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tank, my one and a half year old V, is scared of bodies of water. we go for hikes and he even avoids relatively shallow streams. he hates being out in the rain and wont even come in the bathroom when i am taking a shower.
i have read as many articles as i could find about training dogs to like water and swim and have tried everything from teaching him to swim in the bathtub to buying an expensive "life jacket" to wear in the water. he gets in water, shallow or deep and he does everything possible to find the quickest way out.
we hike alot and there are alot of ponds and streams and on a hot day i jump in the water and i think he would like it to cool off but i cant coax him in. he is extremely food motivated and i cant even get him to follow me in the water for food.
is he just too young? does anyone have any tips? my vet couldnt help and other articles i have read have been less then helpful.
Thanks for any help you can give!
 

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I've met a 7 month old that swam and another that didn't care for it at all until after he was 2 years old.
Sometimes they just have to figure it out for themselves.

I think the best way would be to carry him in and hold him the entire time as he (wildly) treads water. Do it for just a few seconds and try again slowly increasing the time you guys are in the water. Having you hold him might eventually calm him down and once he seems mildly calmed, let him go so he can learn on his own that those flailing arms can keep him moving in the water. ;D
 

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Will he walk through a puddle? Or, if it is raining and you walk outside, will he go with you?

I am asking because if there is a starting point you could build from, you may have an easier time.

The shower may actually be frightened of the moving shower curtain. The rain may be concern about a raincoat or umbrella (Savannah doesn't care about the rain, but she takes a few minutes to consider my raincoat or an umbrella). See if you can determine if it is the falling water or the freaky things around the water.
 

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I would also suggest introducing water with other water loving dogs around. Darwin was so so on the idea of swimming, but bringing him to a swimming hole with 5 other dogs his excitement to play overcame his fear and he just went in and has been swimming ever since.

If you try this bring a treat that he will not refuse and just stand ankle deep. He comes to you in the water or not he gets one (and any other dog that comes over too). Then move six inches deeper, treat. Soon he will be playing in the water, keep moving out deeper and deeper. This will take a lot of trips to the water, but it will be worth it!

The one other piece of advise I have is to make sure that you leave on a positive note. Never leave the water area when he is scared or freaked out. Make it the happiest place ever!

Best of luck, but be forewarned we can't keep Darwin out of water now. He sees it and then is in it. :)
 

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We live on the lake and when Holly was learning to swim she would only go in so far then come back out. I went in with her (in early May, just to show her it was ok....brrr!!) now we can't keep her out of the water! Her newest is she is now jumping off our dock, she only started doing that after seeing my brothers lab jump off the dock, now she does it all the time by herself without hesitation. I think when they're just starting off they need a little bit of reassurance.
 

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I agree with the posts above. Take walks in the rain and do fun stuff outside when it's wet. His age is not a factor. Read other posts and articles. The key is to make it fun and keep the sessions short. Also, you need to be on his level when introducting him to the water. The water should be warm and still without allot of distractions around. Do the introduction very slowly a little bit each day until he is comfortable. Never force him.
 

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You can try a plastic baby pool. Fill it up, and leave it in the yard. Allow your dog to explore on his own. No force. Treat/praise if you catch him even near the water. Some breeders introduce their young pups to water this way. Some pups/dogs will take to it right away, others not so much. IMO, repeated exposure, without"force," and only fun is the way to go right now. Our V pup, Pumpkin (10m), took quite a few months of gradual progression to get where she is now. She now swims in the lake, wades in the creek, jumps through waves/runs in surf at the beach; however, she used to detest even getting her toenail wet. We never pushed her. We gave her almost daily opportunity to see water. We just allowed her to observe the kids, fun, & our dachshund swimming. Dogie peer pressure is great if you can introduce some ;D! Do you have a friend with a water loving dog? They are often the best teachers/influence, IME. Pumpkin still prefers not to get baths, and doesn't like being sprayed with the hose ::) Good Luck!
 

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I'd say 50% of the Vizslas I know given the choice will not go in the water above their feet. For most dogs it is just a question of "Why should I?" Unless water is fun and enjoyable they can have more fun on solid ground.

I found a lake when our pups were maybe 4 months old that had a large area where it was shallow but went out far at maybe 1 foot deep. It was also a hot day. We ran alot before hand so they got heated and then I carried them out to the water where they could still walk. We stayed out their like that maybe an hour. I'd go out just to where their feet wouldn't touch. They started to venture out. We spent a couple hours out there that day.

From then on, water was not an mystery but a joy.

They do have to "learn" how to dog paddle. They won't use their back legs at first to push through the water and they just splash in one spot and not move. It isn't until they can move where they want to that it becomes fun for them.

Good luck and enjoy.

Rod aka redbirddog
 

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Keneomac said:
I would also suggest introducing water with other water loving dogs around. Darwin was so so on the idea of swimming, but bringing him to a swimming hole with 5 other dogs his excitement to play overcame his fear and he just went in and has been swimming ever since.

If you try this bring a treat that he will not refuse and just stand ankle deep. He comes to you in the water or not he gets one (and any other dog that comes over too). Then move six inches deeper, treat. Soon he will be playing in the water, keep moving out deeper and deeper. This will take a lot of trips to the water, but it will be worth it!

The one other piece of advise I have is to make sure that you leave on a positive note. Never leave the water area when he is scared or freaked out. Make it the happiest place ever!

Best of luck, but be forewarned we can't keep Darwin out of water now. He sees it and then is in it. :)
Peer group pressure works well on puppies!!! :)

I have a 7 month old Vizsla and he was not all that fussed about water. Small puddles and the rain never worried him, but he wouldn't jump in a ****, a river or take a dive into the ocean. A small walk into ankle deep water was about his comfort level. I never tried to force him. Then, 5 weeks ago, we adopted a 12 month old German Shorthaired Pointer as a housemate for Ozkar. Over the past 5 weeks together, we have been to the beach and the river a few times and now, Ozkar follows Zsa Zsa straight in. He fetches sticks and really enjoys it. It just took him to think he was missing out on some fun to get into it!!!! :)
 

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I also second the idea of water-loving dogs. That's how Rosie learned to swim, she followed another dog into a pond and they had a great time together.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all for the advise! Tank is the first vizsla ive had and the first dog I have every had on my own and its really great to get advise from people with more experience.

Hes a little skiddish in general when it comes to anything new or outside his routine. The vet has told me that may have been from before I got him he had limited experience with life outside a crate. So I am trying to socialize him with people and dogs and get him involved in new things, hence the swimming.

He does not like the rain and he hides when I even get out of the hose. Oddly he LOVES snow. no matter how much he will swim through the stuff. so its not about getting wet i think its a security and confidence issue. I have tried the kiddie pool thing and he will go in it as well as puddles but he will not go near water he cannot see and reach the bottom of. I am new to my area so I am trying to find a dog club or group or a doggy play date with another dog that likes water. Seems all of his dog friends are also not keen on swimming. I have tried to take him out into deeper water, pool and lake, but he really freaks out. if he was just nervous i wouldn't be concerned but he genuinely has anxiety over it and he books it for the way out as soon as we get in. i want him to like swimming and i dint wanna force him to do anything but we hike alot and i think he would really enjoy it.

ill keep trying very slowly and just give him time. hes still young maybe he just needs more time. THank you all for the suggestions and advise. and if anyone has any more info or suggestions I am always open to hearing them. Thank you!
 

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Oddly enough, I read once that dogs who don't like the rain are usually reacting to the sound of the raindrops, not the wetness. Supposedly because their heads are so close to the ground and their hearing is so sharp, the sound is noxious to them. Not sure if it's true or where I read it.
 

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Sophie, my 16 mos old V. loves to be in the water, especially on a hot day, but it took me just about a year to teach her how to get in the water. As a little pup, she would avoid any kind of "wet" - rain, puddles, baths, sprinklers. I took her to a nearby pond every single time we were in the woods (which is almost every day). I would throw little sticks in the water and tell her to get them. I started at a very near distance where initially she barely had her paws in the water and only needed to stretch her neck to get the stick out of water. I encouraged her and praised her tremendously and gave her plenty of treats. Yes, lots of weird bystander looks my way ;D Once she was comfortable with her paws in the water, I threw the stick further and further until she actually had to paddle to get the stick. Naturally, the first time she lost ground she freaked out, but went right back in to get the stick. I did this training more for the mental challenge than getting her actually to become a "waterdog". We had a little break in the winter, after which I thought I'd have to start all over. Fortunately, only few months in to the "pond" season, Sophie was comfortable going into the water. Now she swims in the pond on her free will and sometimes does not come out for 20 mins. She loves to chase mosquitoes and small fish; it has become like running in the woods and chasing birds. However, Sophie still can't stand walks in the rain, puddles, and sprinklers.
So, I would say patience and more patience when training your V. how to swim - it is possible! :)
 
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