Canine Water Sports, Part 2
August 12, 2006
Second private with Deborah Lee today. I wasn’t all that sure how my dogs would do today. Here at home, their progress has been somewhat limited and sporadic. I kept persevering and boy, am I glad I did! They were all incredibly fantastic today!
Deborah Lee set up a table about 30 feet from shore (that was underwater a few inches) so they could learn to stand on it and rest if they needed to. Attached to the table was a floating ball that all of my dogs were very interested in.
Beau got to go first today. He is my most timid dog and although he enjoys swimming, he is not the best swimmer of the bunch. I started out with the same warm up exercise and then worked on his (non-existent) stay on shore…. I finally got him to do a stay on shore and then called him to me. He did his “help” behavior and then I swam with him over to the table. After a few tries, he figured out how to get onto it. I gave him the toy and with no hesitation whatsoever, he promptly leaped off of the table! We repeated that a few times and I started to mix in “help” and “table.” He also started to bring me the toy while I was still in the water – a huge breakthrough for him. He was totally confident and I was utterly thrilled!
Emma came next and she actually did a stay on shore while I walked into the water a few feet. I am still having to lure her a bit to do her “help” behavior. I will have to go back to working with this on land a bit more. Emma loved the table, got on with no hesitation and jumped off with no hesitation! She was even able to willingly jump off of the table away from shore. We did a lot more swimming together than we had been doing and used the table so she could rest in between. I am torn between building up their stamina and making sure I don’t stress them or cause an injury. She did not want to stop swimming! She rarely went to shore, retrieved the toy back to me in the water many times.
Shadow was very afraid of the table and I had to physically help him the first time he got on it. The first time he came off of it okay, however, the second time he was too afraid. After trying to get the floating ball in his mouth a few times…<g>, he ended up tipping the table over so he could just swim off of it. I didn’t push him with it, so we just swam around a little bit. My goodness! He swims so fast, I can hardly keep up with him! I did a few “bring the toy back to me in the water” retrieves and he did really well! This is a big deal for him – letting go of the toy, so I was very impressed. I ended his session much sooner because he hurt himself last week and I didn’t want to push him.
All in all it was a super session with all of the dogs. The progress they made today was amazing. Before this, none of them would bring the toy to me in the water and Beau and Emma swam for a much longer time than they normally do AND IT WAS THEIR CHOICE! Wahoo!
I encourage all of you to check out this new and exciting dog sport! For more information, go to www.caninewatersports.com.