I was at a new Home Dog Training client in Gainesville last week helping him with his new Flat Coated Retriever puppy named Oliver. Oliver, like almost all puppies, was full of energy and wanted to explore, jump, run, and play. These are all good things, but not all the time. I first stat my client down and explained how he was going to regain control of his household and then how we were going to let Oliver understand that there were rules he needed to obey. Oliver was very observant and my client easily gained his focus. This created a calm learning experience that allowed my client to direct Oliver to the appropriate decisions and actions. Needles to say, my client was quite thrilled with what he had just leaned and with Oliver’s new, calm behavior.
The first thing that we always tell our clients is that their dog doesn’t have to love the pool. The important thing is that they know how to safely get out of the pool if the fall in.
Dogs don’t understand that the hole with water in the back yard is a pool. They think it is a lake. They think the bank is sloped and they have the ability to walk out anywhere along it. The problem is that a “pool’s bank” is a straight wall. They can’t get out where ever you want. There is usually only one or two places where you can easily exit a pool. Since your dog thinks he can get out anywhere, he will go to a side of the pool with no steps and try to get out at that point. He will not be able to get out and will keep trying until he becomes tired and possibly drown.
We tell out clients that they must train their dog (or puppy) on how to locate the exits to the pool and what he must do to get out. We tell them to perform the following program:
- Put their dog on a leash and guide him to the the first step in the shallow end. Sit with him and make him feel comfortable and safe. Give him some goodies. What we are doing here is having the client introduce the pool to the dog so that if he does fall in, he doesn’t become so scared that he can’t focus on the exits.
- Now we have our client direct their dog to jump out of the pool from the first step. They need to praise him when he does it. If their dog doesn’t easily get out, they can guide him with the leash. They are now teaching him how to get out of the pool.
- Next, they should safely hold their dog and slowly move him away from the first step and all over the pool. They should do this slowly and NEVER let go of him. This is helping to give their dog a larger and more complete perspective of the pool. They should always end “their little trip” back at the shallow end step and then guide the dog out. Praise always follows.
- Next, we want them to move their dog about five feet away from the shallow end step and let him loose in the water. Use the leash to guide him back to the step and out of the pool.
- They can repeat this process until they can be at the other end of the pool and their dog will return to the shallow step and then out of the pool.
We always tell out clients that it is critical they don’t rush this training process. The longer they give their dog the ability to feel safe at each step of the process, the better he will learn. We also suggest that they practice this when things are quiet around the house and the pool.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over sixteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.