Need help with wate intro

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Need help with wate intro

Postby daeion » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:40 pm

I have a 7 month old SM that I''m trying to get swimming but not having success. We go to a dog park that has a pond every day and she will only go after sticks, which she loves almost as much as birds, if she can walk out to get them, once she gets to where she'd have to start swimming she turns around and comes back to shore. I've also taken her to a lake several times and waded out into the water while my wife/father throws bumpers, and once again she goes as far as she can while walking and then turns around. No amount of encouragement or calling will get her to keep coming. She doesn't seem to have a fear of water as she'll walk into it on her own and go after anything thrown into it, but I don't know how to get her to swim when it gets deep. I'm wondering if I should trying to find a duck and toss it in for her to retrieve.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby orhunter » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:59 pm

There's nothing like a live duck to encourage a dog. You getting in the water with her helps too.

One thing you need to stop doing is tossing sticks. Use a training object so she knows what is expected of her. Time to start gentle/force hold so she can associate that with fetching.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:22 pm

What are you going to do if she retrieves a stick instead of a bird? Bad habit to let a dog get into.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby daeion » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:12 pm

I hadn't thought about the stick being an issue as I was just trying to get her into the water and I didn't want to throw something that was going to cost me anything if she didn't bring it back.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby blue04 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:15 pm

orhunter wrote:There's nothing like a live duck to encourage a dog. You getting in the water with her helps too.


Yes! Any kind of live bird really. Use a wing clipped quail or pigeon if that's all you have.

Also, older dogs that love swimming are a major temptation for young dogs. If you have other dogs, or friends with dogs, who love swimming. Take them all together and most young dogs can't resist following the older dogs into the water.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby daeion » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:36 pm

blue04 wrote:
orhunter wrote:There's nothing like a live duck to encourage a dog. You getting in the water with her helps too.

Also, older dogs that love swimming are a major temptation for young dogs. If you have other dogs, or friends with dogs, who love swimming. Take them all together and most young dogs can't resist following the older dogs into the water.


I've thought of doing that, but when we go to the dog park and there are dogs all around swimming and splashing it doesn't seem to entice her.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby orhunter » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:53 pm

Might be intimidated by all the other dogs? If it's chaotic, I don't blame her. Need a less threatening environment.

Can always tie some string to a training dummy or use a fishing outfit to do the retrieving.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby daeion » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:26 pm

orhunter wrote:Might be intimidated by all the other dogs? If it's chaotic, I don't blame her. Need a less threatening environment.

Can always tie some string to a training dummy or use a fishing outfit to do the retrieving.


Yeah that's what I do when I take her to the lake, at which point it's usually just her, my wife/father, and I
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby blue04 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:23 pm

orhunter wrote:Might be intimidated by all the other dogs?


That might be true with strange dogs I guess. I don't think I'd be too worried about it.

In my case, I generally have a pack of my own dogs that my pup is already comfortable with and has played in the yard with. So I never have this issue. The pup just follows his/her "pack brothers" and/or sisters in to swim, just as they would follow them around the yard during free play time.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby Smilin Jack » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:26 pm

The "older Dog " approach works . Yrs ago I used this with some friends Lab pups that didn't want to get in the water . Got all the Dogs interested in a bumper then threw it for my older Lab . Every body went in the water . worked great ... Surprisingly never had a problem with my PP . Swam at 11 weeks after a bumper with a wing tied on . No hesitation at all . Wasn't pretty but she did it . With friends that don't know , I often describe her as a Chocolate Lab that needs a Haircut ... LOL.... Love this Dog !!!
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:01 pm

No dog can refuse cheetos. But if she does, then you might take her and some other dogs she likes playing with to the lake and see if that helps. Small creeks that you can wade across so that she will have to follow will gradually decrease water concerns as well. Having the dog left on shore behind me in a canoe has worked when I've been too impatient for the other methods.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby gwp4me2 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:26 pm

I always try and start pups by going for walks and crossing ditches, creeks, canals, etc so they have to swim to come along. Gradually increase the depth and width and water just becomes part of the walks. Combine that with older dogs and you should be good. 7 months is getting a little old and some dogs hit a 'fear' stage where anything new is hard for them. Find water that the dog must cross to go with you. If you continue to just call or encourage they learn they don't ever need to swim. The pup may cry and bark and carry on but soon they will swim. I'll bet by the time you've crossed the water several times the dog will swim. Get out of town somewhere and find a canal or stream the size you can wade.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby blue04 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:47 pm

Also, do water work in several different places. Dogs are "place learners" (they associate lessons learned with the place they learned it), and often don't translate experience to "this works everywhere" until they've done something in multiple places.
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby Densa44 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:02 pm

This is the advice I give everyone with this problem and it has always worked.

Hook her up and wade in with her, until she is swimming (feet can't touch bottom). Don't tell me about cold water, I live in Canada and that is the only kind we have.

Some of the people go with waders, bathing suits, and 3 that I recall, just took the dog in clothes and all. Every dog has a UT prize, so I'm confident the system works.
Pine Ridges Ginnieve NA 112 UT pz 1 200
Camridge's Sienna NA 112 UT pz 1 204
Foothill Joce NA 112
Czarina Vom Oberland VJP 70 NA pz 112
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Re: Need help with wate intro

Postby verno » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:31 am

Last summer I was panicked about the same thing. My dog would do exactly the same, go up to her belly and no further. Everyone here told me to relax and take my time, let her figure it out. Everyone here was right. I just kept tossing the bumper a bit further than she could wade. Eventually she swam twice for it and that was that.
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