Watershy Shorthair Help

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Topsnteal
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Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by Topsnteal » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:00 am

Long time lurker and first time poster here, I was hoping to get some opinions from some more experienced handlers as this is my first bird dog.

My 9 month old GSP does not like to swim. That said he’s not afraid of the water, he generally gets his feet wet, runs around for a bit and will eventually work his way out to about chest deep. I have gotten him to swim after Cheetos in the past, and he will get in the water after birds and bumpers but reluctantly and will not swim for a retrieve. I believe I screwed him up trying to do water intro too young, however I never forced him in just walked across shallow bodies where he had to follow me. Recently I got him in a duck blind for the first time where he had to get off a boat into the water and once he was in he was just fine and had a good time retrieving decoys as we didn’t shoot any ducks. As it gets warmer do you guys have any suggestions for coaxing him into the water? I do mostly upland hunting but would sure like to make a duck dog out of him as well.

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Sharon
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by Sharon » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:51 pm

Hate to be so simple, but I think you've done a great job already. More time will = more confidence. Welcome to the forum.:)
" We are more than our gender, skin color, class, sexuality or age; we are unlimited potential, and can not be defined by one label." quote

polmaise
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by polmaise » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:17 pm

The obvious reply would be age and time of year and weather and temperature etc .
and all would be correct ,collectively or individually .
But it is January where I am , and it is the same month where you are ? You could be in Mexico it would not matter one jot to me or any individual pup .
Past history of your 9 month old is only history of a known event in time (imo) .
See a stick , cut it !
These two bundles of Joy are living a wondrous life in State side working water like it was land .
Probably how things are introduced for the first time are best remembered . I don't know , perhaps others do .
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpdsdOm ... e=youtu.be

fishvik
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by fishvik » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:49 pm

Polmaise, Is it possible to keep a Lab out of water? :D

polmaise
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by polmaise » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:12 pm

fishvik wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:49 pm
Polmaise, Is it possible to keep a Lab out of water? :D
I have been told and heard the word 'Heel' is universally understood by all lab puppies next to water on a warm day . Having done training seminars in numerous countries however, I have yet to see them do it in Japan . :lol:

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Urban_Redneck
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by Urban_Redneck » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:17 am

I'm with Sharon, pup has shown that he can swim. When things get warmer, you could introduce him to water games with another friendly dog or see if he will follow you in a kayak.

Makintrax73
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by Makintrax73 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:12 am

I took my setter to a NAVHDA training day, and the guys there helped with water retrieves. The best advice I ever got about dog training - know when to keep my stupid mouth shut and let the dog figure it out. If the dog wants a bird in its mouth put it in shallow water and let the dog figure it out on its own - no talking, no commands, just stand there. Work progressively out from shore into deeper water as the dog builds confidence. Sounds too simple but it worked for my dog, and the trick was every time I opened my stupid mouth the dog came back to me for safety. So I had to shut up and let him figure it out on his own.

reba
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by reba » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:08 pm

I had a male GSP that was a great bird dog, but he didn't swim or retrieve. One day he pointed up a rooster right on the edge of a river. The rooster flushed and took out straight across the river. I shot it and it fold smack down in the middle of the river. Well that no swimming no retrieving GSP jumped in swam to the rooster and retrieved it straight back to me. There must be a joke here some place, but go figure :roll:

marysburg
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by marysburg » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:53 pm

Years ago, we had a reluctant pup who was lured into thinking swimming was fun by my son who put on a wet suit and swam with the pup every day until she thought it was not a big deal. That pup ended up being a NAVHDA Utility Prize 1 twice (204, and 201 points). It's too cold to try that now, but when the water warms up it might help.

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smilinicon
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by smilinicon » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:44 am

My first vizsla was like that. One day, I took her to a pothole and she started swimming after dragonflies and that was that. I remember when I was young and hunting with a friend's pup. The dog found a pheasant that flushed across a wide ditch. I held fire, but another shot it and it landed in the water. Brittany pup was young and it was like "what are we going to do now?" At that moment, pup jumps in, grab's pheasant and swims to the other shore, set's it down and shakes off the water. "No! Pokey come!" and he jumps in and starts swimming back to us, without the pheasant... "No! Go get the bird!".. he does a turn around, pick's up the bird and swims back.

I have a friend that cannot understand why I won't birdhunt without a dog. Bird dog's make legend's you tell all your life.

Good luck with your dog!

Cary

averageguy
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by averageguy » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:16 am

Seasons are winding down and you have all Spring and Summer to give your pup positive experiences with water so I do not see any pressing timetable on your concern at the moment. Correct handling can easily/likely get your pup ready for waterfowl duties next fall.

As relayed in several posts, the standard thing that will get just about any puppy in water is birds, especially a live moving bird. Chasing a wing clipped duck around a relatively open water pond does wonders for a lot of dogs confidence in water. With their prey drive engaged they have no thoughts other their hot pursuit. For puppies younger than yours is now, I will use a wing clipped pigeon, ducks later. Some need it, some don't.

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Featherfinder
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by Featherfinder » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:03 am

The only thing I would add to what has been offered is that - as Makintrax73 said - keeping your mouth shut is pivotal (and it's not restricted to water intro).
The best analogy I can give would be that - even though you mean well - saying something like, "It's OK. Good boy! Atta boy! Alright! Fetch! Get it!", is comparable to you standing on the diving board or rock ledge high over water. Your buddies are urging you to go for it, then...someone simply puts a hand on your shoulder!!! If the verbals didn't have you on edge, the hand on the shoulder sure did. It is unlikely you are diving in.
When you yack at pup, you often elevate the stress levels similar to my example even though you meant well and sounded cheerful.
Let pup figure it out on his terms and time. Done properly, it WILL happen. By keeping quiet, it will happen sooner.
As an option, toss a wet pigeon back into the water near shore (wet it so that it cannot fly off on pup). At first only chest deep for pup. The bird will likely flap around luring your pup to make a decision. Do NOT speak!
If pup goes only part way and bails, you have already made strides. Now.....call pup or get a lead on him and heel him away. Don't be surprised if he tries to go back to the pigeon. Do NOT let this happen!!! Just calmly put pup away, reclaim your pigeon and save the bird for tomorrow or better yet 2 days later.
Repeat, repeat, and then be ready to take a picture of your pup retrieving in water to share here!
I'm also recommending you do this when the weather warms up, ideally after a good run (without a drink). BEFORE he has a drink, toss that bird (even if you have to restrict pup up to the water with a lead before he gets to water's edge).
Can't wait to see the pics!

Topsnteal
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by Topsnteal » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:10 am

Thank you all for the replies, it’s gone a long way instilling confidence in me. Come late spring we’ll get hard after it, but y’all are right in the meantime we’ll continue to chase wild birds for a couple weeks then focus on steadiness as soon as the season ends. I’ll be sure to update later on. Thanks

JONOV
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Re: Watershy Shorthair Help

Post by JONOV » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:47 am

Buy a living duck and take the flight feathers off a wing, and let him chase it around. If you even need to, he's a young dog and it's January. Might be by the time spring comes around it's a total non-issue.

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