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Old 03-12-2004   #1
cosurfgod's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 384
New Puppy Advise

I just got a new puppy and I was wondering when to start taking him to the river. He is really small and I don't want to scare him by pushing him. I also bought him for the river so I want him to be a strong swimmer and to get him started early. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.


cosurfgod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2004   #2
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 7
Puppy Advice

Start with a lake or pond, non-moving water. Don't push it. When your puppy is ready he will start swimming on his/her own. You could encourage it by throwing sticks into the water if your puppy likes to fetch. Then head to the river after you pup is comfortable in standing water.

That is what I did and now I can't keep my golden out of the water.

As a side note, some breeds of dogs love water and some just don't seem interested. If your dog falls into the not-interested category I doubt there is anything you can do to change that.

Monica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2004   #3
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 120
I agree with Monica. Something that helped when I got my lab is to remember that a puppy is a baby every bit as much as a human newborn is a baby. Take it slow. My lab was 6 months old the first time he wanted to swim past his knees in moving water (and this was a very slow river), and I'd had him at lakes and rivers consistently since he was 10 weeks old. As far as being a strong swimmer - like Monica said breed is important, but also just the personality of the dog. My dog is waaay laid back, and most of the time just wants to splash around in the shallows, he doesn't care for strong current.
mountainbuns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2004   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32
I agree with taking it slow. We have two Choc. labs. The first one learned to swim at about 3 months in a small pond near our house. She didn't want to go in the water though the first dozen times though. Once she knew she could swim she's been a freak ever since about the water. She's "accidently" swam a couple rapids in Westwater after falling/jumping out of the raft. Our other dog wasn't really into the water until he was almost a year old. He likes it now but would rather play in slower water than rapids. Dogs are just like people, all different. Good luck! P.S. What breed of dog is yours?
"Just what in the hell do you think you're doing?" "Well, learning about Cuba and having some food."
jester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2004   #5
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 112
depending on the breed i would say your pup probably will not be swimming before he's at least 6 months old. swimming takes a lot of strength. i go on long trail runs with my dogs (3 hours or so), but theyare just as, if not more, tired after swimming for 1/2 hour.

when you think your pup is ready bring another dog who likes to swim. hopefully you're pup already knows the other dog and they are friends.
my black lab went swimming with my girlfriend's dog when she was a pup and even though she is not a water breed at heart she is now a strong swimmer and i'm pretty sure it was from watching the other dog swim that she got the confidence to go herself.

whatever you do don't push him to swim. i've heard of people throwing their dogs in the water to "teach" them to swim. bad/dumb idea. this will only make your dog more fearful of water. if they want to swim and like it, it will come with time.

have fun and enjoy the free love
matobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2004   #6
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Ditto above.

A kiddie pool in your yard may also help the pup discover the fun of water.

You can then progress to walks along a gentle river--current with a few waves.

Denver confluence during low water was good for my dog. Lot's of eddies to get out of the water.

I feel more comfortable with a dog life vest so the pup doesn't have to work as hard and to get her nose high above the waves.
cstork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2004   #7
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 8

in my opinion its kinda like monkey see monkey do. If your walking around in the water, your dog sees it and thinks its safe/ fun because the master is doing it- I'm not suggesting diving in head first- thats cold, but just walk around knee deep with your dog. good luck!

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