How to get a lab to swim
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Thread: How to get a lab to swim

  1. #1
    Daisy99's Avatar
    Daisy99 is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultHow to get a lab to swim

    I have a 10 year old lab, we just got her in may. She has never been in the water, we have tried several times, she wont play fetch so throwing something in the water doesn't work. When we were at the cottage we took her to a small island and we got back in the boat and started to drive it away we were hoping that she would start to swim out to us but she just layed down and waited until we came back. I was hoping maybe someone would have another idea we are near water alot and with her age I think swimming would be good exercise for her since she wont play fetch or anything else.

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    What do you mean by 'she won't play fetch?'

    Do you mean -- if you get her interested in a toy and throw it she won't run after it?

    Or do you mean she won't bring it back once she gets it?

    Please clarify.

    As far as swimming goes, my first Lab (bench line) leaped into the water when she was 6 years old and swam all her life, even diving under water.

    My second Lab, Puff (field line), had much less buoyancy than Bess. A PFD (pooch's floatation device/life vest for dogs) helped mightily in training her to swim.

    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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    Amber The Duck Dawg is offline Senior Member
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    It is kinda cold this time of year to introduce labs to water in canada. I like really hot hot days and warm water for water introductions. I like having a bunch of other dogs that love water and will be swimming around. and also it might even help to have people in the water. A flotation vest/insulated vest would be good also but get the dog used to wearing it around before you go to the water. 10 years old is kinda old but you could do the force fetch as a last resort and then do water forcing, but at 10 it is pretty late and kinda stressful.
    You might consider just walks in fields or other places rather than concrete or asphalt. Other options though really pricey would be Hydrotherapy (treadmills in water tanks for dogs).

    Kelly
    Light, "weedy" individuals are definitely incorrect; equally objectionable are cloddy lumbering specimens. Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition well-muscled and without excess fat. Females should weigh between 55 and 70lbs and Males between 65 and 80lbs. Height females 21.5 to 23.5 inches males 22.5 to 24.5 inches at the withers.

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    congrats on the adoption of a senior!!!! no advice on swimming, some dogs just don't like it, I guess being a labrador might make her more incline but maybe she just isn't interested.

    "Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one"
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    Thanks for the advice maybe I will try a life jacket in the spring when it gets warmer out. As far as her not playing fetch I can't get her intrested in any toy she just looks at it, if I throw it she will go sniff it but she will come back without it, I have just tried giving her a treat when she brings it back I put the treats in the ball works great in the house but she still wont play outside. I am just trying to keep her fit, just going for walks isn't working she is starting to gain a bit of weight and we go for long walks.

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    I suggest trying to build up "Fetch."

    This is something best activated when the Lab is a puppy but many times some gentle, repeated training can reawaken some dormant instincts.

    IF you can get your Lab to run over to pick up something (maybe smearing peanut butter or anchovy paste on it to heighten interest), great!

    Then tie a 25-30 ft line to the object and, when you Lab seizes it, pull back the object with your Lab clinging to it.

    Exchange a desired treat for the object when you get both in range.

    Repeat a few times a day, always stopping before it becomes no fun for your Lab.

    In time, the number of repetitions should gradually increase as/IF your Lab learns this is a way of having more "fun"

    WHEN/"if" you're getting definite indications that this is fun, THEN you can move the game to throwing the toy into shallow waters (where your Lab's feet can still touch bottom).

    IF you throw it too far, in water too deep, quickly reel it back in and try again with a depth that still allows contact with the bottom.

    AFTER that's comfortably established, try for a few feet farther out so a few swimming strokes will be needed.

    Reward and praise every successful trial. And keep every trial successful.

    ALWAYS keep the exercises fun and never so many your Lab loses interest.

    (I went through a similar process with Puff. She's from a HT/FT line and has VERY little buoyancy. We practiced 1-2X daily for an entire summer before she got secure in her swimming.)

    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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    I will try that, thank you for your advice

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    I always say to people with their dogs: "A dog is just like a radio, you just have to tune in, to let them do what you want"

    But oke, youre Labrador wont swim .. Well, actually it all has to do with motivation, if you give him the proper motivation .. Then he will go like a ocean steamer (really!)

    And the temprature of the water, well .. Labradors are made for entering cold water, they come from origine from Newfoundland

    But .. If they swam in realy cold water, afterwards just keep them on the move. And here come's the fetching around the corner

    If you start learning them to fetch, ofcourse you can throw a dummy (or any other 'thing') miles away, but that's not the way to do it ..

    Think small in this case .. If you want learning him to fetch and retrieve, just throw it a meter away from you, and give him the motivation to pick it up .. And reward him for it! And so on ..

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    welcome from a fellow ontarian!

    I agree it might be abit cold in Ontario to encourage swimming. In the spring, if you can get your dog around other dogs in the water that often helps (follow the leader!).

    For fetchig - try different types, shapes and texture for toys. It took awhile to get my rescue to fetch. Even now it depends on his mood. But I have found that squeaky tennis balls are his favorite and he loves them.

    Also, when I had to teach him to retriever a bumper (specific toy) I went to clicker training. At first if he went NEAR the toy, i would click and he got a treat (he knows clicker means food!). Eventually he had to touch it with his nose or foot to get a click. Then put his mouht on it. then pick it up. then bring it to me. It took a few weeks to get thru the whole process. Lots of very short sessions. By the end he was jumping up and down when I went to get a bumper from the toy bin!
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    Seamus Lab is offline Senior Member
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    Wonderful of you to adopt a senior.

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