Remington, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, shakes off water after jumping into the pool Saturday at Westwind Kennels in Jackson Township. All breeds of dogs
Remington, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, shakes off water after jumping into the pool Saturday at Westwind Kennels in Jackson Township. All breeds of dogs are able to compete in the sport, said kennel owner Chuck Diehl. Remington is owned by Pat Krout of Windsor Township. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Eileen Joyce)
When Westwind Kennels decided to install a pool to allow their furry boarders to take a swim, owner Chuck Diehl wasn't intending to bring the world of dock diving to the business.

"The pool I selected just happened to be the type of pool they used in these competitions," he said.

But after watching a local dock-diving competition, Diehl decided to run with the idea and build a competition-ready dock.

"I said, 'While we're putting in the pool, we might as well put in the dock,'" he said.

"Dock diving" refers to several activities: competitions involve jumping for distance, height and speed in contests with names such as Big Air, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve. The competitions involve dogs jumping off a dock into a swimming pool.

The pool is now operational at the Jackson Township kennel and is 21 feet wide, 41 feet long and 54 inches deep, Diehl said. The pool features two docks: the official diving dock is 10 feet wide and 46 feet long, and a second deck at the other end of the pool covers the full width of the pool and is 10 feet long .

The pool is also open to the public. Sessions are by appointment and can be made by contacting the kennel, Diehl said. Cost is $15 per visit and lessons will be offered for an additional cost.

"People can bring their dogs out and swim them and do water therapy if they're trying to recover form surgery," Diehl said. "Or they can come out if they have an interest seeing if their dog would be a candidate for the dock dog sport."

Though Labradors are most well-known for their dock-diving abilities, any dog can enjoy the sport, Diehl said.

"Almost any dog can do this," he said. "You can jump anything from a Chihuahua up to the Labs," he said.

Diehl said the kennel is planning to partner with the York County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other local rescue groups to foster dogs and train them in dock diving.

Westwind, at 66 Big Mount Road, is on the former site of the SPCA and offers boarding for cats and dogs. The property took about a year to renovate, Diehl said.

About Westwind Kennels

Pets can be picked up and dropped off at Westwind Kennels, 66 Big Mount Road in Jackson Township, 9 a.m. to noon and 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays; and 5 to 7 p.m. Sundays.

Dog boarding prices are $25 per day for the first dog, $22 for the second and $20 for the third. For cats, rates are $12 per day for the first cat and $10 for each additional cat.

Westwind has a groomer on staff, and obedience training session available, both by appointment.

Angie Jones of Hanover throws a toy into the pool as her dog Kit jumps after it Saturday at Westwind Kennels in Jackson Township. The kennel recently
Angie Jones of Hanover throws a toy into the pool as her dog Kit jumps after it Saturday at Westwind Kennels in Jackson Township. The kennel recently installed the dock and pool, which is open to the public to practice dock diving or to take their dogs for a swim. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Eileen Joyce)

For more information, call Valerie or Chuck Diehl at 717-225-1246 or email chuckandval@westwindkennels.net.

Types of dock dog events

Big Air: This event is similar to the "long jump" event in track and field. Jump distance is measured from the end of the dock to where the base of the dog's tail breaks the water.

Extreme Vertical: This event is a high jump contest. Rather than clearing a crossbar (like in track and field) the dogs knock down a bumper, which is suspended over the water, 8 feet from the end of the dock.

Speed Retrieve: In this event, dogs are lined up at the 20-foot mark on the dock. Handlers release their dogs on the start command. Dogs then run, jump and swim to the end of the pool to retrieve a buoy, with the quickest time winning the event.

Source: hudsonvalleydockdogs.com