- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


In-Water Training - Golden Retrievers

May 21st, 2006, 06:35 PM
My Golden puppy - Amber - is just coming 10 months and her element is the water. She loves it - but when she is in the water, all obedience training is out the window. It's as if I don't exist. The come command doesn't work at all but on land she is fine with obedience. Is there anything special I should be doing to get her to realize that the commands are meant for water???? Sounds silly but when in the water she tunes me right out. She does bring sticks back but today she just got in there and swam and swam - I was afraid she was going to swim across the harbour! Today, too, for the first time she actually swam underwater! Scared me but she was having a blast!

May 21st, 2006, 07:25 PM
I would use a long line - but be careful which one you choose. You want one that is light enough to float (for added safety, I would use a harness instead of a collar). If she doesn't listen, reel her in gently and (most importantly) reward her anyway - and then give her the opportunity to swim again.

May 21st, 2006, 07:46 PM
I have the same problem with one of my guys. He absolutely adores the water but becomes deaf when he is in it. I have tried using a long lead and when he is wading in the water I will call him and pull him to me. It works well when he has the rope on. I do not allow him to swim while the rope is on in case in catches on something.

May 22nd, 2006, 11:43 AM
yeah thats the problem... if the rope catches on something... it could be deadly....

May 22nd, 2006, 11:56 AM
How well does she respond to "come" on land? Is it 100% recall everytime? I didn't let Layla to free swim until she came on the first call every time (ok, maybe not 100% of the time, but at least 95%). Then, once she started to free swim, I would let her in the water, and call her back after 5 m, then repeat but call her back after 10 m. I wouldn't let her go farther until she came back at a shorter distance. If she stopped coming back on the 1st or 2nd call, then when she did come back, it would be out of the water and on a leash for her.
I would continue doing fetch games with her in the water, and once she gets the stick/toy etc call her back (even if she would bring it back without the call) Then when she gets back, reward her.

May 22nd, 2006, 03:21 PM
Thanks for the suggestions - her response to "come" on land is very good - once in an odd while she will be temporarily deaf but not often. I am going to try the long line and the "come" when she is just a short ways out - both seem like excellent ideas. She responds to "left" and "right" when she is in the water but not the "come". Thank you!

May 22nd, 2006, 04:43 PM
Yep, you must be extra cautious using the long line.. put it on a harness, use a lightweight material (even cotton webbing) and make sure the water is clear of any deadfall and overhanging trees.

May 22nd, 2006, 11:17 PM
That's one reason Boo wears a life jacket. He used to swim out too far and was nearly invisible.

In his older age, he's much better behaved. It's a combination of keeping the game alive (we throw Kong Air Dogs constantly so his ADD doesn't have time to kick in) and committing ourselves to the fact that whatever the temperature, one of us might have to go swim after him.:D