Teaching Your Dog To Swim?

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by Ripleygirl, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Congrats on the swim, Ripleygirl!! I remember how excited i was, when i ever finally got my dog to swim, too, it is so much fun to see a dog who once hated water,
    swimming around!! YESsssssss!!!
    Ripleygirl and Dogster like this.

  2. Ripleygirl Experienced Member

    I know this is definately not ideal, Sara, I have never been one to throw sticks for my dogs (the collies I've had before Ripley). I found my Border Collies had very soft mouths anyway but also they were always into toys too. Ripley has taken a year to discover play of anykind with an innamimate object and it happens it has occurs with a stick (and not the 20 odd different toys I have spent money on in the past year...!!!:mad::confused: ) and this happens that, as said in previous posts, she decided this because of another dog, that was there, playing fetch with the sticks and helped her overcome her fear of going deeper into the water. I plan now to phase out the sticks and hopefully find a floating toy that will keep her interested in the swimming. Thank you for the link to the safe stick toy, it looks great!! I hope that her newly found interest in fetching from the water, may, just help her instinct to play with other toys too! Thanks, Sara!
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  3. Ripleygirl Experienced Member

    Thank you, guys, for all the congrats, she has been back in the water since too! I think we are getting somewhere. As I said above I am hoping that no only this will turn her into a regular swimmer but also may help her learn to play with toys (which I have been trying to do for the past year!). I am soooo proud of her!!! :love:
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  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    I had no idea sticks could pose a danger to dogs, never heard of that! Good to know.
    Yeah, Ripleygirl, it does sort of sound like your dog HAS had a breakthrough there, about being in water and all, i mean.

    //but also may help her learn to play with toys (which I have been trying to do for the past year!)//

    Ripley, have you tried rubbing parmesan cheese into toys, or peanut butter? That helped my dog become toy lover.
    Also, my dog gets bored with same ol toys, so i rotate his toys. I keep 2/3 of his toys hidden away, and about every 3 or 4 weeks, i rotate the toys around, so he has all "fresh" toys in his toybox.:ROFLMAO: that he hasn't played with for a while.
    One of Buddy's favorite toys, is just a scrap of toy, quite raggedy, but, he adores that lil thing. And i do let Buddy pull off all plastic eyes, cuz, Buddy just spits them out. I bet if i 'corrected' that, he might lose interest in the toy, but, i'm not sure.

    Also, ME playing with his toys with him, ME showing great interest in his toys:rolleyes: , seemed to help him think toys were good things.
    Also, whenever i could 'catch' him playing with toys, i'd stop and praise him, and fawn all over him.
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  5. Ripleygirl Experienced Member

    Ripley LOVES peanut butter and this did help for a while with a Kong toy I had bought her but unfortunately it didn't instigate any sense of play in her just that if she run to that toy she could then lick peanut butter off all of it and then leave the toy as it was, even when I tried this with a rope type toy which she occasionally has shown interest in playing tug but not much as she plays tug for, like, 30 seconds and then just gives the toy up and goes all submissive like she shouldn't have pulled against the human ( even though huge amounts of verbal praise have been given while she was playing ), on this we already know she had been hit as she cowers if you move your hand too quick etc, and it is like she is remembering this if she shows a bit of play in her with toys, it is like she is expecting a whack if she 'forgets herself' for a few seconds and enjoys the play we are trying to instigate, despite the praise.

    I thinks this underlying fear she has related to being hit is the main cause of her not wanting to play with toys and don't quite know how to let her know that we are never going to hit her for playing (or anything else for that matter), it took her about 4 months to be able to go to stroke her head without her ducking then running and cowering in her bed (a dog cage we got so she would have a safe 'den' with a blanket over and a soft cushion inside)!!:cry:

    She has made GREAT progress from when we had her but I think this fear is still underlying in her not wanting to play with toys. (Sorry this is off the thread subject, maybe I should start a seperate thread for this...?!)
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  6. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Yeah, a new thread might be great idea!!

    I myself, think some dogs are inherently "shy", born that way, and most breeders and geneticists also identify there are dogs who are BORN shy,
    and will be somewhat shy for life.

    We can make such dogs better,
    but, the dog will always be shy on some level, for life. But, no way to know if your dog IS a shy dog via online, but, shy dogs usually try to avoid having unknown humans TOUCH them, or lean over them, or sometimes, even stare at them. There is a vast spectrum of shyness,
    from mild/barely noticable to severe.
    Some shy dogs will cower away from a human leaning over them, or reaching for them, and the human cries out, "Oh, no, this dog has been abused!":( even if the dog never ever way abused, and it's owner who raised the dog from birth, is right there, and can vouch, this is just a "shy" dog,he's never ever been hit, not ever. Lots of shy dogs just do that, sudden movements and leaning over them, etc, startle these dogs.

    Still, you CAN indeed make continued progress with helping Ripley become her best possible self, and by removing as many fears for her as you can!!:D

    My dog is NOT shy, not at all,
    but, he also feared being hit for quite a while, if we walked by him with anything stick shaped, like a broom, a rake, or large flashlight, he'd cower and run away. Even very large items being carried seemed to freak out Buddy back then.
    Broke my heart.
    However, he still loved toys.

    My dog, like most dogs, has certain types of toys he LOVES, and certain types of toys he has zero interest in.

    My dog dislikes rope toys, and frisbees, and balls. Just little to no interest in THOSE types of toys. We can get him interested, but, it takes effort, and sooner or later he defaults back to "this toy is dumb".

    My dog ADORES squeak toys, stuffed toys, rubbery toys, any toy that makes sounds,
    itty bitty tiny stuffed toys,
    toys with many textures,
    and giant sized stuffed toys,
    and containers, like bowls, baskets, etc, loves containers.:rolleyes:
    and by now, we can about look at a toy in a store or in a yard sale, and know, "Yeah, THAT is my dog's kind of toy."

    Probably not all dogs love ALL kinds of toys.....

    Anyway, overtime my dog got over his heart-stopping panic when he saw stick-shaped objects. But his love of toys seemed unrelated, for *my* dog anyway. NOw i can scratch his back with the rake if i wanted to.
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  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    When i realized
    how severely afraid of stick shaped items my dog was when i first got him,
    i set about to help him get comfy about those things.

    I laid the thing on the floor, and gave my dog treats across the room, or however far away my dog had to be, to be calm while observing that item.

    I let my DOG choose how close HE could get and still feel comfy. He got treats for looking at item.
    Overtime, i could shorten that distance, and give him treats for looking at the big flashlight or broom.

    Overtime, Buddy was able to eat treats directly placed on the broom.:D

    Ovetime, Buddy got used to me holding the item, just a little bit off of the floor,
    and then, overtime, me standing up with the broom, he decided that was fine afterall, and got treats for that decision.

    Overtime, Buddy forgot he ever used to fear brooms, and long flashlights, and rakes, etc.

    Me, i kind of think,
    it's good idea to do what we can at SUBTHRESHOLD levels to desensitize a dog with fears. I jsut think,
    the less fears a dog has,
    the easier his life will be.:D

    NOTE, i never ever forced my dog near the broom, okay? I allowed the DOG to make that choice, and if my dog had to be across the room, fine, he was across the room.

    If he had to go into another room, fine, i sat down in the doorway between the two rooms, and gave him treats for approaching me there.
    and so on....OVERTIME, scooting myself more into the room where that awful broom was.
    My dog could choose to come closer to get the treat, or choose to stay in other room.

    I made his looking at or sniffing the item, a very pleasant moment for him. This worked fine,
    all dogs are unique individuals.
    Ripleygirl, dogcrazy and Dogster like this.
  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    OH, and CONGRATS ON THE PROGRESS, Ripleygirl,
    i think it is a big joy to see a dog or help a dog overcome their fears!! SO GOOD ON YOU for helping this dog become her best possible self!!!!!:D
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  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    i play with my dogs toys. I currently have a black eye, :rolleyes: from getting my dog TOO EXCITED about his toys, and he jumped on the toy, which i moved too quickly, and his paw hit my eye, instead of the toy.
    I lined up 3 toys of Buddy's, two that he loved, and one toy he didn't like.

    I laid on floor, and i always kept one toy,
    and stuffed it under my chest or into my folded arms, see,
    and Buddy got the other two toys. Lol, no matter which toy i had, THAT was the toy he wanted most!
    So i'd swap the toys out, and dart the toy out, teasing him, and hide it under me again.

    My dog thinks this is great fun game.

    however, i did get my dog TOO stoked up,
    and now, i have a black eye, and no one believes me when i say my dog did it,and they keep giving my poor innocent, loving boyfriend dirty looks!!:ROFLMAO:
    Ripleygirl, dogcrazy and Dogster like this.
  10. Dogster Honored Member

    Ooooh, Tigerlily, that must hurt!!!! :confused: I hope your eye gets better soon!!!!:)
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  11. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

  12. Dogster Honored Member

  13. doglover1234 Active Member

    Same with Murphy! He will only go were he can touch! I go to the dog beach alot but he wouldn't touch the lake water!:rolleyes: Need to get him to like it! :)
    Dogster likes this.

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