swimming problems
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Thread: swimming problems

  1. #1
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    Defaultswimming problems

    we have a one year old lab who will not take that step and swim even though she loves the water. has anyone any suggestions

    thanks from steve in manchester.

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  3. #2
    Cinder4evr is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: swimming problems

    others are more expert than I, but not all labs llove to swim. Honey Bear doesn't care for water over her head. As long as she can touch bottom she loves the water, and is a retrieving fool.

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: swimming problems

    Hi Steve,

    Do you have a friend who has a dog that likes to swim? Your dog might take to it if another dog is swimming.

    Is there a creek or stream that has some deep spots? We took ours to a wide creek that was like a small river, when he was 6 mos. old. He played and splashed in the water, while we waded with him. Then we slowly waded out to the deeper part, him following, and threw a bumper. He just started swimming for the bumper, and has swam since then.

    It's true though, I guess not all labs love to swim. But those are a couple of ideas for you.

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  6. #4
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    zoesmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: swimming problems

    We've enticed non-swimming labs into the water with toys and treats. Very slow steps, and on their own pace.
    Linda and Zoë, the Umlaut
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    [

  7. #5
    mitziandjudysmom's Avatar
    mitziandjudysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: swimming problems

    Maybe if you go in with her, and hold her up in the deeper water, she will learn to swim and like it. Be sure to hold her back end up too so she learns to kick the back legs.

  8. #6
    biscuit is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: swimming problems

    I also recommend going in with her, keeping her feeling like it's all very safe and fun (e.g., don't let go unexpectedly and have her panic!). Going slowly will be important. If there's other dogs that she can follow, that would be good too. Bring her lots of treats and her favorite toys/balls
    <br />Kristin &amp; Biscuit

  9. #7
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    georgie is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: swimming problems

    If you have a frined who has a dog that likes to swim, maybe have them play & maybe she will follow the other dog in. Also, going in the water with her may help. Good luck. Just be patient & go slow.

  10. #8
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    DefaultRe: swimming problems


    I'd say the same thing as some of the others.....just let her take her own time to get comfortable with it. My pup LOVES water, but her first few times to the lake she didn't want to go in far enough to swim. Eventually she did but it took awhile and she is still cautious. It surprised us because she is water crazy at home. My last Lab was a natural and just walked straight in and started swimming perfectly the first time. If she loves the water I'm sure she'll swim soon.

  11. #9
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: teaching a Lab to swim

    My first Lab, my beloved Bess (BF, AKC, bench line, 55 lbs., 1967-81) jumped in and swam like a fish as soon as she saw unfrozen water -- probably around 4-5 months old. She never saw a body of water she didn't want to jump into and swim (many times a problem)-- except when crewing on our sailboat where she sat like a Mack truck emblem on the bow of our C-scow.

    My present Lab, my beloved Puff (YF, AKC, field line, 63 lbs., dob: 8-'01) loves to wade or splash like a small boy through puddles but she had to be taught to swim.

    (Puff has much less buoyancy than Bess had. Mainly it's just Puff's head and neck that's above water while all of Bess's back was visible and her tail clearly seen at the water's surface. Puff's tail is below the surface.)

    With Puff, at about 7 months age (March '02), since we'd already started training to retrieve, I started tossing a training dummy into shallow water. (I tied a kite string to it so it could be pulled back if it ever went too far out -- very useful.)

    [See http://www.gundogsupply.com or other similar suppliers for 2x12" knobby vinyl dummies by "Lucky Dog"]

    Very gradually, I increased the depth of water the TD went into. Lots of praise, liberal treats (her kibble from her next meal), and failures when thrown too far (frequent).

    When the TD went past the point that Puff's legs touched bottom, Puff splashed mightily with her front legs to keep her head above water. That made a geyser just in front of her. And that most often pushed the TD farther -- too far -- away.

    I bought a Ruff Wear canine life vest and wearing that helped A LOT to level her out in the water so she learned to use her back legs.

    (We had first tried several times having Puff play around water with other Labs that swim but that didn't help. Neither did it work for me to get in the water and call her to me. And just accepting that Puff was not a swimmer wasn't an option because she's destined to be first mate on my sailboat.)

    We practiced swimming daily -- quite often twice daily -- for about 8 months that first summer. By the end of the summer, Puff felt comfortable enough to go out maybe 20'-25' from the shore and retrieve but she was still not a good or enthusiastic swimmer and it took a lot of urging to get her to go in. Bess always used to make enthusiastic running leaps, soaring over the water with her back legs tucked under her and then hitting the water with a mighty splash.

    When Puff finally goes in, it's usually after having approached the water's edge several times, wading in it slightly several times, and then, after continual exhortations, at last wading in and swimming.

    We've practiced Puff's swimming daily during all the non-ice months of '03, '04, '05, '06. Puff's long since outgrown the need for the life vest when retrieving but -- to my surprise, this year, when first swimming, she seemed for a few retrieves to have forgetten to use her rear legs so she was much more vertical in the water and splashing much more with her front legs. She recovered from that within a few tosses.

    But swimming still ranks well below 10th on Puff's list of preferred methods of locomotion/travel -- behind #1, car rides; #2, runnng with other dogsi; #3 running solo; etc. I think I've seen Puff spontaneously jump into water and swim only twice in over 1,000 days/opportunities.

    And rest assured, whenever Puff goes sailing with me, she'll be wearing her canine PFD at ALL times.
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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