One point that I forgot to make a couple of blogs ago when it comes to raising puppies, is about pups and water.
I remember I had a young pup at a Field Trial once and he was only about 9 weeks old. Someone, who thought they were important, came up to me and asked if I had introduced the pup to the water yet? I responded that I had not. They told me I was making a big mistake and I needed to hurry up. Huh?
Different strokes for different folks, but I doubt this certain pup's ability to get off the point at a trial in October when it is 5 years old has anything to do with how quickly I put him in the water out of the womb or not.
My belief on pups and water is that they will get in when they are ready. Yes, I don't make a big deal about it.
Everyone is in such a hurry when raising pups. It is as if some people think they will have a better dog if they can do water retrieves at 3 months vs 5 months vs 7 months. I know people that put little life jackets on their tiny puppies, put them in the water and then they send me videos of the puppy swimming around with a terrified look on its face. Yes, your puppy got in the water before my puppy...how wonderful.
I start taking pups down to the water's edge as soon as I can, depending on the weather. And when I get there I don't do much. I don't wade out up to my knees and I don't make a big fuss about it. I may toss a twig in the water, or invite Miikka with us to show us how it's done, but it's a low stress, high fun environment.
Some pups swim early and some swim late. I've never had a problem raising a pup this way and invariably they start swimming around on their own sooner or later.
No pup that I've raised has been "bad" in the water yet...in fact they have all been quite good water dogs. Is this because of how I introduce them to water...maybe, I doubt it...I think what I do is teach them not to HATE the water though.
Dogs are good in the water for a variety of reasons. Pre-disposition/genetics, early training, never being allowed to cheat (throwing cheating marks before we have the tools to deal with a cheat) and a CLEAR understanding of the water in Basics.
Again, how a pup is raised and how well it's Basics are done will determine a dog's water attitude for the most part. We can make a great water dog hate the water if are not careful, but we can also make an average water dog good and reliable with thoughtful training.