Doggy dock diving – a sport pups dig

By Conrad Boyce
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Uxbridge Cosmos

Does your Fido like to swim? Chase stuff? Play with other pups? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those, then you might want to consider heading to Northquest Canine Sport and Training Facility in Uxbridge.

Northquest is a canine dock diving training centre that opened in Uxbridge three years ago after owner Laura Jackman moved from her Goodwood equine farm and traded one four-legged friend for another. 

Associated with North American Diving Dogs (NADD) and affiliated with the American Kennel Club, dogs who train and compete at Northquest can get recognized and awarded as real athletes.

  “Dock diving has a lot of similarities to show jumping,” says Jackman. “For jumping purposes you measure stride, and train a bunch of things that make you better at your sport. The same things apply in show jumping and dock diving, we make sure the dogs are fit, confident and then we can start to play around with their strides from the dock.”

  While it can be very competitive, Jackman says most of all it’s just “super fun” for the whole family.

  Northquest runs training classes in a variety of different experience levels. They also have a junior handler category, which Jackman says has been very popular since the pandemic, as many children have grown up close to their dogs and are now looking for fun activities to do together.

  So what do you have to do to get your pooch to become an athlete? Jackman says it’s relatively simple. “All you have to do is be able to throw the toy in the general direction of the dock, and your dog needs to be able to jump off the top platform to be competitive. If you can’t jump off the top there is a floaty ramp off to the side which is perfect for newbies.”

  Jackman recommends the whole family tag along, as “it’s a great environment to get your dog used to being around others while on leash and to hang out.” 

  While certain types of dogs are more keen on  water than others, Jackman says that most dogs can take to the sport. “If they have a good toy drive we’re generally good, though we can train a stronger toy drive on the dock and that will then translate to playing in the pool and eventually jumping off the dock.”

  While they welcome all to come, learn and play, entrance to Northquest is by appointment only, as they have their own dogs on the property and hold dog safety as a top priority. “We’re very mindful that dogs can get very excited with toy throwing and swimming and we don’t want anyone to get hurt,” says Jackman. 

  In conjunction with the Jack Russel Terrier Club of Canada, Northquest will be holding their next Fun Day on June 15, to raise money for the JRTCC.    

  “We invite all manners of dogs and people and they’ll get to try a bunch of sports, including dock diving. There’ll be agility and lure courses, so if you have a dog that likes to chase the squirrels in the backyard, this might be perfect for them,” says Jackman. 

  For dogs who aren’t totally comfortable in the water, lifejackets are recommended. Guests can bring their own or Northquest has a variety of sizes available for rent. 

  For more information and to book a training session or pool play time, find Northquest Canine Sport and Training Facility on Facebook.