Introducing older pup to water

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Introducing older pup to water

Post by DaxGR0422 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:33 pm

My golden retriever male just turned 6 months old. He was born 8/18/17 and we picked him up in October. We're from MN so he was too young to get in the water before temps really started dropping. I'm wondering what the best way will be to introduce him to water. I'll hopefully start getting him in the water by May, which will put him at 9 months old.

Anyone have experience introducing older pups to water. Should I follow any different steps than with a younger puppy? Right now he's doing awesome with obedience, has good drive to retrieve, starting force fetch soon which will lead to more advanced work in the very near future.

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Re: Introducing older pup to water

Post by Mike da Carpenter » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:44 pm

To me, that’s NOT an “older pup”. If he has Great drive at retrieving, toss the bumper closer and closer to the water till it is in ankle deep. If he doesn’t go in, walk in yourself, and splash around and have fun walking back and forth in the ankle deep water till he commits. If it’s not his thing, don’t push it, try it again the next day. He’s a retriever, he will be IN more often than not soon after introduction.

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Re: Introducing older pup to water

Post by Trekmoor » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:57 am

I agree with the above. There is a good chance that your pup will swim with very little input from you ....especially if it loves retrieving.

My own preference when taking pups to water for the first time is to take the pup to big rain water puddles in fields. If possible I do this with other dogs present that have no fear of water. I toss bumpers a few feet out into the puddles and send the other dogs to retrieve them keeping everything very playful. Then I let the pup run-in for one. Since the puddle is only inches deep there is a very good chance that the pup will fetch the bumper with little or no hesitation. I then toss the bumper further out and let the pup gallop out through the shallow water to fetch it. I like pups to really gallop into shallow water before I try them in anything a bit deeper.

If no big puddles are around I head for small streams instead .....some pups are a bit wary of big expanses of water such as wide rivers, lakes and the sea. I simply cross and recross the little streams and let /encourage the pup to follow me. Again, if it is possible , I do this in the presence of other water loving dogs. Very often doing this ends up with the pup playing in the shallow stream with the other dogs.
I then toss a bumper into or across the stream .....depending upon how fast flowing it is and let the pup run -in for it.

It is variable how long it takes for me to get a pup to swim but 2 times out of three it will happen in just two or three visits to suitable water. Some pups swim the very first time they get near the stuff ! My present lab pup, now 14 months old was one of those. I took her for a walk about 30 yards away from a small river along with my other dogs and before I knew what was happening she'd followed the other dogs into the river and was happily swimming around.

Don't worry too much about water , most dogs, especially retrievers , love it.

Bill T.
The older I get, the better I was !

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Re: Introducing older pup to water

Post by JONOV » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:23 am

I've never met a Golden that really didn't want to be with the family...

My parents got a used Golden Retriever that we were told was afraid of water (6 years old when we got him.) THis was a dog that was an otherwise extremely bold male, with quite the prey drive. Fur sharp, too...

We likewise got him in December in the middle of a Chicago winter. And, he didn't even want to walk across a bridge the first time I walked him.

We went on a family vacation for Memorial Day. The family went swimming. The dog got over his fear of swimming really quick. He didn't want to be left on the beach!

That same vacation he also started swimming 2-300+ yards into Green Bay.

Biggest regret is that I wasn't able to hunt with him or train him for it when we had him.

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Re: Introducing older pup to water

Post by JJWISE » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:11 pm

If he has a high enough drive to retrieve, that alone will get him in the water. This summer I tried many times getting our pup into small creeks, ponds, and even a kiddie pool I put in the back yard for him. He was none too thrilled. But when it was time to hunt, he’d RUN into the water for a bird (except one incredibly cold day when he refused after getting about 10 yards from shore, he’s a boykin and doesn’t have the coat for that). After the first few real retrieves on ducks, he’ll dive right in when we’re training with dummies too.

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