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Discussion Starter #1
Our Cybil couldn't swim very well. It was as though she didn't know how to work all her parts at the same time to keep herself floating. She loved the water and would jump in without blinking, but we had to make sure she didn't get in too deep. We tried to teach her. Dh would swim with her, we had her swim with other dogs, etc. etc. She just didn't have the coordination or something.

I am hoping Dozer will be a swimmer. Once he is fully vaccinated is there anything I can start doing with him when he's little to get him to learn or will it just come naturally? He is going to be a canoe dog and while he will have a PFD it is equally important that he knows how to swim.
 

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The quickest way is to have him with other dogs that do swim. Very often, they just copy the other dogs and are swimming before you know it. Or, go into the water yourself, gradually, and see if he follows you.
 

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It was natural for Bauer. We are around the water a lot, and from the time he was very little he would wade in. When he was about 4.5 months old we were at the lake, and he was out on the dock with my son. My son jumped off the end, and Bauer followed him. He swam right back to shore (a short swim), got on the dock and jumped again. He loves to swim, and it is hard to keep him out of the water now. We didn't have to encourage him at all.
 

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I'm hoping Dozer will be more like Bauer than Cybil with swimming. LOL

I'm planning to get him a puppy pool for in the yard, just splashing size, not swimming size. That should be fun.
 

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He'll learn just give him time. Best way has already been mentioned and that is having other great canine swimmers around for him to observe. Practice makes perfect as the old saying goes. Some lean labs have a little harder time because they don't have as much fat to give them bouyancy....anyhow....do not worry he'll get better. I also have a canoe lab and he swims awesome but also put on his PFD when in deep water and distant from shore. The pup just needs to be exposed to pleasant temperature water and shallow gradual slope so he can get in slowly also when it is time to learn have someone in the water that he can swim towards...not to far and when he gets to you lots of praise.

Have FUN!!!! Happy to see some other 'canoe' dogs on here :D
 

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It took Puff all one summer of daily patient teaching, throwing her Training Dummy just a foot or so farther out, to get her swimming.

Puff is from a field line and doesn't have the buoyancy that a bench line Lab has. When Puff swims, just her head and part of her neck are visible above water. She loves water, to splash and wade in, but doesn't spontaneously swim for fun -- only to retrieve.

The thing that helped Puff the most was putting her PFD on her and daily practice, practice, practice swimming. That helped her learn the coordinated movements in swimming to use even when she's not wearing her PFD. (NOT learning to swim well wasn't an option -- I'm a sailor and she's my 1st mate.)

My first Lab, Bess, (bench line) took to swimming immediately. She was far more buoyant -- all of her back and the upper part of her tail were visible above water whenever she swam (except when she swam underwater which she did quite well). But her love of swimming was often a problem -- she'd sometimes dart off to jump in at places that weren't safe.

 

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Some are natural swimmers and some have to learn. If you go in with Cybil, try holding her back end higher in the water. (so her back is horizontal) That usually gets them to kick their back paws and they will swim normally.
 

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Some are natural swimmers and some have to learn. If you go in with Cybil, try holding her back end higher in the water. (so her back is horizontal) That usually gets them to kick their back paws and they will swim normally.
Thanks ... my dh tried that a million times. Cybil will always be known as the Lab who couldn't swim. I imagine now, in Summerland, she is swimming like a champ. :D

SandyRiver, that's a great shot of your lab in your canoe. How did you start him out in it?
 

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With most dogs, it's natural. Abbey on the other hand, CAN swim very well, but just this year (just turned 2) is getting more interested and will willingly swim.

When she was little, she would just walk into the water and turn around if it got too deep.. :D
 

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He's been canoeing with my husband and I ever since he was about 3months old. I do have to let him swim and exhaust some of his energy before he'll ride in the canoe but after that he usually settles in. It helps to have a lie down command to get him to lie down and just try to keep him in the center but not always easy....he likes to stand and sniff the surface of the water. We have to watch him though because sometimes there are crayfish pots in the lakes around here with bouys attached which he mistakes for retrieving bumpers and will try to snag one or two :eek: that is when leave it comes in handy. He does need breaks once in awhile...we paddle about an 1hr-1.5hrs at the most and then let him out to stretch his legs so a canoe day trip can take longer when we bring him along.

Our canoe is quite large 18fter Hiawatha wood and canvass canoe that my husband builds from a Thompson original form. It can carry quite a lot.

When Sandy was a pup he used to just sleep under the bow seat :) See attachment for a picture of that.

Going canoeing tomorrow with him should be fun!!!
 

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Baloo was a natural. I remember taking him to the lake when he was 12 weeks old and thinking about how I would get him to swim. I had a great plan laid out in my mind involving many trips to the lake, slowly introducing him to the water in baby steps.

Then when we got out of the car he made a beeline straight for the water and plunged right in, has been swimming ever since. :D
 

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That's awesome! He is adorable!

We have two canoes, a Langford Nahanni and a Swift Dumoine. The Swift is much more stable than the Langford so we are going to start our pup out in the Swift. We are actually going to put him in it out of the water first. A trick we used with Cybil was to give her a towel and call it her "place". We taught her that was her "place" even out of the canoe and when we put it in the canoe we said "place" and she would stay there. She was older (and obedient) when we started her in the canoe though. I think she had her first canoe ride when she was 3. Unfortunately she is no longer around to teach the pup the right way to ride in a canoe so it's all up to us humans. LOL

So we'll use the same trick for Dozer, but we will start with the canoe on land and then once he is fully vaccinated we'll try it out in the nearby river.
 

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Baloo was a natural. I remember taking him to the lake when he was 12 weeks old and thinking about how I would get him to swim. I had a great plan laid out in my mind involving many trips to the lake, slowly introducing him to the water in baby steps.

Then when we got out of the car he made a beeline straight for the water and plunged right in, has been swimming ever since. :D
Ah, there's a dream come true! That's great!!
 
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