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Just got back from a pond in our subdivision with Riley. She liked the water, but only got in to about half way up her chest. How do you get your dog used to it to where they will go all the way in and swim? Gradually? Or like my dad did with me... threw me in and said sink or swim? :eek:

PJ
 

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the way i got my labs to swim is i went swimming and they went in after me. or if she likes to play ball toss a ball in the water and she well go after it i have two labs a 3 year old black and a 9 month old yellow the black lab is my service dog this is thunderhaven1 and i live in kansas
 

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DON'T THROW RILEY IN.

My Bess jumped in and swam like a fish the first time she saw unfrozen water at about 5 months age.

Puff like to splash and wade but didn't know how to swim and had to be carefully taught.

I taught Puff to retrieve first and then used that to get her to go farther and farther out in the water.

While Bess had so much buoyancy her back and the top of her tail were visible above the water's surface, Puff (field line) has so little that only her neck and head are usually visible. I think that has a lot to do with the differences in swimming interest.

We use Lucky Dog vinyl 2" x 12" Training Dummies to which I tied a 30 ft. string or line; the line was useful in retrieving the TD in case I threw it too far for Puff to be comfortable retrieving. It saved me having to wade in to get it. (One source of TDs is http://www.gundogsupply.com)

I threw the TD into progressively deeper waters.

When Puff DID dare to try to retrieve the TD, it quickly became apparent what much of her problem was -- she was in a vertical position, so frantically flailing the water with her front legs she created a moving geyser just in front of her but wan't using her back legs at all to swim.

I bought her a canine life vest to level her out and that helped a lot -- she learned to use her back legs.

She still was not that enthusiastic about swimming but she had no choice on the training. I love sail and if she was to accomapany me as my first mate, she needed to learn to swim.

It took all of one summer and much of the next with daily swim practice before she was comfortable swimming. She now goes in and swims without the life vest.

--------------------------------------------

Thunderhaven -- where do you live in Kansas? I live in Topeka.
 

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The best way is to go in yourself and they follow. This is how we taught Aidan. Emma needed a bit more coaxing but is now a fish and will dive in off the side, doesnt ever want to get out.
 
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What ever you do, dont push them to swim, or throw them in to pond/lake, otherwise you will end up with a dog who's scared of swimming ;)
 

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I wish my dog would get in the water as far as your dog. i have a lab that will literally jump from rock to rock in order to avoid getting wet while crossing a stream/creek! :eek: I think he thinks hes a cat! ;)
 

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I always take Libby. She's such a ***** with the bumper that the puppies get frustrated that she won't let them have it and they go in after her. Works every time. :)
 
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Shall we change for Labradors for lets say a week or sow ???





She swims in to the midle of the lake over here, and then starts searching for her tennisball ;D ::)
 

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I'm sure that owners wading out in the water and calling their Lab to them works for many.

I'm also sure that being around other Labs that are enjoying swimming induces many Labs to begin swimming.

But I tried all of those things with Puff, several times of each, and the farthest out Puff would go was until water reached her belly.

Puff was EXCEEDINGLY reluctant to swim.

And for Puff, IMO, the 4 critically important things were:

-- teaching retrieving and using the TD on a string

-- using a canine life vest

-- VERY gradually increasing the water depth and distance from shore

-- daily (or twice daily) practice with positive reinforcement (treats/praise)

FWIW, in the 5+ years Puff has been swimming -- probably close to a thousand times -- I've seen her spontanously jump in the water on her own (instead of being directed to retrieve a TD) and briefly swim maybe a grand total of 2-3 times.

Swimming is still far from being in the top 50 of her most favorite things to do.

Now splashing in puddles, streams, or small ponds often up to her belly touching water is another matter. That would rate somewhere in her top 10, maybe in her top 5.
 

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take a dog that likes to swim...Rookie didn't really swim the first couple of times either...now he's a champ...and doing water retrieves at 15 weeks.
 

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When I first started Tal swimming, I got a retractible leash and tied a bumper on to a 20 foot rope. It only took about two throws before he really started to swim. Now when we are even near the lake he goes nuts. He actually did like Bobpr's Puff, only on a much shorter time line! I never forced him and let him go at his own pace. I would have gotten in the lake with him but they will not allow humans to swim in it.
 

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When we first took our dog, Gus, to a pond, he wouldn't go into the deep parts. He'd just run back and forth in the water by the bank, playing and splashing. The second time, he actually dove in after one of the ducks, but he didn't realize that he wasn't gonna be able to touch when he got out there... he kinda got freaked out, but he was able to swim back to the bank. Then, on friday we took him to my moms pool and he just dove right in and swam...he definitely couldn't touch bottom in her pool, and he had a blast!
It may take some time, but once he gets used to it, he'll be like a fish in water...Gus is!!!
 

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Daisy is a fish... she literally has no fear. The first time that she encountered water, she just jumped right in. Her sister (Molly), on the other hand... she is more afraid. I usually take them one at a time... but when they are together, I notice that Molly is influenced by Daisy. I don't really do lake water, so I don't get in. :p More and more, Molly is getting used to the water and actually swimming.

Also, LOL at the first picture of Seamus!! Priceless.
 

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You are right on track! Let Riley "feel" her way into being comfortable around water. Too much pressure on her to swim may result in some fear-type behaviors.

I'll bet, the next time you take her to the lake, she will act much more confident!
 

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Apollopuppy said:
I wish my dog would get in the water as far as your dog. i have a lab that will literally jump from rock to rock in order to avoid getting wet while crossing a stream/creek! :eek: I think he thinks hes a cat! ;)
I am so happy to hear you say this! I thought Koko was the only lab who won't get wet~!
 

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I Have the same trouble with Saska she is 21 months old today, and she will not swim and I would not dream of forcing her to, it would be great to see her enjoying herself though, I am going to keep taking her to the river this summer and see if she will have a go, she will only go in if she can feel the bottom of the river or pond and the moment, fingers crossed that by the end of the summer she will be swimming. I always assumed that as she was a Labrador and a water dog she would automatically swim, how wrong was I. She does love jumping in puddles on her walk and splashing about though. :D
 

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Goose is a stuborn swimmer, he runs through the shallow waters and will retrieve after he has marked everything in sight, but sometimes he will just look at whatever I throw in the lake and say, you get it...
 
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