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Introducing the Pup to Water

Even if you have a pointing dog or do not plan to hunt ducks with your dog,every pup should be introduced to water.While some will crash right in without a second thought,most will be apprehensive in their first contact.Make sure the water is warm-at least around 60 F -before introducing a very young pup to it.

The best course is to have your pup go into the water on his own with your encouragement.He”ll probably splash around in the shallows without a care in the world-as long as his feet are touching bottom,he”s fine-and if you make it fun by letting him chase and fetch a favorite toy,he won”t even notice he”s in the water.Wventually,he”ll wade out to chest-deep water;then he”ll probably bounce back and forth and bark,unable to make the leap into swim-depth water.

So climb in there with him.Put on some kneehigh boots or waders and trudge out there,clapping your hands or enticing him with a favorite fetch.He”ll probably continue to run back and forth and bark at you to come back and play with him,but just keep temting him.In those first few daring paddles he”ll look like a carp out of water,but he”ll smooth out.Give him a reward by letting him fetch his toy or puppy bumber,and on shore and tossing his toy into deeper and deeper water until he must swim on his own to get it.Keep everything positive ;do not comfort the frightened dog lest he think that he is right in feeling scared.The strategy is much like what you did when introducing him to loud noises.

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What if the pup still won”t swim out on his own?Try taking him out there with you while you swim or wade into water deep enough that he has to swim.Gently ease him into the water on his own,pointed toward shore-which he will make a beeline for-and let him paddle for a few seconds.Again,always keep it fun;do not just toss a novice youngster over the side of a canoe and expect him to like it.But some pups may require a gentle nudge to get their feet paddling-and then they”ll see that as long as those legs keep moving,they”ll be just fine.

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