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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering. At 14 weeks, Harley plays around at the edge of the water, will flip it onto his back, bit it, jump in it, but he won't swim. Today he discovered the joys of the faucet at the park and the resultant mud bath ensued. It's not like he's afraid of water, but he doesn't swim in it either...

Kevin
 

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Milly was almost 9 months before she swam properly in a river and it took alot of coaxing. She was exactly 1 year before she swam in the surf.
 

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Abbey would go into the water until she could touch and that was it for the first 2 summers. Now I can't keep her out of the water!! ;)

She was exposed to a LOT of water, multiple times as a pup, but something just "clicked" in the past few months. I tried going in the water to coax her, didn't work... tried going in the water with her, holding her belly and letting her legs kick, which worked, but she swam right back to shore and wouldn't swim back out! Even when she was around 20+ dogs going in and out of the water, she still wouldn't swim!

So basically, it just took time. :) Just try to get Harley used to water, even if he just walks around in it a bit, and eventually (hopefully!) it will just click. :D
 

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Nah don't force him, you could damage his opinion of water forever!

We found that the only way to get Milly to swim was to both be in the water while she was left on shore. She couldn't stand not being with us so she had no choice but to swim out. Perfect! We didn't force her, she decided on her own.
 

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I agree, there's no hurry.

Cybil, my black lab, loved water, but never learned to swim well. Yesterday my hubby put Dozer into the kids' pool. It's about 12" deep. His feet started moving in a swimming motion and his tail automatically started in the circular motion. Hopefully he won't have any trouble. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We found that the only way to get Milly to swim was to both be in the water while she was left on shore. She couldn't stand not being with us so she had no choice but to swim out. Perfect! We didn't force her, she decided on her own.

Our first Lab did that. I would take him out by the Gandy Bridge in Tampa and walk out into the water. He was so afraid of being alone he would swim out and do figure eights between my feet. He absolutely would not leave my side...
 

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Gracie is almost 7 month and won't swim either...she wades in the water but won't take the plunge. I don't want to push her and scare her. With time she will go in and once she does there will probably be no stopping her.
 

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Gracie is almost 7 month and won't swim either...she wades in the water but won't take the plunge. I don't want to push her and scare her. With time she will go in and once she does there will probably be no stopping her.
tell me about it... Milly has been to 2 homes with pools since her last beach day and just jumped straight in, Harness on and all... she doesn't get the fact that she needs to find the steps of the pool to get out otherwise she's stuck. :rolleyes:

tsk tsk - it makes me worry when she does that!
 

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My BR put on his wet suit and took Cinnamon swimming at 8 weeks the day after I brought her home. Now we have a pool and we wanted to start early teaching her where the pool steps and bench seat were so she could get out. Now we do have a pool fence but until she was about 4 months old she could have squeezed through the wrought iron. We covered it with chicken wire but we wanted to be safe.

So within 2 weeks she would get in and swim like she does now...though now jumping in and splashing are fun. Scott held her and supported her under her belly for the first week and then started putting her a little ways out and letting her swim for the steps.

She was 6 months old when she saw a lake for the first time (live in Phoenix) and she cried to get out of the car the moment she saw it, pull Scott into the lake as she did not stop so he let go of her leash. She started swimming out and not returning but when she got hit with a little wave action from a boat she decided staying close to shore and not trying to swim for the island was a good idea.

We let her go at her own pace and I think every lab does the same...some love to swim others take a while.
 

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We live on a beach, I have tried taking her in at low tide, high tide and everything in between. I am going swimming tomorrow and I will see if she follows.
 

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Tal was about 9 or 10 months before he actully started to swim. I would toss his ball a short distance and he would go for it. Before I knew it he was swimming half way across! You're wise not to force it..believe me he will be a swimming fool before its over!
 

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I got to watch a hunt test/field dog trainer bring out a litter of 7 week old pups to see if they were birdy and might like water. All of the pups in the litter were retrieving pigeons and getting in the water in a few days and by the end of a week they were leaping into swimming water to get pigeons about 20 feet from shore. Having other confident swimming dogs around really helps get new dogs into the water as does throwing a favorite toy for another dog to retrieve from water. leaving a dog on an island and rowing away often gets the dog to decide to swim. Some older dogs 3 months or older often swim poorly and with their body in a verticle position (head up butt down) and these dogs are often helped by giving them something to hold in their mouths such as a bumper which helps them to keep their bodies level.

Kelly and Amber
 

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HK swam for the first time on her 9 month bday. She loved the water, would run in it, dig in it, but would not go deeper than she could stand. Then on her 9 month bday, she went for a swim, no coaxing, and hasn't stopped since.
 

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Bauer was about 4.5 months the first time he actually swam. Prior to that he would wade around and splash, but never go out far enough to swim. When he was about 4.5 months old, he was following my son down the dock and slid right off the end. I was right there, and could have scooped him out . . . but he swam right back to the shore. Then he ran down the dock and did it all again, and we haven't been able to keep him out since.
 

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Puff loved to wade as long as her feet touched bottom but didn't want to go beyond that. I tried being in the water and coaxing her as well as having her play with other Labs at a lake where they swam.

No luck.

In tossing a favorite toy (tied to a kite string so I could pull it back if needed) into a pond, gradually farther and farther out -- to the point she could no longer touch bottom, I discovered one of two reasons for her not swimming -- she wasn't using her back legs. She frantically flailed the water with her front legs, trying to keep her head above water. I almost had to leap in the water to rescue her.

That problem was very quickly and easily solved by getting a flotation vest for her. That evened out her body in the water and she started using her back legs. Using that, we practiced swimming retrieves daily to build up her experience.

The 2nd problem is that Puff -- unlike my first Lab, Bess, who never saw water she didn't try to swim in -- has very little natural buoyancy. The difference is striking.

When Bess swam, the top of her entire back was visible above water as was the top of her tail. When she turned, she lifted her tail out of the water and plopped it down for the new course very much like a rudder.

When Puff swims (w/o her RuffWear FoatKote) only her head and a bit of her neck are visible above the water's surface - her entire back and tail are slightly submerged.

NOT SWIMMING was not an option for Puff since I sail and Puff's job is to be first mate. She likes sailing but ALWAYS wears her PFD when we go.

_____________________________

Re: flotation vests for dogs. The RuffWear FloatKote is great, high quality, but expensive; if you have a pup that will be growing in size, you might look at far less expensive ones at WalMart or on the internet.

 

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When Bruno was 3-4 months old, I put him in the water to see if he could swim. I was right by him the whole time. He swam perfectly, no problem, but I didn't take him again until next summer when he was a year old. None of the others love to swim as much as he does.
 

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Jake swam at about 5 or 6 months I think - we took him to the river behind our house and a lake at my school a lot before that. He liked to play in the water, but seeing geese swimming far off the shore in what finally got him swimming!

Charlotte *can* swim (she plopped in the pool at John's parents' house this weekend) but she prefers to lay on the first step and dig for now :)
 
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