A regulation dog-jumping pond — what even is that? I certainly knew nothing about until I happened upon this opportunity by chance. My neighbor who sold us our German Shepherd posted on social media that she had ordered an above-ground pool so that she could offer dog jumping to her boarding clients and possibly host dog-jumping competitions.
When I saw the post, my mind immediately wandered back to my childhood and growing up with an above-ground pool, which taught me a couple things. First of all, the first time the dog touches that liner, it’s all going to be over. (I learned the hard way.) Secondly, the client likely was going to have to replace the liner every couple of years for one reason or another. So, I sent her a message to paint a picture of how I might go about making something work best for her.
After going over my concerns, we started to talk about building a pond instead of a pool. She wanted to make sure that it would be regulation so that she could hold events, which meant the overall dimensions of the pond needed to be 21 by 45 by 4 feet deep. This was going to be a large pond!
She could avoid having to build a large dock above ground as well, since we could lower the pond. I told her that normally when we build a pond, we put concrete over all the liners. This would be ideal for this application, since it would eliminate any concern of dogs puncturing the liner.
She started asking me about costs, so we dug into that side of it. There was a lot to consider; it would need to keep very well circulated, clean and algae-free, because if she were going to utilize this for her boarding customers or dog competitions, it would need to be in pristine shape. I knew this would be a big challenge, knowing that these dogs constantly would be bringing tons of debris and hair into the pond. I started relaying these issues to her and came up with a rather good game plan.
Construction & Filtration
Since she was my neighbor and I wanted to help her out, I told her I would use existing materials that I had recycled from other jobs. I would concrete everything in so that there was no way to puncture the liner. The idea was that we could use a patchwork of boulders large and small with flagstone to cover the pond area. We had to make sure we made a ramp along the dock so that the dogs could walk back out of the pond once they had taken the plunge. We then agreed that we needed to put artificial turf around the outside of the pond to try and keep as much debris out as possible.
We would need enough filtration and water movement to make this all work properly. I decided that I would make a small waterfall in the corner to add to the aesthetics of the pond. I realized that as we pumped the water out, it needed to go back in — and might as well look nice doing so. We had to go through a few trials to see what would work best for the filtration and flow.
Because there would be animals and possibly humans swimming in the pond, I started with two Pentair external pumps and OASE filtration to filter enough water to make this a success. We had to make a few tweaks along the way, but eventually we were able to get good flow and water movement.
It has not yet been used for competition, but we are hopeful to see events happening here in the future. This was a first for us, and we hope it will lead to many more opportunities to build innovative and unique ponds in the future.