How to train a dog to like water?
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Thread: How to train a dog to like water?

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    Senior Member xoxluvablexox's Avatar
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    Question How to train a dog to like water?

    Well I'll start off with the story of how my dogs hate for water began.
    I was at my neighbors house at night in the pool with a friend and I brought my puppy to come spend some time with us by the pool. He was tied up and walking around and managed to get his leash caught around a chair so my friend went to go fix the leash. She unclipped the leash from his color and let him stand there completely free to go whereever and ofcourse I didn't even realize this until i heard a loud splash and something swimming towards me. This is a 3 month old puppy that probably never swam a day in his life before that. Ofcourse I flipped out and grabbed him before he sank to the bottem or something. (I was a knew dog owner and didn't realize it would come naturally, specially since I was dealing with a poodle.) I went back to my house quickly, making a big deal out of it and sneaking him into the house, grabbing a couple towels and locking myself into the bedroom. I knew my dad would probably come up with something to say about my "great" dog ownership skills or something.
    Well I guess that night never left his mind because he won't even step through a little puddle and it's a chore to even get him outside to go to the bathroom on a rainy day. He acts like theres huge rocks or something falling out of the sky instead of just some little drops of water.
    Is there anyway to retrain him into thinking water isn't a bad thing?? I've already tried bringing him to lakes and even the ocean. He was with a couple other dogs by a lake and ended up hiding under a baby stroller so a german sherperd coudln't shake water on him or something. The beach was even worse. He wouldn't go a foot withing reach of the water and at night when there were some huge areas of water all along the beach I had to drag him through or walk all the way around them. I've brought him into pools before and he swims with his front legs but not his back so I tried holding up back legs and then after a few minutes let go but he just manages to sink untill his head nearly goes under and I have to save him. I happened more the a couple times and then I just gave up.

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  3. #2
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    Re: How to train a dog to like water?

    I got some good answers to this in my thread under the first time dog owners section.

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    Re: How to train a dog to like water?

    introduce him again slowl to water. Take him to the beach and give him treats each time you can get him to the edge of the water. Slowly walk toward it doing this and then slowly back off a bit. Keep repeating this process. give him lots of incouragement and use excitment in our voice when you are doing this. make it seem like something special. Take him in a bit deeper each time. when he begins to relax take him a bit further. its going to take time and lots of treats and love.

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    Senior Member xoxluvablexox's Avatar
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    Re: How to train a dog to like water?

    Ivanhoe29-Thanks, I'll go look for it right away

    Bearlasmom- It's going to take A LOT of treats knowing Pepper. It'll probably take him the whole summer to step a foot close to any body of water but hopefully it'll happen. Thanks for the idea, it sounds like something that would work really well for him. He's really picky about what he likes though so it'ed have to be a treat that he would really work hard for and that might be difficult to find. Thanks

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    Re: How to train a dog to like water?

    Well I'll start off with the story of how my dogs hate for water began.
    I was at my neighbors house at night in the pool with a friend and I brought my puppy to come spend some time with us by the pool. He was tied up and walking around and managed to get his leash caught around a chair so my friend went to go fix the leash. She unclipped the leash from his color and let him stand there completely free to go whereever and ofcourse I didn't even realize this until i heard a loud splash and something swimming towards me. This is a 3 month old puppy that probably never swam a day in his life before that. Ofcourse I flipped out and grabbed him before he sank to the bottem or something. (I was a knew dog owner and didn't realize it would come naturally, specially since I was dealing with a poodle.) I went back to my house quickly, making a big deal out of it and sneaking him into the house, grabbing a couple towels and locking myself into the bedroom. I knew my dad would probably come up with something to say about my "great" dog ownership skills or something.
    Well I guess that night never left his mind because he won't even step through a little puddle and it's a chore to even get him outside to go to the bathroom on a rainy day. He acts like theres huge rocks or something falling out of the sky instead of just some little drops of water.
    Is there anyway to retrain him into thinking water isn't a bad thing?? I've already tried bringing him to lakes and even the ocean. He was with a couple other dogs by a lake and ended up hiding under a baby stroller so a german sherperd coudln't shake water on him or something. The beach was even worse. He wouldn't go a foot withing reach of the water and at night when there were some huge areas of water all along the beach I had to drag him through or walk all the way around them. I've brought him into pools before and he swims with his front legs but not his back so I tried holding up back legs and then after a few minutes let go but he just manages to sink untill his head nearly goes under and I have to save him. I happened more the a couple times and then I just gave up.
    Your problem is that you made a big deal out of it when the pup was in such an impressionable state. You made a big deal out of it, you are his protector---> he should make a big deal out of it in the future.

    There is a chap that everyone seems to get up in arms named cesar millan. I wanted to find out more about him so I went to YouTube.com and looked him up. I found a clip from an upclose and personal tv show about him, and there was a segment where he is helping a Great Dane get over a glossy floor. Seems to me that you should do something similar.

    Here is what I would do:

    1. Take him on long runs when it is hot and wear the dog down (hopefully it wears down faster than you, LOL!)

    2. Train him so that he knows that you are in control. Ie make him follow behind you down stairs, out doors. Make him sit before entering and exiting, etc.

    3. Take him on a long hot run and end up somewhere where he can get in water, like a pond or stream.

    4. If he doesn't get in then place him in a shallow part, and DON'T make a big deal about it. He will start to like it.

    (note: it did something very similar to end my fear of heights. I went to a rock quarry and under peer pressure jumped off of a 65 ft. cliff into water. I ended up ok, and problem solved....you don't always have to use kid gloves to solve everything.)
    Last edited by aussielad; 04-13-2007 at 11:26 AM.

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    Senior Member xoxluvablexox's Avatar
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    Re: How to train a dog to like water?

    Haha, I'm pretty sure I'ed wear out before him, he's pretty hyper but it's worth a shot.
    Thanks

    I've always wanted to jump into water off a cliff it looks like so much fun!

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    Re: How to train a dog to like water?

    Here's my story of Keno and water (Keno's a labrador btw - 4 yrs old).

    She does NOT like to go beyond her feet touching bottom. We had to hold her and walk out to deeper water and then hold her like a baby till she got the hang of moving her feet UNDER the water. A lot of dogs panic and try to keep their feet above water which will make their heads go under.

    She does not like getting water in her ears. She will swim but only if you take her to the deeper water - she's still afraid to just go in by herself and swim. Oceans with the moving water are too scary for a dog that is afraid to start - you need still water for him to learn.

    Try setting up a small kiddy pool in the backyard with toys in the water and you get in and sit and put him in the water to play. With him touching bottom he may get over his fear. But you have to do it slowly.

    Also a lot of dogs don't like to potty in the rain. But make him go outside in the rain anyway - even if you put on a coat and go with him.

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    Senior Member xoxluvablexox's Avatar
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    Re: How to train a dog to like water?

    K awsome. I never thought of the kiddy pool idea but that makes perfect sense. Thanks for the idea

    Yeah thats what I have to do. I stand out there getting wet while he drags me around to the closest tree so he can stand under it and get less wet when he goes to the bathroom and I'm still standing on the other end of the leash unable to not get soaked. It's pretty funny considering I walk into the house wetter then the dog.

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    Re: How to train a dog to like water?

    Just curious - what size poodle? Mini, Standard, Toy???? Got pics?


    What surprised me (I belong to a labrador message board) is the number of labs that do NOT like to swim or don't know how. I figured all labs like water!

  11. #10
    Senior Member xoxluvablexox's Avatar
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    Re: How to train a dog to like water?

    He's a mini. That's exactly what I thought..Poodles are supposed to love water, I mean really that's what they're named after in German. Puddle dog, one that likes splashing in water and aparently all there ancesters were good water dogs. So i was kinda just like um my dogs not normal. haha
    I posted pics on the picture forum thing so I'll get the link to that.

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