Published: Oct 23, 2011 6:29 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 25, 2011 3:55 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Dogs big and small dove head first into competition Sunday morning.. hoping for their shot at winning the dock jump or speed retrieve contests.
"Any breed can do it. Any mixed breed can do it. If you've got a dog that is just a firecracker little retriever and just loves to swim this might be something for them to do," said Southwest Florida Dog Diving Club President Terri Alexander.
Owners say their dogs practice their best belly flop weekly to get ready for the competition.
After running down the 40 foot dock, the jump distance is measured by a computer system.
Owners say the hardest part about prepping a dog for a competition like this is getting them to wait for their command.
"There are a lot of people who do this across the nation and across the world actually. We are one of the only clubs in the area," said organizer Jen Gaytan.
Some handlers travel to competitions around the country. Tony Reed will bring his dog Sierra to the over 60 competitions he'll help organize just this year.
"We just came from Louisville, Kentucky, and flew down here and had a couple days rest and then came out here," Reed said.
Despite a pretty hefty pool of prize money, most owners say competing is mostly about having fun..
"The fact that my dogs are just having a blast. It doesn't matter if they're jumping 10 feet or 35 feet. They think they're jumping 35 feet every time and they love every ounce of it," Gaytan continued.
"It is about the dogs to have fun and we're having fun with them. We can have our competitive side and have bragging rights," Alexander said.
If you'd like to get involved in dog diving, you can go to www.SWFLDogDiving.com or email Info@SWFLDogDiving.com.