How to intro pup to water in winter

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How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby Flogger » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:34 pm

Hey folks! New guy here but not new to the hunting game. I love this site as there are so many knowledgeable people willing and able to give great advice. While I'm not new to hunting I am green when it comes to training dogs. I'm getting a yellow female lab pup on the 29th of this month which will put her at 7weeks of age. I've read 12 or so waterfowl dog books in the last month and a half. Also bought and watched a few DVD's about puppy training. I've figured out the training program I'm going to use and even found a few folks that are willing to let me train with them. I do however have one question ( a bunch more questions later I'm sure) and it's what to do when you need to introduce the puppy to water and it's cold? Do you guys and gals introduce pups to cold water if that's all that's available on account of winter? By the time I want to aquante her with water it will be December or January. What do you folks recommend? Should I wait until spring or is there something else I could do? Like put warm water in a kiddy pool? I know I may be too worried about this but I hate to have her see water for the first when she is 4 or so months old. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for reading my long winded post!
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby CatSquirrel » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:19 pm

I wouldn't worry about it too much. My opinion is that people always stress about introduction to water.

A lot depends on where you live. If you live in the south, you can find a protected sun warmed puddle and let the pup play in it. Just have a towel handy.
If you're desperate, run a hose from a warm water tap to a kiddie pool in a protected spot.

I think it's far more important to spend your time socializing with the pup, playing, a little OB, and introducing bumpers and birds. Then, you can just chain the retrieves into a puddle when the time is right.

One of my last dogs wasn't formally introduced to "real" water until she was 6 months old (even though I live in South Louisiana). I let her splash around in warm puddles, etc so water wasn't an issue, so when it came time for her to swim, she took to it like an otter.
Last edited by CatSquirrel on Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby usmcduckn » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:20 pm

i recommend a luke warm pool (maybe 6 inches of water at first) to let her get used to it. i bought my last one in the winter and had to do warm water in a kitty pool in my garage (so i could put trunks on and join him). he thought it was the coolest thing. then i just made it a every other day thing for a couple minutes slowly making the water colder. eventually the water temp and the pond temp were pretty close and he took right to the pond water.
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby Flogger » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:02 pm

I really appreciate the advice guys. I think I will go the kiddy pool route but not really worry too much about it and spend most of my time socializing, playing, and basic OB. Ive long been in need of a waterfowl dog and I see many dogs in my future.

One more quick question while I'm at it. Would it be advisable to go ahead and introduce the whistle along with basic verbal commands like sit or is that not a good thing to do?
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby Dirty Doug » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:01 pm

I would wait until the temp of air and water is warm. Lots of other training that can be done rather than freaking your dog on cold water for no reason at all. The last dog I introduced to water was my Rottweiler which are not known to be water dogs. By the time good weather came around he was 9 months old and there is not a retriever out there that loves the water more than this guy. Take your time and do it right.....good luck
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby swampbilly 1980 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:42 pm

Flogger wrote: Do you guys and gals introduce pups to cold water if that's all that's available on account of winter?

Short-n-sweet, this guy doesn't.
As others have mentioned it would be better to wait until Spring for that. The last thing you want to do is sour a young pup on water.
Haven't ever seen or heard of any cold water winter intro material.
Have always believed that keeping a dog in the changing water temps as it changes, in fall and winter is the "best intro". You really can't "make" a dog like it, but sure as heck can get him to ignore it.

Believe that there's a big part of cold water retrieving that hinges on how your dog "feels" about retrieving in general, and how much of an intimate relationship the dog has with birds.

So for me cold water retrieving doesn't actually start with cold water.
It starts with everything you do from the time a pup comes home.
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby Flogger » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:11 am

Thanks again for all the replies. Short n sweet, I will try to remember that!!
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby Holeinmywaders » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:01 am

Your question about whistle training. I get my dog doing the sit and come commands solid then I start introducing the whistle as soon as he understands the commands. I start by giving the command then the whistle for about a week. Then I switch to whistle then the command for another week. That is loose guideline so you can see how he responds.

Honestly I think the whistle is the best thing I have trained for. My dog doesn't always listen to my wife but he respects the whistle. It makes it easy for her to get him back to the yard in the rare instances where he gets out of the fence. The other good thing is that you can't sound mad with a whistle. Helps for those times when you are pissed and he can hear it in your voice. It gives you those few good seconds to calm down. :biggrin:
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby swampbilly 1980 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:08 am

Holeinmywaders wrote: The other good thing is that you can't sound mad with a whistle. Helps for those times when you are pissed and he can hear it in your voice. It gives you those few good seconds to calm down. :biggrin:

:yes:

Oh, don't worry the dog tunes in and will notice the difference in the "toots", he just looks at your red face and realizes they're louder than the previous ones :lol3:
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby GarDuck » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:01 am

About to say when I'm loosing my cool with a whistle in my mouth every dog for miles knows about it.
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby Holeinmywaders » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:14 pm

Maybe. I just know I feel calmer when using the whistle and the dog responds better. Could just be me too.
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Re: How to intro pup to water in winter

Postby Duckdon » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:26 pm

When I cold water train I do it at the very end of the training session, on a day that is warmer and less windy. Then once the water work is done, a very short session, we are in the box and home. I don't force water training but I do run my pups with big dogs that are well adjusted to water work. My current pup started at 13 weeks old on cool water, 29F, and he is a swimming fool today.
I don't see much merit in kiddy pools or bathtubs for water training. Just my opinion. Don
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