We got our puppy when she was 8 weeks old, right at the beginning of January. So by the time the ice melted off the lake and things warmed up, our pup was already almost 6 months old. Until the ice melted off the lake, she thought it was meant for walking on!
Once it warmed up a bit, we started taking trips to the lakeshore. Luckily, we live on a small lake, so it was easy for us. The first couple of times my pup would kinda put her toes in the water, splash around a bit, and not be too interested. I tried to just be fun & upbeat but not push it. Then I would toss a stick out a foot or so… because I knew she would go get it! Sure enough, she’d trot out and get it, though was not pleased at getting her belly wet. We did this for several more trips.
Mind you – the water was VERY COLD! But, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is supposed to be a water dog, so we kept at it.
Now that it is even warmer, I’ve been tossing the sticks further and further, but not so far that she would have to swim. Just having a good time! Anytime she would go out to get something I cheered her on, going out & coming in. Then one day I brought her retrieving toy with….
I tossed it a few feet; she splashed in no trouble…. I tossed it a few feet more next time. She got her whole body submerged this time! She didn’t seem to mind.
Next toss though… I threw WAY TOO FAR! It was about 10 yards out. OH NO! I figured we had lost that toy for sure, but guess what? After a lot of cheering and encouraging, my pup swam on out and GOT IT! WAY TO GO! See the video below of Emme’s first real swim!
Now she has no fear, and I am throwing further and further out. Right now she is still on a long line, just in case… but she seems quite at home in the water and I hope we can get in some dock diving!
Do your dogs swim? How did you teach them?