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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Aly (now closing in on 20 months) has never been afraid to play in water. Though, she's never just randomly free-swam.

I always gently encouraged her to swim by throwing treats/sticks out a little past the boundary she would go. Though, never pushed her to do so. Weather conditions here last year were so miserable, I never got into the water to further encourage her.

This year, the weather has been MUCH nicer... with lakes warming up. It's been part of the plan this summer, to try getting her liking to swim.

Pffft!!! Today, randomly and for no apparent reason, she just ran down the boat launch and out into water deep enough she had to swim! Thankfully, I had a pocket full of treats!! She probably went in and came out 10 or 12 times (enthusiastically), fetching lil treats I'd throw out there. Love it when she turns into Lil Miss Wiggle-Butt from excitement!

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Nice!!!!
Her little butt is level with her top line, which means she’s using all four legs equally! She’s going to become a strong water confident little girl!
I love working dogs on water when it’s hot outside. Much safer for them, and it’s great exercise. Not to mention, she is a much safer dog today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Swimming Saga update...

We returned to the lake, the day after ( on 6/23). I was so floored by Aly's swimming the day before, I just had to see if it was a fluke. After getting to the water front, she showed no interest in swimming... even with coaxing. Just her normal play in the water up to her chest.

Yesterday (6/25), we returned to the state park/lake. We like trying to get there one weekend day a week, when campsites are full. Great place for off-leash obedience training reinforcement , at a distance. We walk along the road, with distractions of people and other dogs, within each individual campsite. Never allowed to enter a campsite without being invited.

Our goal was to get to the boat launch again, and maybe swim. We never made it to the boat launch. We ended up meeting a family with a year old rottweiler, named Willow. Aly and Willow made fast friends! We stayed for a couple hours and then parted ways with plans to meet again, today (6/26). On the walk out of the park, we cross a culvert a couple hundred yards from the parking lot. The tributary feeding the lake, on the upper side of the culvert, opens to a little pool that's around 4ft deep. This is a spot we frequently stop at for a "Drink da Water!" break. Aly has spent plenty of time around this pool and knows it's deep. The only things she's ever done was go to the sides of the pool for a drink. This is one of the places I've tried enticing her to swim, with throwing treats in the water. She'd only go as far as her feet would still touching the bottom.

As we approached the culvert/pool of water... what did psycho Aly do? She walked off the road, to the rocks stacked around and over the culvert pipe inlet... which are about 18" above the surface of the water right now. She looked down, I told her to "Drink da water", she turned to look at me... and then she frigg'in just jumped in! Even though SHOCKED and busting out laughing, Aly received the high pitch (as no grown man should ever do), high praise, with much clapping. She swam for a minute or so and exited. I laughed all the way back to the truck.

Today (6/26), we returned to the park, as planned. We had a puppy play-date!!! The plan was to bring the pups for an off-leash walk and let them play as dogs. Up until today, Willow had never been on an off leash walk in a foreign place.

Long story, short... it was an AMAZING walk! From Willow and family's campground, it was a few hundred yard walk to the boat launch area. These two mutts had a blast! Such appropriate play, from both! When we arrived at the boat launch... what did BOTH dogs do, IMMEDIATELY? The pictures below are the rest of the story. Except, one other thing... Willow had never gone swimming before!!!!

@gunnr, I could not be more in agreement with all you said above.

Just realized, as I was typing dates... Aly is 20 months old, TODAY!!! Happy Birthday, Baby girl!! It's been an AMAZING ride!

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Water Dog Dog breed Carnivore Working animal

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Looks like you guys had a blast @derwos ! I'm surprised you didn't get any guff for having an off leash dog in the park. I guess it comes down to the kind of people around at the time.

I noticed that while Ellie does enjoy swimming in our pool, it has to be on her terms. Some days she's fine not going in, sometimes jumps in immediately, or sometimes hangs around and an hour later decides to jump in to join us. Then she gets out when she's had enough. I know other breeds like labs are water addicted and will always go for a swim if water is in sight. Seems V's are more "discerning" as to when to get wet. I do notice that a lot of the decision is how hot it is outside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
@Dan_A, Yeah... the pups had a really great time! I was fascinated, watching them. These two dogs had only met for a short time, the previous day. Before reaching the water front, it was only a few hundred yard walk, where the two mutts had their first opportunity at off-leash play. Considering how Aly had only begun swimming a few days before and this being Willow's very first time swimming, I was shocked at how neither dog freaked out when they got close to each other... and were actually out there in 4+ feet of water, play biting and roughhousing. We stood there for probably 1/2 an hour as the dogs would do the swim thing, then out for chase play, then back to more swimming... over and over.

The place we go, is technically categorized as a "State Forest", not a "State Park". Regulatorily, a leash is required in a "Park". In a "Forest", the dog only is required to be "under control"... or some such language. What's the difference between a "Park" and a "Forest"? Ya got me! Numerous times, Rangers have driven by. Some stop to say hello, some just drive by. None have ever said anything about no leash being on Aly. I don't put a collar with license and rabies tags (technically required) on Aly when she out running in the woods (I keep the collar and actual documentation in the truck). Rangers have never said anything about that, either.

Obviously, I have little experience with Aly and swimming. Though, the next day after she first swam, the temperature was in the low 60's with a pretty strong breeze. I was in a short sleeve shirt and shorts... freezing my butt off. When she didn't get in, I wasn't actually surprised or disappointed. The three days she did swim, it was 80F or above. My gut tells me, she'll swim when the mood strikes her... and yes, temperature would be a factor. I could be completely wrong and she turns into a swimming freak. LOL
 
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it is not uncommon for short hair dogs with single layer of coat to only swim when it is warmer. We have noticed that at dock diving too, that even the GSP`, vizslas, weims etc which usually got ranked in top 5 get disadvantaged when the water is cold and the labs or other fury dogs would outjump them / the short hair ones often refusing to jump.
I made that experience too, and the opposite as well: 30 F outside, Bende at 11 months old in a heavy jacket, we are the only brave souls around our local lake, so I decided this is a great time to practice recall. Next thing I know Bende with heavy jacket on swimming in the lake chasing the ducks and geese... he was very upset on the way home how he felt VERY cold and I did not have anything to wrap around him:ROFLMAO::p
 

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How did she sleep after her play date?
The leash thing is kind of subjective here in CT also.
Technically, a pet dog is supposed to be on a leash less than 7’ long in the state parks and forests, but that’s hard to enforce with all of those retractable leashes.
We only have four designated “ off leash” areas in the state. 😕

As long as I am away from the campgrounds, and back in the woods, the DEP folks leave me alone. They also recognize that Finn is a bit more than a pet dog.Maybe the bell and eCollar give it away.😉
Have fun, and Start working on her water retrieval with her.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
it is not uncommon for short hair dogs with single layer of coat to only swim when it is warmer. We have noticed that at dock diving too, that even the GSP`, vizslas, weims etc which usually got ranked in top 5 get disadvantaged when the water is cold and the labs or other fury dogs would outjump them / the short hair ones often refusing to jump.
We'll chalk this up as a testament to the intelligence GSP`, vizslas, weims, etc! Pffft! I'm not diving into cold water, either!🤣😂
I made that experience too, and the opposite as well: 30 F outside, Bende at 11 months old in a heavy jacket, we are the only brave souls around our local lake, so I decided this is a great time to practice recall. Next thing I know Bende with heavy jacket on swimming in the lake chasing the ducks and geese... he was very upset on the way home how he felt VERY cold and I did not have anything to wrap around him:ROFLMAO::p
As we live in Upstate NY, Aly is no stranger to very frigid weather... and at the same time, she rarely passes up an opportunity to play in water, regardless of temperature or location.

I always have towels in the truck. We are so often out and about, playing, being prepared to dry this crazy mutt off is just a way of life. Almost always, prior to leaving the house, we go through a little "ritual" in an attempt to provide Aly with context of why we are leaving. We have a few different rituals, each just normal type stuff ya would do when ya leave a house to go do something. I've just created specific structure of things I do, the order I do them and things I say to her. Part of the ritual of preparing for a trip to a long walk in the forest, is packing HER towels. Oh... and at the end of every walk in a forest, I lower the tailgate of the truck, she jumps up, I remove her ecollar and harness and she gets rubbed down with a towel, if she's wet and dirty, or not!

Shame on you, @Gabica, for not being prepared for vizsla antics!🤣😂🤣😂

How did she sleep after her play date?
I don't remember, specifically. Puppy play dates are a pretty common occurrence... and Aly is pretty darned fit. Pretty much an endurance machine. This State Forest is only five minutes from the house. If I had to guess what Aly did when we got home, after the very short ride? She probably walked into the house and found her ball, wanting to play fetch!🤣😂🤣😂 Sleeping isn't generally an option for her.🤣😂

The leash thing is kind of subjective here in CT also.
Technically, a pet dog is supposed to be on a leash less than 7’ long in the state parks and forests, but that’s hard to enforce with all of those retractable leashes.
We only have four designated “ off leash” areas in the state. 😕
In a way, I can understand why states are so restrictive. We live in a very liability driven, litigious world. It's just a shame, "people" screw things up, like they normally do, by bringing untrained, unruly dogs to public places. I feel quite fortunate for the freedom Aly is allowed.

As long as I am away from the campgrounds, and back in the woods, the DEP folks leave me alone. They also recognize that Finn is a bit more than a pet dog.Maybe the bell and eCollar give it away.😉
DEP officers, ENCON officers, Forest Rangers, DEC officers... whatever particular official title in associated jurisdiction, with massive predominance, are "outdoor" type people. I agree 100% with you, they recognize (and appreciate) a well behaved, well trained, working dog, out in the field.

Have fun, and Start working on her water retrieval with her.
Thanks! We've every intention of water retrieval play. Though, it'll just be for fun. Quite some time ago, I decided I was not going to hunt Aly. Over time, bird populations in this area have dwindled to a degree where I couldn't provide Aly with enough consistent joy of actually hunting. Fear not! Aly's remarkable intellect, disposition and athleticism continue to be developed and challenged. She's currently in the midst of formal training for two distinctly different "activities", which I've yet to mention here.🤪
 
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@derwos, I fully agree that I was unprepared. :eek:
my only defenses of the time are that a) I was still at the beginning of my learning curve b) we don't often have 30F here, so the first time he had that coat on c) the lake is 5 minutes walk from my house, so for a 30F walk I figured we can spare the rucksack with towels in. lol, 😝 he managed to teach me better since then, and Miksa has had a much easier life with a way more educated mom, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@derwos, I fully agree that I was unprepared. :eek:
my only defenses of the time are that a) I was still at the beginning of my learning curve b) we don't often have 30F here, so the first time he had that coat on c) the lake is 5 minutes walk from my house, so for a 30F walk I figured we can spare the rucksack with towels in. lol, 😝 he managed to teach me better since then, and Miksa has had a much easier life with a way more educated mom, haha.
Truth be told, @Gabica... I too, learned the hard way!

When Aly was about 6 months old and out for a walk in the same forest/park as mentioned above, she rolled in something (I think human poop). She was a disgusting mess! YUCK! No towels, either! It was from this wonderful experience I learned of endearing vizsla puppy antics. LOL

... and THANK GOD, Aly's predilection to roll in every stinky thing she passed, has significantly waned!
 
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