Pudelpointer won’t swim

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Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby helt4257 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:59 pm

Hey all,

I got a bit of a problem. Got a 5 Mo pudelpointer from good lines. It was a winter pup so didn’t get him out to the water until about 3-4 weeks ago once the weather warmed up. Basically I can’t get this dog to swim. It will go out till the water touches his chest then run out. I have been able to get him to actually swim once after about 5 times at the lake but haven’t been able to get him to swim after the last 5 times we went out to the pond. I’ve never forced him, three him, or dragged him into the water and have been as positive as possible once he touched the water. I’ve thrown bumpers, waded in and lured him with treats, had him around dogs that just swim for days and frolick in the water, and had him chase some local ducks but all to no avail. Now he loves birds, points great, retrievers, ect but I can’t get over this water business. I’ve been as patient as possible but I’m starting to get concerned after about a month and about 10 or so times around the water trying to get him to take.

Just wondering if y’all have any advice? I primarily duck hunt and was planning to have him formally trained in a month or so. Just wondered if I should give up on him being a duck dog and focus on upland birds since he is doing very well in that aspect. Thank ya much
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby CZfan107 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:22 pm

Try putting on waders and carry him out with you and let him swim back to shore!
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:52 am

Be patient. 5 months is not too young to expect the pup to swim but it is far too young to give up on this pup. As the weather warms you can swim with the pup and that may get him further into the water. If that fails, get a live duck, pull the flight feathers and turn it loose in front of the pup. My bet is this pup is just not ready to swim but once it does it will be all that you hope for.

P.S. a pigeon with the flight feathers pulled out and tossed into water in front of the pup is very likely to entice the pup to swim. Some pigeons I have used this way had a very good/surprising breast stroke and lead the pup on a chase across water. It is easier than a duck and probably the better option for a 5 month old.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby Densa44 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:07 am

Here is what will work. Hook him up on the leash and walk in with him, until he has to swim; no walking on the bottom with his front feet waving in the air. Once he gets the hang of it, that he is not going to drown, you and your dog will enjoy many duck hunting trips together.

You sound like a fine fellow and a careful trainer. Force is not going to help and is not required.

My PPs are swimming now (the ice left the stream yesterday) chasing the geese. The big birds are just slightly amused.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:31 am

I much prefer to lure that pup into the water with a pigeon vs in effect forcing him in with a leash. The pup has already indicated to you he is not crazy about it when you tried wading in yourself, using other dogs, treats and bumpers. Pulling him in with a leash is not at all what I would do next. Use the pigeon, and let us know how it goes.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby Densa44 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:41 am

Average guy may be right but I've been walking in with my dogs for many years and they always come willingly. They are swimming before they know it.

I've seen others try coxing the dog in but if it worked, it was a very slow process and i guess that I don't have the patience.

Use what ever method you like and as has been said tell us how it works.

Pick a safe place for these swimming lessons.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:47 am

Densa I am using information the OP provided in their initial post. I have successfully introduced water to GWPs for over 30 years, so not my first rodeo either. For the majority of my pups the methods he has already tried including wading into the water with the pup have worked.

But with this pup it has not worked so far, (although the pup is far too young to panic over that).

Nothing gets a hesitant pup in the water and swimming faster than throwing a wing clipped pigeon in the water in front of the pup is my experience. And many others experience as well.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby seadog » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:19 am

Using the pigeon is the way I start my water search , worked on all my dogs and others . Had a wirehair that would not go in ( pre pigeon ) until I got pi$$ed and threw my ball cap off and ran off the dock , when I came up for air and looked back he was putting a beating on the cap you would not believe . Swam back to shore and threw the cap out , off he went , no more water problems . You have to find the trigger .
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby ryanr » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:14 am

AverageGuy wrote:I much prefer to lure that pup into the water with a pigeon vs in effect forcing him in with a leash. The pup has already indicated to you he is not crazy about it when you tried wading in yourself, using other dogs, treats and bumpers. Pulling him in with a leash is not at all what I would do next. Use the pigeon, and let us know how it goes.


Yup, duck or pigeon is a great method. No forcing, no fuss, instinct takes over and suddenly they're swimming and love it. My male Drahthaar avoided water and I didn't push it because I got him in October. One day in late February, he saw some ducks on a small, unfrozen pond and suddenly it was on. To this day you can't keep him from swimming in any water he can find. My GWP is 10 months old, same deal I'm not pushing her, her breeding tells me she will love water and ducks. Now that It has finally warmed up here she's starting to go into the water more and swam a little a couple times. Her NA isn't until late June so I'm not at all worried.

One time at a test a guy showed up, he was running the next day and he had never swam his dog or had it in water at all really (why people show up at test like this I don't know but they do.) Anyway, my training partner and I said come with us. We grabbed a live chukar and a dummmy and headed down the road to a small pond. Dog didn't care about the dummy much, went in but not beyond touching. Pulled some primaries and threw the chukar in. Boom! Dog was all in. Guy ended up having to use a dead chukar the next day but his dog swam twice and he prized. He was very happy.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby Charli » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:23 am

As others have said, use the pups prey drive and birds to your advantage. I would even take a few steps back and find a shallow creek or something similar that you can cross and have the pup follow. If it's hesitant, just keep walking and the pup will eventually follow progressing to deeper water as the pup becomes more confident.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby Willie T » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:42 am

Your dog is going to be fine. It can already swim, it just doesn't know it. With only 5 trips to the water I would not be worried in the least. After it builds some confidence in the water you will look back and smile when you remember its beginning. When it does swim don't worry about it if it's awkward at first. It will come around if you keep giving it the opportunity. Don't get caught up in someone else's timeline. Right now just focus on exposing it to water, a lot. Something I have done with dogs that are hesitant to swim if I can't coax or motivate them to swim, is get in a Jon boat with them. Paddle out and drop the anchor. Then bail out and swim to the bank. About five minutes is the longest one of them has stayed in the boat.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:51 pm

I never like forcing a dog to swim. I certainly will coax and tempt the tar out of them though. Here are some things that usually work with no dangerous aftermath. Leave him on shore and throw a Cheeto in the water. Dog's love Cheetos and they float like a cork. Let him splash into belly deep water and eat it, then throw them progressively deeper. Most dog's cannot refuse a Cheeto and this usually works.

Find a pond with an island you can wade to. Carry the pup out and place him on the island. Turn and walk back to shore then just sit there. He'll eventually come to you. Praise the heck out of him and do it again.

Similarly, get on one side of a slow moving creek or ditch and walk back and forth across it. Everytime he comes to you tell him what a special dog he is and cross to the other side. Eventually run to the other side and make a game of it.

With a pup here are some things I, personally, never do: I never drag of force the pup in to the water. I never throw an object to retrieve UNLESS I have an older dog and can send the other dog to create jealousy. Lastly, I never force a pup into the water by dropping him in, etc. All of these may work and work very well, but I just don't believe in them. I always try to introduce a concept to a dog in a pleasant manner. It prevents problems down the road. I'm not saying anyone else is WRONG here, just not methods I use.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby JONOV » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:28 am

Another method that I have seen used that is "non forcing" is to get the dog playing with an older dog that willingly bounds into the water. Throw the dummy and let the older dog run for it.

What I did was take the dog to the local city park that had tons of geese and turned him loose. That works, or a Golf Course. And you don't have to buy a Craigslist Duck.

I primarily duck hunt and so was similarly concerned when my dog was your dog's age.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:32 am

JONOV wrote:Another method that I have seen used that is "non forcing" is to get the dog playing with an older dog that willingly bounds into the water. Throw the dummy and let the older dog run for it.

What I did was take the dog to the local city park that had tons of geese and turned him loose. That works, or a Golf Course. And you don't have to buy a Craigslist Duck.

I primarily duck hunt and so was similarly concerned when my dog was your dog's age.


I like using that as well. Fun and Jealousy are unbeatable combinations.
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Re: Pudelpointer won’t swim

Postby Boxertwin » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:32 pm

All this advice is helpful too me also. My 9 month old PP will not swim either. She loves running in the water on the shore and will retrieve bumpers if they are less than overhead deep. I have walked in with waders and she had no interest.
I'm going to try the pigeon this weekend. She has a really strong prey drive and pigeons are her favorite thing to go after.
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