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Kayleegator

Obsessive Swimming

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OK, here's my girl Kaylee's latest trip... she's 14 months old now.

 

We've been taking her camping lately. We have stayed in public campgrounds with the six-foot-leash rule, but have been able to choose places where she can either run free on the beach (wheee, wow! The speeeeding bullet!) or swim in the lake, to get those BC yayas out.

 

We live near a river, which is usually too cold and fast for her taste, so she hasn't had a lot of swimming experience. But last weekend we were at a lake, where the swimming was fine for us all. It was probably the third time in her life that she'd been able to really swim, and she went for it. The Fetch game was taken VERY SERIOUSLY, to the point that Kaylee was trying to swim out into the middle of this big lake looking for a stick that sank, and her recall is so-so at the best of times. She eventually turned around, but I was stressin: she had been in the water for a long time, like two hours, swimming for most of that time, and I could tell she was really wound out and tired. We got her out of the water only when she could see another stick in my hand, and had to take her back to the campsite, as she wouldn't stop crying for more swimming. The car is the crate: she accepted that a long time ago, so was able to settle and rest, while I did, too.

 

Obviously, we do need a toy that floats, instead of the unreliable stick supply, and I need to keep working on her recall.

 

My husband has been trying to tell me diplomatically that for me to obsess over my dog's OCD is unhealthy, and irritating for him: there's a stress chain there. I'm doing the best that I can with the dog I've got. I'm actually learning to appreciate her shadow fixation as a sort of 'off' button: i.e. on her first canoe ride, she got bored or overwhelmed, I can't always tell, laid down in the bottom of the canoe and stared at shadows. Didn't rock the boat, anyway. At the rowdy campfire party, there was too much stimulation for her, and she laid down and stared at shadows from the fire (I did crate her after a while). She does this whenever she's in a group of people. Like an autistic child that retreats from the world, it's her coping mechanism. I have given up trying to engage her interest in such situations, although at home when it's just us, I still do try to distract her from obsessing.

 

Was I over-reacting to be concerned about my dog swimming herself into an exhausted state? More suggestions for this team of psychos?

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Two hours is far too long. Dogs can and do die of water intoxication, not to mention drowing. I almost lost one of mine to water intoxication and she will never be the same dog. I've finally made the heartbreaking decision to completely retire her. Yes, floating toys are better, and so is a LIFE VEST, but you really need to limit her swimming if she swallows water at all.

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Two hours is far too long. Dogs can and do die of water intoxication, not to mention drowing. I almost lost one of mine to water intoxication and she will never be the same dog. I've finally made the heartbreaking decision to completely retire her. Yes, floating toys are better, and so is a LIFE VEST, but you really need to limit her swimming if she swallows water at all.

 

Thanks for your reply, Liz, that's helpful. I so appreciate the experience and expertise that this list provides!

 

I'm very sorry about your poor girl: such a hard decision!

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Cuz balls float and make great water toys.

 

Lucia is pretty water obssesive and I have to be careful with her. We play 1/2 hour-45 min max in the water or intermittantly all day. (just a few throws in the water to cool off and then back to the trail or beach)

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I know that you have had other OCD issues with Kaylee, like her fixation on lights and shadows, but that doesn't necessarily mean that she is OCD about swimming too, just because she likes it a lot. Lots of BCs will play way past the point of exhaustion just because they are having fun and don't want to quit. You don't need to let her keep swimming just because she wants to. Maybe, if you plan on staying at the lake for awhile, bring a crate along and stick her in her crate after you think she's had enough. If she goes out too far, maybe keep your tosses closer to shore or put a long line on her so you can tow her back to shore if she heads out too deep or ignores your recall.

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Allie and Rusty both love to play and swim in the water and will do it to the point of exhaustion, if left unsupervised. Allie, in particular, has a little bit of an unhealthy obsession with splashing water, so I set a limit for them and even though they HATE to leave the water, I make them get out after about 30 - 45 minutes. We walk around, do something else - rest, play ball/frisbee, hike, etc. We usually end up going back in the water again (make that 4 or 5 times a day :rolleyes: ), but I limit the length of each session. I also second the suggestion about a flotation device.

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I agree 2 hours is too long. I know someone who recently lost their 1 yr old bc to water intoxication. You need to limit the amount of time in the water.

 

I also have a thing against playing with sticks. Sticks can be a very dangerous toy. It can get lodged in the throat, poke an eye out, break off in the mouth and get caught in between the teeth, etc... You really should find a better toy even a tennis ball would be better.

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I don't have much to say aside from what's already been said, but I can relate. I highly recommend a life vest. My Border collie is insane about the water and would swim endlessly if allowed. I usually limit his swims to about 5 minutes in the water, then several more minutes out. As he's getting stronger and building muscle we'll occasionally go for 25 minute swims together out in the lake, but any longer(never much) and he wears a life vest.

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We walk Charlie on the beach every day.He loves the water,so i throw his ball in (tummy deep) just a few times to cool him off ,then i steer his attention to working on the beach away from the water.

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Thanks, everyone, for talking sense to me. I have a much better idea how to manage Kaylee in the water now: what a reasonable swim session is like, pacing, time-outs, toys and tools (life vest). What a great list this is!

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Two of mine, Bailey and Ginger, would also swim well past exhaustion if I let them. Not many lakes around here but they do swim in the pool. I usually limit their water time to 10 or 15 minutes. After about an hour out of the pool I'll let them in for another 10 or 15 min and so on. When we do travel to a lake or the ocean I pretty much do the same thing.

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Don't have too much to add to what others have said. I just wanted to let you know that I've discovered that Ling swallows a LOT less water when I throw her flying squirrel instead of a ball when we're playing in water. Not sure why, maybe her mouth just isn't as wide open or something.

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