We've had a lot of water fun this summer but I never bring a camera. Recently, I got a waterproof case and hopefully that inspires me to bring my camera out more! We went swimming and paddleboarding yesterday and Brae had a blast! Okay, I'll share a secret... He doesn't actually love paddleboarding. BUT, he loves me and he wants to be wherever I am. He's not afraid of the board by any means. He's always jumped on with no hesitation and he rides fine. But I can just tell by his body language that sitting still on a small, wobbly surface on top of the water is not his favorite thing. I cannot keep him off of it though! And I think it's because he's so attached to me.
Similar vein, Brae likes water - especially attacking streams from hoses and sprinklers. But doesn't love swimming for the sake of swimming. If we are by a body of water, he is totally fixated on fetch. Like I can't make him take a break as long as I'm within X feet of water and there is a toy. I've seen him not quit for over an hour. But it's all about the THING (fetch, tug) relative to the water. That said, I did some easy training here where I rewarded swimming out to me with a toss back to shore. He did great!
I'm seeing some subtle changes as he continues to mature. He's 2.5 yrs now. I'm noticing a stronger attachment to me (if that was even possible), and even more neutralness towards dogs. Usually on hikes we do the pattern where he disengages on his own, then comes back to me, then is released to greet if the other dog approaches. A few times on recent hikes, I've let him make decisions start to finish (ie, not marking anything, just continued walking), and he chose not to greet dogs who weren't interested in him. On a recent walk, he was greeted by a very bouncy player who matched Brae's play style well. They played for a few short seconds then Brae broke off to sniff. After he sniffed, I encouraged him to keep playing with the dog, who was giving off very appropriate and enthusiastic play signals, but Brae would look like he was about to engage but immediately break off. We lingered but he just wandered away to sniff on his own. The other dog was very sad not to be engaged!
I'm also more clearly seeing the line he draws with other dogs. We had a very concerning (but ultimately fine) situation a couple weeks ago. Brae and I had swam over to an island to play fetch. A man had an un-neutered pittie back on the opposite shore. Things were fine for a long time. Brae could care less about the other dog and was playing fetch in the water. But at some point, the man's young daughter dropped the pittie's leash and the dog came swimming over to our island. I let Brae engage, and there was some posturing between both boys but they seemed to enjoy playing a bit of chase. Very quickly though, the pittie's demeanor changed and he switched to intense posturing and growling. I immediately stepped in, put my hand on Brae's collar, body blocked and yelled at the other dog. He kept trying to come around me and get to Brae, but I kept swinging around too. Eventually, the dog gave up (and gave into his owner's yelling) and swam back across. I was very grateful that Brae listens well since I 'turned him off' so to speak. When the pittie escalated Brae was still trying to diffuse (moving away and not getting into the fight), but I could tell he was definitely ready to meet the occasion (barking, snapping back, stiff, high tail). Soro was a very confident dog - I never saw him lower his tail around another dog in the 12 years we had. Brae's the same. The only difference is Sor was an instigator and I never let Brae be that way. But I hope I never see him in a situation where the other dog doesn't back down. That said, I'll always have his back and he knows it. On a brighter note, he continues to do well with daycare and I make it a point to continue having him experience positive social situations, even if daycare is just 1-2 times a month.
All in all though, Brae's a good boy and I trust him whereas I don't trust the rest of the world. I never worry about him out on our adventures.