The warm weather is coming, time to get your puppy out and introduce her to water. With proper introduction, most dogs will love the water, especially the retrievers and longer coated dogs. There are all sorts of ways to introduce your dog to water, all depending on what type of waterbody you have at hand. The key is to check any aprehension you may have; make crossing or swimming the water seem as a routine thing. I usually try to introduce puppies to water between three and five months, provided the weather is warm enough. Warm weather is important, because you want your dog to have a good experience. I usually just put on the hip boots and wade out into the water and call the dog along. They’ll hesitate at the shoreline, pawing the water, but usually following before too long.
If reluctant, I pick them up, being careful not to give the impression I’m chasing or threatening (just routinely picking them up, as if I were putting them back in the crate as usual). Then, I carry them out and set them in the water where it’s deep enough to get their belly wet. For a timid dog, usually this is enough, just getting wet. If not, next time carry them a bit deeper and then deeper still.
Another way is to use a favorite toy, stick, or retrieving bumper and toss it close enough that they really want it, but just far enough to make them swim. A lot of times, I’ll cross the water and call them and get them to swim across to me.Â Yet another way is to get out when it is really hot and run the dog for a ways until they are hot and they realize just how good it feels to get all the way in and cool off.
Anyway you do it, make it fun.
I love to swim with the dogs, you just have to watch out for their nails. When they swim, they splay out their toes and their nails are in max scratch mode and will leave nice tracks down your chest, legs or back. As they come close, just gently divert them to the side.