Robin and I were in Bogart last Saturday working with a new Home Dog Training client and their American Water Spaniel named Baron. Baron was just turning one year old and was in need of some fine tuning to his obedience lessons and good behavior lessons. Within a few hours, he was no longer jumping or nipping at the family members and they could actually eat their meals in peace without the fear of Baron’s favorite trick of stealing food from their plates. We even got him to start to walk in a calm and respectful manner. Our client was very happy and excited to start practicing the lessons we had worked on that day. As we were packing up, he remembered one more thing that Baron had started to do that was really annoying. He mentioned that they were just getting back to using the pool and Baron had never been around them in that situation. When they keep Baron in the house, he jumps on the door and windows to get out to them. If they let him out, he goes nuts around the pool. He wondered what they could do to keep Baron calm as they were in the pool. What should they do?
We told our client that Baron was probably doing the same thing that he saw the entire family doing. He and the kids probably ran out the door all excited to jump in the pool. They were splashing, screaming, and having a great time. When they leave their dog in the house, he just wants to get out to have fun too. When they have him outside, he just wants to join in the fun. The issue is that they are not giving their dog the guidance and direction to what he should be doing.
You need to teach and guide your dog towards his appropriate actions while he is in a situation where you are in the pool. The process is called socialization and it is done by providing him the appropriate direction while you are in the pool in a consistent and repetitive manner. Think about doing this:
- Make some stuff for your dog to do when you are in the pool. One thing to try are games where you get your dog to fetch. This will get your dog excited to run after things that are directed away from you. After he gets it, he has to come back to you and calmly drop it next to you.
- After he is calmly doing this, you can get in the pool. Get in the pool calmly and slowly. Have a family member bring your dog out on a leash and have them sit by the pool. Have some dog toys and treats right there as a distraction for him. Slowly swim around (without going crazy). Ask the family member holding your dog’s leash to redirect him any time the dog gives too much attention to you and the others in the pool.
- As your dog stays calm with you in the pool while you are calm, start to slowly ramp it up to the activities you normally would be doing. If your dog starts to get excited or too focused, slow your activities down slightly and have the person holding your dog’s leash direct him away from you and back to him.
- Once he is calm with all of this, let him wander freely with the leash. If he starts to get too distracted to all the things going on in the pool, have the family member who “had the leash” pick up the leash again and redirect him.
- Once your dog is calm with you in the pool, you can begin to interact with him in a mutually “fun way”. Don’t forget “Step One” in which you played fetch. The only thing that has changed in this instance is that you are throwing the toys for your dog while you are in the pool. Have your dog return them to you at the side of the pool where you can throw the toys again.
You now have a way to play with your dog in a consistent manner that he will understand. You and he can both be out by and in the pool and both of you can bond and have fun.
Please call Robin or myself at (770) 718-7704 if you are in need of any dog training assistance. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Bogart Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Bogart Georgia.