Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Wirehaired Retriever - swimming issues

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default Wirehaired Retriever - swimming issues

    I can't say Labradoodle without cringing so I'm calling Jack a Wirehaired Retriever. Why not? He has wirehair and he retrieves and if he continues to work well, Labradoodle does not describe him . I don't really want to promote F1s for people to backyard breed on purpose. But over the last few weeks Jack has shown great progress, retrieving hand thrown doubles, wagon wheel, progressive sight blinds, a drill I do pushing dogs past the last blind, but we are still having trouble in the water. He has no problem until he starts to float and we've done everything I ever did with puppies. Teased him with a bumper, teased him with another dog, got out in hip waders and guided him in but he panics as soon as his back legs come off the bottom. I've stood silent for up to 4 minutes watching him try to find a way get a bumper just 6 inches out of reach in deeper water. Someone suggested his ewe neck, his nose can reach way over his back when bent straight back, throws off his balance. Im guessing this can be overcome with practice and confidence. I've waited a few weeks for warmer water and next we'll try a float vest. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Australia, south/east corner.
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Hello Linda, If the dog is relatively young then in my experience it is not at all unusual for him to take a while to swim. Once he gets his confidence up, perhaps with you playing with him in the water or a dog thats splashing about or retrieving, he'll be right as rain.

    He might start swimming in an almost vertical position with the front paws splashing about above the water and then something falls into place and off he'll go swimming normally.

    Depending on the amount of exposure he gets to water he might not swim properly until 12 months or so, it varies from dog to dog.

    As your weather warms up it will help the chances....good luck with Jack !

  3. #3
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default

    He's about 20 mos or so. He was about 8-9 - ish mos old last Sept when he was rescued and our water is only about 45 degrees so getting them amped up to not care,though cold weather and cold water didn't bother him. He stood elbow deep for a long time. He'd just wait until Lucy came back with the bumper and take if from her, I could go as far as guiding him in a circle around me but then the water was nearly over my hip waders. (brrrr) We have so little exposure to liquid I need to get him in for a couple months this summer. We are going to try again later in the day when it warms and with a taller person in hip waders. He'd make an awesome dockdog. All my other dogs figured it out just as you say so this is new. Maybe someone threw him in once ? I used to teach toddlers to swim with little bladders that we'd slowly let the air out of as they got the nack of it, so it feels a little like that.
    Thanks

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Australia, south/east corner.
    Posts
    69

    Default

    20 months and not swimming, seems Jack is a slow learner. When I work it out though he probably has had limited exposure and opportunity to get some confidence and familiarity with water.... given the extremes of weather you experience.

    Compared to my GWP who will swim year round if he feels like it, our dams near the house provide the opportunity, Jack probably has only a small fraction of that. (Winter now, day temps rarely down to 10C, so not real cold for a GWP.)

    Our daughter has a labradoodle dog, it seems a bit 'genteel' compared to the GWP. To be honest I don't know if it swims.

    The only thing I can think of is a situation where Jack is running with your other dogs and you cross a stream thats just deep enough for him to be able to walk/run across as a group, he won't like being left behind, then get him used to that and increase the depth a little when you think he's ready until he has to swim a couple of metres.

    Increasing the depth, distance as he gets used to the idea might be worthy of a try.

    Is he food motivated.....perhaps food on the far bank could motivate him as another strategy.

    No other ideas other than giving him plenty of opportunity with the other dogs that can swim.

  5. #5
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    1,154

    Default

    Time and patience. I've never met a dog that could not swim. Some like it more than others, but they can all swim. Just because he is 20 months old means nothing, if he has had no prior exposure. He'll get it. Just keep at it, and help him find his confidence.

  6. #6
    Member PG13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    342

    Default

    I realize this is a gun dog thread but I have to hijack Hoyt's post. I knew a miniature dachschund that couldn't swim. She wanted to but after her first few kicks she would start to tip and end up on her side and then belly up scrambling to get back out. That was a sad day for the canines.
    Go Big Red!

  7. #7
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

  8. #8

    Default

    Linda..... Contact me if you have no success. I have several methods that have worked in the past. Tailwind... That's a good photo. That dog seems to be gliding effortlessly.

  9. #9
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Will do Baron

  10. #10
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default

    http://youtu.be/zTDrzTC1R0g This is how far we got today. He loves the water , would have stood in it all day.

  11. #11
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    1,154

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda View Post
    http://youtu.be/zTDrzTC1R0g This is how far we got today. He loves the water , would have stood in it all day.
    Lookin good!

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    975

    Default

    I must agree with our friend from Oz. My old dog Buddy is often referred to by friends as "the swimming instructor." Typically we would visit a local pond on a hot day and meet with a frustrated owner and their non-swimming dog. Buddy and his student would sit on one side of the pond while I walked around to the other side. On my command Buddy would leap into the water and swim toward me. With the typical whistle, hand and voice commands one would teach a lab, I would have Buddy swimming about, back and forth, until Ms or Mr reluctant would dive in and follow. Except Buddy is one of my Brittanys!Pick a very warm day and warm water. Best of luck.Jim

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Australia, south/east corner.
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda View Post
    http://youtu.be/zTDrzTC1R0g This is how far we got today. He loves the water , would have stood in it all day.
    Looks like mission accomplished Linda, congratulations.

  14. #14
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Not accomolished yet. I had Jack in a small pond yesterday, really small, about 30 yards by 8 yards thinking that if I could get him into the deep part he'd continue on to the other side with the bank being so close. I let Lucy go in to play keep away and she figured out that if she stayed in the deep water he could not get the bumper. Well the competition was fierce and eventually he was swimming after her. It worked, he's still swimming bottom heavy and at one point looked a little panicked paddling upright. Next time I'm taking a 50 ft long line and making him come back IN THE WATER. He also learned how to cheat water on the return. We can fix that .

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Australia, south/east corner.
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Just a matter of time now L, the rear end will click to horizontal in due course.

  16. #16
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default Now we swimming !

    Thanks for all the encouragement that Jack would work out his balance and swimming. He went out about 6-8 times while I threw from the bank, playing with Lucy, or by himself while I made Lucy honor. Charlie was fishing on the other side of the lake, came over and helped out showed up with the boat he went another 4-6 times and watched while Lucy did some 50 yard swims. With any luck we'll have 2 duck dogs this fall. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFRa7jXHTGM
    After all that Jack was not tired at all.

  17. #17
    Member kylemac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    North Pole
    Posts
    90

    Default

    Intro'd my 3 yr old GSP, Max, to water over the past week. Knee deep the first outing and he just watched our lab swim out as he anxiously pondered how he might do the same. You could see his brain working - but he dared not go in past his chest. He stretched and stretched but would not leave the ground. On his second outing, I donned waders and coaxed him out for his first true swim -- short and just enough to get his feet off the ground. Teased him a few times with the lab doing it as smooth as silk. He got competitive and actually did a full 5 yard out and back for the bumper -- ugliest thing I ever saw, and seemed he might drown himself trying to grab the thing -- but he was proud and seemed anxious to go again. But we called it a night -- let the lesson soak in - if you will. By the end of his third outing, he was plunging in nearly full steam ahead. He accomplished 4-5 full water retrieves - 10 yards or so of actual swimming and was bouncing for more. He still swims pretty awfully but he enjoys it immensely and now seems to hit the water with no fear at all.

    Fun stuff -- and now I'm confident he'll hit the water when and if I need him too.2011 07 02 (9).jpg2011 07 06 (12).jpg

    Regards,
    Kyle

  18. #18
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kink Alaska surrounded by sled dog kennels, a fabulous view and lots of hunting.
    Posts
    383

    Default

    Great Kyle - it's kind of like having a special needs child make some great accomplishment. When Lucy the lab, started playing keep away in the deeper water that made all the difference. Looks like you had a photographer. Yeah that looks like some ugly splashing but he'll get it. They are holding their heads too high out of the water. I was afraid of slipping in my hip waiders and losing the iPhone.
    Now if we can have some decent weather again. I know wet is wet if it's sunny or rainy but I like it so much more in the sun...

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •