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Man’s best friend has been by our side for many moons. While the exact amount of time is unknown, researchers estimate that our four-legged pals have been tagging along for an astounding 14,000 to 29,000 years! From the adventurous to the mundane – from hiking and car rides to surfing – dogs join their human counterparts in nearly every activity they can. So, what about a little freefall fun?
The answer is yes! Skydiving with dogs is possible. Although, it should be noted: most of the furry companions that take to the sky are not everyday pets. They are typically elite members of highly-trained tactical units. Here’s the intel on skydiving with dogs.
The majority of the time skydiving with dogs is done for a specific purpose. Take, for example, the U.S Navy SEALS. They use their Special Operations skydiving pooches for high-stakes clandestine missions. These canines are trained to parachute into combat situations either as tandem passengers to their handlers or solo with their own dog parachute if they will be landing in water.
Skydiving with dogs requires specialized equipment. Military skydiving dogs are outfitted with a kevlar vest, a load-bearing harness system that is securely attached to the handler, and goggles to protect their eyes in freefall. For jumps that are High Altitude Low Opening (HALO), the skydiving dogs and masters also wear oxygen masks.
In addition to military operations, skydiving dogs are also being trained to parachute into areas in Africa that are prone to harboring illegal poaching activities. Once a poacher is spotted, these dogs jump from helicopters assisted by their handlers and, upon landing, use their excellent senses of smell to follow the trail. By helping to protect endangered species and bringing these criminals to justice, these skydiving dogs are proving pivotal to the conservation effort.
Parachuting puppers can be found in the civilian world as well. Although, because federal aviation authorities are often not in support of sport skydiving doggos, it is far less common.
While few and far between, there are a few examples of four-legged free fallers. Take for example the skydiving Dachshund named Riley who made a skydive with owner Nathan Batiste over sunny California. Another freefalling pooch is 75lb Duke the Doberman. At last count, Duke had made an incredible 4 skydives with his owner, Alex Coker, a skydiving instructor and Desoto County Sheriff’s Deputy. In both instances, the pups were jumping with experienced skydivers.
Oh, and did we mention the truly daring dogs out there who regularly BASE jump?
Meet the adventurous Paco:
And of course the wingsuiting Whisper:
Before you get too carried away dreaming of taking your furbaby on a skydive, you should know most canines are not suited for skydiving. Skydiving with a dog requires a calm temperament, a significant bond between owner and animal, and custom dog-friendly equipment.
We understand wanting your furry friend to be your tail-wagging support system on your first skydive, but the dropzone is not an ideal environment for most dogs. With a flurry of new sights, smells, and sounds, in most cases it proves to be overwhelming and overstimulating. If you’re heading to the dropzone, it’s best to leave your beloved Fido at home.
While we hope you’ve learned a bit about skydiving with dogs, the real takeaway is this: if a dog can do it, why can’t you? Call Skydive Tecumseh to schedule your skydive today!
Wonderful staff -- my tandem instructor, James, was funny, clear, and made sure that I was comfortable during the entire experience (which involved two flights and a bit of "will-we-or-won't-we" due to clouds).
The dive itself is unreal -- exhilarating and meditative, terrifying and relaxing, absolutely breathtaking. I absolutely recommend you try it here first. Skydive Tecumseh has a great reputation, and there's a reason for that. I hope to go again.