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Re-introducing apprehensive pup to water...

post #1 of 3
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Chester and Ruby have been at the beach a couple of times and once at the river, and they are used to having their showers with us, for bath time.

However, they have only been in the water once. We got them both in winter so there was not too much of an opportunity to introduce them to swimming, but as soon as the weather was nice we took them to the river (no waves) to gently introduce them.

Ruby took to it instantly, she was a bit thoughtful at first but happily followed me out and had a little swim. After that we couldn't keep her away. Chester behaved the same way at first, and in fact seemed a little more at ease, until some idiot went by way too fast in a speedboat and caused quite big waves to rush up against the wall.

Where we took them there was no shore, just steps leading down to a shallow, sheltered cove, with a retaining wall about six foot high before you get to the sand. Chester had nowhere to go and before we could get to him he had been splashed three or four times about the head and neck.

Ever since then he has been terrified of water. He hates having his showers and whimpers when we're washing him, and he won't go near any bodies of water at all. We kept him in the water at the river after the wave issue happened and comforted and calmed him in the water so that he would not associate water with a bad thing, but I don't think it helped him.

Does anyone have any advice for me as to how to help him with this fear? Poodles are supposed to love water, and although he is a labradoodle, I would have thought both the poodle and the lab parts would love it, like Ruby does.
post #2 of 3
try a toy he likes and take it in the water... It has been many many years since I did this ... good luck My shepard forever feared water for a unknown reason
post #3 of 3
If you really think he needs to be able to tolerate water, you can work to adjust him to it again. It may be a long, slow process and he may never really enjoy the water, but you should be able to get him to tolerate it again. On the other hand, once he gets over his fears, he might decide that it's fun after all.

This article explains the process briefly:

The Cautious Canine is an excellent little book that describes the process used to help dogs overcome their fears in detail - it's been very helpful to me for my shy dog.

Be careful to make sure that you can control the situation completely as you try to readjust him to the water - go some place where there won't be any water traffic that may startle or splash him, because if that happens it could set him back even further.
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