Cold Water Coming – Swimming

With the weather beginning to turn colder, the water temps in our training ponds will be dropping. After training Retrievers for 16 years I only have one thought, “make sure all the pups are swimming.”  I think this because I know that water introduction in cold water isn’t ideal.  The best case scenario is to have your pup swimming and loving water from a very early age (as early as 8 weeks and 12 weeks at the latest), and in warmer weather.  Now here in the Houston area retriever training is a little easier with the long summers.  It’s the end of October now and I have no problem taking the pups to the pond. The high tep today is 85° and the dogs get hot quickly. A dip in the pond is enjoyed and loved by all the dogs. 

Rules for water introduction:

– The earlier in life they swim the better. 

– The warmer the water the better. 

– Don’t throw the pup in. Let it be natural and on their own. 

– Avoid banks with steep drop offs or docks where pups may fall in. A gradual slope into the pond is best. 

– Older confident dogs that love water will lead the pups into the pond and teach them that swimming is good. A

– Don’t rush it. This make take 5 or 6 sessions to get your pup swimming, it may only take 1. 

– Weekly or daily opportunities for swimming are best for young pups. 

– Throw the bumper a foot or two into the pond and gradually build distance with success. 

I hope this helps you with your water introduction. 

Love the dog and the training!

Wade Cashion 

Texas Duck Dogs / Texas Retriever Training / AKC Registered Lab Puppies