife founded in 2008, enjoys the competition in Cumming because of the families who get an introduction to the sport.

“It’s in a good area as far as people and kids,” he said. “And we’re a family-oriented event.”

Based on the popularity of last year’s event, the Dixie Dock Dogs will return to the area for a Labor Day competition.

Pre-registration for this weekend’s event is nearing capacity, Akin said, but on-site registration will be available.