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(stinkle)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,

I got a Golden Retriever to be my fishing buddy! She is now 5 months old. About a month ago she went after a duck in the Yakima and ended up floating down the river about 20 yards before I could yank her out. That was her first experience with water, needless to say she was really freaked out. I have been taking her to the lake pretty regularly, she will walk around up to about her chest but she will not swim. I have carried her out and let her swim back but she is not interested in doing it on her own.

Does anyone have any suggestions on getting her to be a swimmer? I got her for the sole purpose of having a "water dog." Anyone had any similiar troubles?

:beathead:
 

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Not uncommon for many dogs (even labs) to be hesitate about getting into the "swim" of things.

What I have done to introduce the last couple lab pups to the water is to find a shallow water area (a lake is prefect) and after playing along the edge as you have done for a few days I work on getting the pup to swim. I usually put my waders on and play with pup doing such things as fetch ect in the shallows until the pup is comfortable with the game. I also wade back and forth encouraging the pup to follow me (again stay in the shallows -the pups comfort zone). After a time or two the pup should be enjoying this new game. Once I reach tht stage I throw the bumper out a little deeper but not so deep that the pup has to swim. If the pup is hesitate to get deeper I would it to encourage to follow me to it. Repeating this a few times and you should be able to throw it so that a short swim is required. The idea is to make it her choice to swim to the bumper all the while having fun.

One word of caution - once it is a swimmer she will expect you to continue those "games".

Tight lines
Curt
 

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Michael,

After getting shook up over the Yakima incident, she will need a few days to get over it. But retrievers are water dogs, and she will. Use the method Smalma describes. She should be OK with playing in the water in a few days and be swimming willingly in a month. Gradually putting the training dummy out of wading reach will eventually be overcome by their retrieving instinct. Good luck and have fun. Retrievers are the best. Of course they want to swim through the water you want to fish, retrieve the fish you hook, etc., etc.

Sg
 

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Blind hog fisherman
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If she really likes birds, get a live pigeon. Tie it on a short line that is attached to a long pole. Start with the bird in very shallow water and then ease it out deeper gradually. Don't let the PETA folks see you doing this one (some professional trainers use it a lot), the PETA folks will probably kill you.

I've also helped a Lab puppy get over it's fear of deep water using Curt's method. Be sure NOT to do either of these any place that has a current.
 

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i was able to get my sisters English Bulldog to learn to swim by using a doggy life jacket. Sounds kinda stupid but it helped her be more confident in the water and learn what all she had to do to stay above the water ( bulldogs sink like rocks normally ).
 
G

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I have a water dog and would be happy to trade..... My guy likes to swim laps around me while I am trying to fish.
 

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I too had a golden retriever pup that refused to swim, she would run around in the shallows but when she started to float she would panic and run for shore. After all means of coaxing and begging I finally just hooked her up to her leash and towed her in and drug her around me in a circle holding her head out of the water. At first she was freaking and I felt bad but after about three or fours turns she realized that she was not sinking and she could float. At that point I had a dog that loves the water and I can't keep her out. She will swim till I worry about her getting tired and make her get out. That works for about 2 minutes and then she is back in.
Goldens are the best. Although she seems to feel the need to try to retrieve any fish I am attempting to beach.
 

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Patience & a little tincture of time will work wonders.

When I was a teenager (decades ago) I lived by the ocean and really wanted my puppy dog to learn swim with me. I threw her in the water once, just messing around, and it took her years to forgive me for that.

But, long before she ever swam with me again I came to learn that she enjoyed swimming just fine. One morning, a few months after I had tossed her in the water, I was walking along the beach and noticed a couple of swimmers and their dog swimming together towards the shore. I remember thinking that that was pretty cool, and wondering where my dog was.

When they came ashore I could see that they were two elderly ladies. Their dog was running circles around them, then suddenly hightailed it straight to me.

It was my dog! Well. We greeted each other while the ladies walked on up to us.

"Is that your dog?"

"Yeah, her name's Sasha."

"Oh, we call her..." I forgot what they had named her, something silly like Buttercup or Peaches. "Did you know she goes swimming with us every morning?"

I pause, look down at my dog, who's looking up at me. She kinda winks at me then and gives me a real good wet sandy shake.

I laughed and shook my head.

"Well, I do now. Nice to meet you."

That was long ago, when you could let your dog run free in the morning on the beaches of Santa Barbara without a worry.

At any rate, there's no point to this. Just rambling. Sasha was an awesome good dog and smarter than me. She died in her sleep up in the mountains where she spent much of her puppy hood, in the middle of a cold winter night, in my sleeping bag with me. She was pushing 17 then, and ready to go after having seen me safely through most of my teens and 20's, a marriage, the birth of my daughter that she adopted, and a divorce. It was a 3 dog night, with 1 good dog.

You have plenty of time and a good dog. Treat them both well.

Smalma gives great advice here.

Best.
 

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Not uncommon for many dogs (even labs) to be hesitate about getting into the "swim" of things.

What I have done to introduce the last couple lab pups to the water is to find a shallow water area (a lake is prefect) and after playing along the edge as you have done for a few days I work on getting the pup to swim. I usually put my waders on and play with pup doing such things as fetch ect in the shallows until the pup is comfortable with the game. I also wade back and forth encouraging the pup to follow me (again stay in the shallows -the pups comfort zone). After a time or two the pup should be enjoying this new game. Once I reach tht stage I throw the bumper out a little deeper but not so deep that the pup has to swim. If the pup is hesitate to get deeper I would it to encourage to follow me to it. Repeating this a few times and you should be able to throw it so that a short swim is required. The idea is to make it her choice to swim to the bumper all the while having fun.

One word of caution - once it is a swimmer she will expect you to continue those "games".

Tight lines
Curt
I had the same issue with my lab when she was a pup. After a few shallow water games of fetch and when SHE WAS READY, she just started going ouy further and deeper on her own. As Curt mentions be careful what you wish for, now I can't keep her out of the water!
 

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You didn't metion whether you have been training her to either hunt, field trials or just to be your best friend...which is a Goldens best attribute...when they smile at you, your worst day just got a lot better! At 5 months old, if you haven't started some kind of training, do not wait any longer! A really great book, which is really a 3 book version: Rapid Retriever Training Method....Family dog, Water dog and Hunting dog. I started my golden on field trials right when I got him at 8 weeks....basically little treats in the house and started swimming with him at 11 weeks. I knew nothing about training a dog, followed the hunting version religiously and he was doing blind water retrieves at 6 months. I only trained him like that so he had a 'purpose', but he thought it was a game and loved it. The good thing is your dog is 'birdy' and patience and building her trust in you around the water is the key.
 

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I had the same issues with my pups, a lab and a retriever. I used to take them out to Marymoor and wonder why they wouldn't jump into the river/slough there. It's too deep. I took them to Magnusson where there's lots of other dogs having fun and also the slope into the lake is gradual so they get their confidence up bombing about in the water at their comfort zone. Take a throw but be ready to get wet if they don't go for it, I started tossing out further and further and in no time I the reverse problem of trying to keep them out of the water. It just takes some time. They're a lot like kids, you just have to have a lot patience while they figure it all out. I'm glad others have warned of the just throw 'em approach, that's bs and simply freaks them out. To my shame I was stupid enough to do this with my retriever, still feel like an ass for doing it, scared the crap out of him and ruined the day, he did swim back tho' just took me 2 weeks to get him close to water again....

Dave
 

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(stinkle)
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You didn't metion whether you have been training her to either hunt, field trials or just to be your best friend...
I have really considered training her for ducks, but my main goal is just to her in the mountains when I go fishing! I doubt I will train her for hunting. I just spend so much time in/on the water that I want her to be able to enjoy it with me.
 

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good luck on yurr pup. i too have a 7 mo. lab. you have to work with them at least 3 days a week. she should snap out of it. If not, put some waders on or hip boots and walk out there and play with her teasin her with the dummy.

Never had a problem with my first 2 labs and my new lab loves the water. she tests the water as well..meaning..when i was fly fishin the sky sat, yesturday, she started swimming out in the current and ended up down river about 70 yds. i told her no, but it seem she wanted to test the current or was just plain crazy. she did it again, only not so far out after I told her no. There were 2 dogs across river with some guys running chain saws to losen up a towned tree so maybe that caused her to jump in.

Taking days off helped cause my pup to jump off the dock at clark lake. i mean she jumped all day long. sometimes it hits them overnight and with a few days off.
 

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My yellow lab was reluctant to get more than chest deep in water up until she was about 9 months old. Even when I waded in and called her to me, she wouldn't swim out. Then she met my brother's golden retreiver (about 2 years old at the time and already a seasoned duck dog). When Sophie saw Duke bound into a pond after a bumper, she was right behind. 10 minutes later, she was leaping off docks after Duke. Can't keep her out of the water now.

Same thing happened a few years ago when a friend got a new Black lab. The black would NOT get into the water -- until he met my yellow, Parka. When he saw Parka take off after a stick in the river, he was right behind her. So I guess my advice is, if your golden continues to be shy around water, introduce her to another water dog. It seems even the best trained dogs will sometimes respond to other dogs when they won't respond to their humans.
 

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(stinkle)
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Guys,

I figured out tonight why she doesn't swim in lakes. She likes rivers toooooo much! Fished the rattlesnake tonight up in the Nile. I took her with me and was blown away how much she loved to tramp around on the water with me. She crossed the river several times, including swimming through holes that were to deep to walk! She had the time of her life ( and I had a great time catching fish)!
 

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AKA Beadhead
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My dog is half chesapeake and he didn't really swim until he was 1 year old. Then I couldn't keep him out of the water when I took him fishing. I used to worry he might scare the fish away, then I noticed my luck improved when he was around...sometimes he'd swim right through a hole and I'd still catch fish, so now I don't worry.

Lately he has been just standing by and watching me cast in anticipation. Especially if the fishing is good. Last week I had a trout swim between his legs and somehow stayed on the line.

Here's to fishing with man's best friend!
 
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