Introducing A Pointing Breed Puppy To Water

Gary Satterfield

"In introducing them to water," Gary said, "perhaps the most common mistake novices make with pointing breeds is starting when the puppies are too young. I wait until they're at least four months old, when they have better balance and coordination. Another common mistake is using force of any kind in this process."

Gary stressed that, before being introduced to water, the pup should be well socialized and bonded with the person training him. He should obey the "here" command and be comfortable with a strap collar and checkcord.


Gary begins by taking the pup for walks along a narrow stream with very shallow water near the shore. He wades around in the shallows, encourages the pup to follow him, and praises him lavishly when he does. It may take several sessions before the pup ventures into the water, but once he does, a few more hikes will have him romping around in the shallows and enjoying it.



"Of course," Gary said, "we're talking about summertime; warm weather, warm water. A cold-water shock treatment could permanently intimidate the puppy, making him fear water the rest of his life."

If the puppy enjoys retrieving on land, as soon as he begins to splash around in the shallows, Gary starts tossing a small bird-scented retrieving dummy a short distance in shallow (non-swimming) water for the puppy to retrieve.


Then he begins leading the puppy across the stream in various places where the youngster can wade all the way. Gary encourages him with the "here" command, and uses the checkcord to guide, but not drag him across. He praises the puppy all the way across, and especially after they both reach the far side.


"Without the checkcord," he said, "the puppy might learn to escape by running off, which could create all sorts of training problems later on. I use the checkcord here purely for guidance and control. I use the "here" command and praise to encourage the pup to follow me willingly."

As the puppy ages and becomes increasingly more comfortable wading across the stream, Gary begins leading him across in places where he has to swim a few strokes in the middle. Here, too, Gary praises the puppy as he swims and when he reaches the shallows again. In subsequent sessions, he gradually lengthens the distance the pup has to swim.

"Once the youngster has started racing into the water and swimming across eagerly, if he enjoys retrieving on land, I start tossing live hobbled birds, pigeons or quail, across the stream onto the far shore for the pup to retrieve. I don't toss them into the water, because retrieving birds soaked to the skin encourages chewing, which quickly turns into hardmouth."

Introducing Your Puppy To Water


Don't miss tips for your retriever here, or your spaniel here.

 

Live, hobbled pigeons and quail really excite the puppy, but only if he sees them thrown.

This is no time for blind retrieves. Thus Gary makes sure the pup is watching him when he throws the bird.

"To have a dependable retriever, whether on land or in water," Gary added, "you should force-break him, but not until he's between one and two years old."

This tip is from Gary Satterfield of Satterfield Kennels, 2130 Old Mountain Road, Thomasville, NC 27360; (336) 472-6227; satterfieldkennels@yahoo.com. Gary has been training pointing breeds professionally for 33 years; he specializes in producing gun dogs for grouse and quail hunters.

Recommended for You

John Reynolds thought the death of his Springer spaniel Penni was a rare accident, a stroke of bad News

Read & React: Dog Owners Voice Concerns Over Minnesota Trapping Regulations

David Hart - January 21, 2014

John Reynolds thought the death of his Springer spaniel Penni was a rare accident, a stroke of...

It's important to build enthusiasm as not rush the process. Training

How to Introduce a Puppy to Gunfire

Bob West

It's important to build enthusiasm as not rush the process.

Moving forward sometimes depends on moving back. Training

Sticking Points in Gun Dog Training

Dave Carty

Moving forward sometimes depends on moving back.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 12

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

          A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog     By Bob West    The author Puppies

Your Pup's First Year

Bob West - September 23, 2010

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog By Bob West The...

From the 2019 SHOT Show, here are a several new upland shotguns that caught our attention. Shotguns & Ammo

New Upland Shotguns for 2019

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

From the 2019 SHOT Show, here are a several new upland shotguns that caught our attention.

Some shotguns not only look good, they're also built for shattering those orange disks that can give us so much grief. Shotguns & Ammo

10 Great Shotguns for Sporting Clays

David Hart

Some shotguns not only look good, they're also built for shattering those orange disks that...

See More Stories

More Puppies

 Puppy training'the right way is vital to years of successful field trips. Do your best to teach Puppies

Puppy Training Done Right

John McGonigle - April 06, 2016

Puppy training'the right way is vital to years of successful field trips. Do your best to...

In the world of bird dogs, choosing exactly the right puppy is a quixotic venture. Here's how to make a good pick! Puppies

The Puppy Conundrum: Picking the Best One

Dave Carty

In the world of bird dogs, choosing exactly the right puppy is a quixotic venture. Here's how...

Training a new gun dog is an exercise in patience...and that's an understatement. Whining, crying, Puppies

GUN DOG 2015 Puppy Gallery

Jamie Lamb - March 02, 2015

Training a new gun dog is an exercise in patience...and that's an understatement. Whining,...

See More Puppies

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×