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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First a little background. I've taken our dog swimming probably 5 or 6 times. Each time he has seemed to do better and better. I NEVER forced him into the water and let him do it on his terms. I found a place where the gradient had a gradual slope and wore waders so that I could be near him through the process. I used lots of encouragement and very short tosses with a bumper. He nailed it on the first trip and was obviously excited. He seems enthusiastic about the water. I don't think any swim has exceeded 20 yds each way in fact each has probably been considerably less. Each time he seemed to swim level using all 4 feet. I kept swim sessions short.

Yesterday he had a great session but on the last one he started to slap the water with his front feet. I didn't make much of it thinking he was just getting tired so I quit. Today I took him back for another swim and he was eager to get started. I started by wading out and threw the bumper a few feet towards that bank so that the bumper was between me and him while he sat on the bank. He went for it, retrieved it, and headed for shore. He only had to swim a few feet while the rest of the trip was shallow enough for him to wade. Unfortunately he slapped the water again and that was it. He wouldn't go in deeper than he could wade. I tried holdimg him and letting swim a short distance to where he could wade to shore but he seemed jumpy so i stopped after 2 attemps. I never showed any frustration and quite, we just played in the shallow water, and practiced some basic obedience that he knows on the shore in an attempt to finish positive.

I'm baffled because he had no issues before. I was thinking 2 days in a row might build on yesterday's success. At least I thought it was. But it appears we've actually regressed. He still likes being in the water but just doesn't like leaving the bottom all of a sudden. He would stay in the water up to his shoulders staring and barking at the bumper just out of his reach so I know he wants it.
 

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This may be strange but when my labs nuts dropped for a week or so he would 't go very far in either. Did this happen recently? How cold was the water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
This may be strange but when my labs nuts dropped for a week or so he would 't go very far in either. Did this happen recently? How cold was the water?
Haha! Perhaps I should have thought of that. Who knows. Water was probably 60 maybe higher and air temp around 70-75. Conditions were such that I felt my waders were probably unnecessary and I would have been comfortable. This was today.
 

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It should be ok. But take the testicle issue into consideration. As far as him swimming on top of the water. He could just be experimenting. That'll fix itself with practice
 

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How old is the dog? What you are really describing is puppy swimming or inexperienced swimming. Exactly how much water experience does this dog have?

FWIW, I am very careful about intro to water for any dog that I own. Anyway, patience and practice swimming with a bumper in the mouth. The bumper tends to make them learn to level out when swimming. No long deep water retrieves. I have actually seen a dog that I thought I would have to rescue because of puppy swimming in deep water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
How old is the dog? What you are really describing is puppy swimming or inexperienced swimming. Exactly how much water experience does this dog have?

FWIW, I am very careful about intro to water for any dog that I own. Anyway, patience and practice swimming with a bumper in the mouth. The bumper tends to make them learn to level out when swimming. No long deep water retrieves. I have actually seen a dog that I thought I would have to rescue because of puppy swimming in deep water.
Dog is 5 months old. My original post answers the questions you are asking but the dog has probably 5 or 6 swimming experiences. All in very controlled situations with me in the water right by his side. No long retrieves or long swims. Short sessions start to finish. Absolutely NO pressure at any time from me while in the water. Like I said before we went at his speed. No issues with swimming form or desire until today.
 

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Scott, it sounds like you are doing the right thing. My advice is good. I personally feel I need to be careful with the goldens that I own because there are enough goldens out there with water issues that I try to avoid. Again, patience, practice, and play.

I would like to throw in that I never ask my dog to go into cover or water that I wouldn't go into myself. You are going into the water which is the right thing.
 

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hhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?????
well, a 5 month old Chessie with minimal swimming time doing the front paw splash......
could be very, very normal until they get swimming down, but I ask....

is he snapping at and trying to bite the bubbles of water he splashes up with his front feet?


.
 

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My male lab did the same thing when he was that age. He'll grow out of it, and soon you won't be able to keep him out of the water!!!

Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
hhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?????
well, a 5 month old Chessie with minimal swimming time doing the front paw splash......
could be very, very normal until they get swimming down, but I ask....

is he snapping at and trying to bite the bubbles of water he splashes up with his front feet?


.
Ken I didn't notice him biting at the bubbles. In fact he had a bumper in his mouth on the return and the front paddling seemed more frequent on the return. The more I think about it the more I think he might have just been tired and not working his hind legs as much as he did the day before. My wife and I were talking about it and his physical activity this weekend was greater than it had been prior to the previous 4 or 5 swimming days which were more successful. I'm just going to give he water work a 4-5 day rest and try again next week. I'll try a different water venue, make sure I'm in the water with him, and start back at the basics with really short swims. We'll keep it really positive and throw a party for him if so much as sticks a toe in the water! :D I'm confident that if I'm patient and supportive we'll plow through this speed bump just like we have any other during obedience training. I don't want to make more of it than it is.

Thanks everyone for the responses!
 

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Yea ifn it was gooser,, I would wait till your own nuts feels comfortable in that water,, then I would put on my thong,, and wade out their with him, and swim along..

Every pup I have had would start of slappin the water with their front feet, till they learn.....

Slow down... Just let him splash around in lunge water fer awhile..

Gooser

Gooser
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Resurrecting an old thread here but my guy took right to the water today and had a blast. Who knows what it was a few weeks ago...the location, me, his nuts...I have no idea but it was fun to go play in the water again!
 

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Nice work!
 

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A friend of mine had a female lab (terrific breeding) that did the puppy splash so bad she would go vertical and begin to sink. This went on for a long time. It was warm water, man made pond with gradual entry. Obviously not an issue involving testicles. The guy finally put a floatation device under here pelvic region to keep her butt up in the water. I don't know whether it was that, or just maturity. I think it's a credit to the dog that she never got spooked by her "life jacket". Went on to become a great dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A friend of mine had a female lab (terrific breeding) that did the puppy splash so bad she would go vertical and begin to sink. This went on for a long time. It was warm water, man made pond with gradual entry. Obviously not an issue involving testicles. The guy finally put a floatation device under here pelvic region to keep her butt up in the water. I don't know whether it was that, or just maturity. I think it's a credit to the dog that she never got spooked by her "life jacket". Went on to become a great dog.
Impressive drive for sure. Great story.

I think as a novice I was being so cautious that I probably was unknowingly projecting that to the dog and sucking the enjoyment out of it. In the end, when I decided that we were just going to have fun with no expectation beyond just playing, he joined in. My wife and I were both in the water with him and threw a big "party" for him start to finish.
 

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This is normal. Nothing to be concerned about. I would estimate 30% of retrievers go through a phase of this. Some take longer than others to LEARN HOW TO SWIM CORRECTLY. One dog I owned did this for 2-3 months before figuring out swimming is easier if level. Use common sense and keep retrieves short until they figure it out. Could happen next week or next month. Also, Ken was right on with tip about getting one or two older dogs who know how to swim to play in shallow water with your dog.
That can speed things up.
 
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