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Afraid of Water

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Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Posts: 1

PostPosted: 10/22/02, 9:14 pm    Post subject: Afraid of Water Reply with quote

Hi all..

I've had my wonderful GWP for a few months now, and she's great! She loves the kids and will play fetch until WE get tired... she never does. One thing that concerns me though is the fact that she will not fetch a ball, a treat, or anything from our pool. She will not get near the swimming pool. She is only 5 months old and still learning.

As I plan on taking her duck hunting, should I be concerned about this, or will she eventually come around? Any ideas on how to sway her fear of the water?


- y2k
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Joined: 23 Oct 2002
Posts: 113
Location: Centennial, CO

PostPosted: 10/23/02, 1:50 pm    Post subject: Afraid of Water Reply with quote


Since your puppy is still young, I would not be too worried. Just don't try to push too hard or you could scare him/her.

My GWP is 8 yrs old & he started going in the water at 1 yr old. I did it in the summer when he was hot & he just jumped in the lake after the dead bird.

Good Luck. Rolling Eyes
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Deb Finstad

Joined: 21 Oct 2002
Posts: 71
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: 10/23/02, 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it possible to go to a pond or lake instead of your pool? Your pup would probably do better in a natural setting with a gradual incline and all those wonderful smells to entice her. Bring along your waders so you can get in the water too and encourage her to join you. Hopefully it isn't too cold where you are yet so you can do this now - if it is pretty cold already then wait until it gets warmer.

If you have a friend with a dog that loves the water have them come out with you. Seeing another dog that likes the water can build confidence (or make your girl jealous) and get her started swimming also.

Keep this upbeat and positive, praise progress - ignore any set-backs. Also be very confident, try not to give her any reason to believe the water is something to be feared... for example, when I started agility with our one wire she was a bit fearful of the teeter-totter. At first I hovered over her and tried to gently persuade her over it. She immediately got more fearful of the device. After that I stood back, gave the command "Teeter!" and she went right over. They cue off of us a lot.

Good luck with your pup. Here's hoping she makes you proud come her first duck hunting season.
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Joined: 04 Nov 2002
Posts: 2

PostPosted: 11/04/02, 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not an expert at this by a long shot, but the pool may not be the best place to try. You might try a beach with the puppy and the children playing in the water and gradually getting further out (depending on the respective ages and sizes of the children/puppy). This is how my first GWP got accustom to water and he was swimming by the time I acquired him at 4 mos.

Several of the people I know that train retrievers do the same thing by throwing dummies or birds into a pond and gradually throwing the object further out. However, I agree with the other message, keep it fun and don't force the puppy. I am also assuming that you are starting at the shallow end of the pool. However, I think a pond or a lake (something without a current, waves or tide!), might be a better place to start. You didn't say what type of pool you have, if it is chlorinated, maybe the puppy doesn't like the smell of the chlorine. I don't know, I don't have a pool!
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Joined: 27 Dec 2002
Posts: 15
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: 12/30/02, 6:26 pm    Post subject: afraid of water Reply with quote

My now 2 yr old male GWP was afraid of water when he was a pup. I decided not to worry about it, though I did keep exposing him to an inviting pond, throwing in his beloved tennis balls, etc, but never pressuring him to go in. One day, when he was about 7 months old, my friend's 10 year old daughter asked why he wouldn't go swimming. I told her it was because he needed a teacher. She walked into the water calling him, swam away, and he followed her right in. Now I can't get him out of the water--swimming pools included. He will take a running leap off a dock and land 15-20 feet out chasing a bumper or ball. He'll jump off a diving board. He'll break skim ice in a stream to lie down. He'll immerse his head up past his eyes in the horses' watering trough, blowing bubbles through his nose. He'll get into the bathtub with my kids. Be careful what you wish for! I will say, though, that most "normal" dogs (mine isn't) really don't like swimming pools--even those dogs who love swimming in ponds. This is my first GWP (I've always owned GSPs)--I'm learning that they seem to be a tad softer/spookier than GSPs, but if you give them time to figure things out without forcing them, they are remarkably smart critters. Good luck! And I'll bet your pup turns into a swimming fool with time and patience. Cheers, Andie
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Joined: 16 Nov 2002
Posts: 5
Location: Talkeetna, Alaska

PostPosted: 03/07/03, 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My GWP has never been overly fond of water - which I understand is not normal for the breed. She does the best when really excited about a real bird retrieve. She won't do it for a dummy. I think she just needs more exposureto the water, and less time to think about whether she wants to go in the water or not!
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Joined: 11 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: 04/12/06, 8:49 pm    Post subject: AFRAID OF WATER Reply with quote

Make the experience POSITIVE, no making dog fetch, no making come when called, no loud noise, just show the dog your confidence of getting into the water. This may take several times. Just like with a child, let the dog know you're there for protection, but don't give into their fear. Even if you have to carry the dog, holding close to your chest, talking calmly and softly, do that. The dog will feed off of you. Don't push this, you could make the dog hate water forever. Have fun and STAY CALM!!!
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Joined: 13 Nov 2005
Posts: 19
Location: England

PostPosted: 06/12/06, 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought the same about my dog. Even though he is now 1yr and 1 month old, he was real shy of any water. So, A few days ago, I went (during a heat wave) to a very small pond not far from the village, BUT, I really let him run first (enclosed field). I took of my shoes and sock and just waded into the pond.........and guess what, he followed me in. I splashed a little bit so as not to frighten him and that was that !
Yesterday, another hot day, he lay down in a small stream with real cold water, so he obviously got the message that water can cool you down Laughing
Sometime this week I might go swimming in the river, no prizes for guessing who is coming with me Laughing Laughing Laughing
A hard life isn't easy !
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