April 2nd, 2021
2 min read

Puppies In Training and Water

Dogs, especially Labradors, are known to love water . They are often seen swimming in lakes, walking through puddles, and running through sprinklers. One fascinating aspect I’ve noticed during my guide dog puppy raising experience is the number of puppies in training that don’t take to water as one would expect.

All three of the puppies I’ve raised (two in Japan and one in the US), and many others I’ve come across in guide dog puppy groups, do not have this seemingly well-known Labrador trait of loving water. That was very surprising! Exposing them to water on beach walks and during sprinkler play doesn’t seem to be pleasurable experiences for them. My current puppy, Titan, hesitates slightly when group training involves water, making it clear that he and other puppies lack the innate characteristic of this breed.

Puppies in training must become comfortable with common encounters with water if they are to become successful guide dogs. They must be able to walk in light rain, puddles, near fountains, next to lakes, and other unavoidable wet situations without fear or dislike. Young puppies with a behavior of avoiding water can be taught through training techniques, repetition and food rewards so they understand that water shouldn’t be an unpleasant experience.

Seeing Titan becoming comfortable with water through training is one of many proud moments I’ve had as a puppy raiser. Understanding that each dog has a distinct personality and preferences is a key to puppy raising, and is one reason raising a new dog is like embarking on a new adventure.

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