The Farm Pet Retreat in St. Claude is offering a new way to get your dog active, trained and involved in a little competitive sport with their new dog dock, which is regulation size for competitive canine watersports like big air, speed retrieve and extreme verticle.
“Dock dogs was just started,” said owner, Rachelle Dion. “We watched some competitions in the states because it really interested us and it’s very popular there, and it’s starting to catch on here in Canada. Alberta has a sanctioned facility, Ontario has one, and we would like to be the first sanctioned place in Manitoba. That means we can hold events here for national competitions.”
The boarding and training facility has been in operation for two years four-miles north of St. Claude on highway 240, and just recently finished installing the dog dock. The dock is equipped with a ramp and lower dock on either side of the larger dock. The jumping dock sits 2-feet above the water with a 40’ run-up.
The Farm Pet Retreat held a grand opening for the dog dock over the weekend and even had the Pembina Valley Humane Society in attendance with some dogs ready to show off.
“We got some dogs trained in time for the grand opening that could jump right off the dock,” said Dion. “It does take some time to train, though. It is a big drop from the deck to the pool and that is competition level, so that’s why we start there. The ramps are there on the side so we can start the dogs there and get them comfortable with the water.”
There are 3 different disciplines in Dock Dogs competitions. The big air event can be summed up as a distance competition like long jump where dogs compete for the longest jump off the dock. The second is speed retrieve, where a dog is timed at how long it takes it to reach the end of the pool after jumping off the dock. The third is extreme vertical which is similar to the high jump where dogs jump for a toy and the height is continuously raised each round.
Those who took in the grand opening event had a chance to get in the pool if their animal was feeling up to it.
“We had the Pembina Valley Humane Society out and for 5$ we would allow people a jump with their dog and the money went to the humane society. They also brought some dogs out to try and jump for us as well and one really did a great job.”
The business will be offering first-ever jump classes this September.
“Right now, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and we have a bunch of classes available for beginner dock dogs,” said Dion. “Once a week every Wednesday night for September people can come out and we’ll train them about what the events are and how to get your dog started.”
Dion adds next year they’ll be having a club with an annual fee.
“We’re pressing for time with this year, but next year we’re hoping to have a club with training nights,” she said. “For this year we’re kind of just having fun with it, getting people to come and check it out, and have some fun.”
The animal boarding facility started out of Dion’s garage until the new facility was up and running where it now holds 20 animals in a stunning facility with separate facilities for large and small dogs.
“We decided to build something more upscale and smaller, and more family-owned, so I only hold about 20 dogs for boarding but everything is state of the art,” she explained. “The rooms have tempered glass, separate outdoor runs, a big play area outside. They have tv’s air conditioning and floor heaters for all the seasons.”
As for the training, the facility has Natasha Corgin, a certified trainer and owner of Pet Value in Portage la Prairie come out and teach all the obedience training courses.
There is also an agility park where fitness classes and other things are offered.
“We’re excited about this,” said Dion. “It will bring contests to the area and, hopefully, some of the community will get involved.”