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Not to sidetrack the thread, but Episode One, at 25:00 ... Tim Flood's whistle! How interesting! I've never seen anything like it! It's pretty cumbersome, but it has a lovely tone, it seems.

 

More sidetracking -- I love these videos -- watch them over and over while I'm supposed to be working -- good thing I work at home and pay for my own bandwidth :).

 

Another series I found very interesting is on U-tube - by a British filmmaker - it seems to be a bit of oral history as well as sheepdog training. Very informative.

 

- this is the first of four parts --
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I guess if asked "so what?" my response would be that it is enjoyable

 

Enjoyable to who? Apparently the dog doesn't care for it. Not all dogs are going to love a particular activity, just as not all humans love the same activities. I'd imagine you wouldn't insist on doing formal obedience or agility or freestyle with one of your dogs if your dog didn't enjoy it. Or perhaps I'm wrong; would you persist in getting the dog to accept the activity--swimming, freestyle, or whatever--because you enjoy doing it with the dog?

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Enjoyable to who? Apparently the dog doesn't care for it.

 

Putting the quote that you referred to back into context will help answer the question. What I said was . . .

 

I guess if asked "so what?" my response would be that it is enjoyable and I want to give her a chance to enjoy it.

 

The "her" to whom I refer is Tessa. Your statement that she doesn't care for it is somewhat premature. I haven't even taken her to water with us yet. I have no idea whether she cares for it or not. She might already love it and swim like a fish. She might be afraid of it. She might not even know yet what she thinks of it. I have no idea. If she doesn't like it, will her opinion change when she sees her entire crew go tearing into the water, having a blast, without her? I have no way to know.

 

Going back to your question, "enjoyable to who?", that would be to three of my other four dogs. And even the fourth of those enjoys water as long as she can keep her feet under her, which I am happy to accommodate when we are all out enjoying water together.

 

And yes, it is enjoyable to me, too. I love watching them play in the water, swim, retrieve, and have a blast. I do want her to share in that and I mean to give her every opportunity to do so, although I would never force her into it in any way. But whether or not she cares for water remains to be seen.

 

When I do introduce her to water, I will make sure to do it in a way that sets her up to give it a fair try. And we probably will try many times and in a few different ways before I would make any decision about her not liking it. That is, unless she just takes to it, which could happen.

 

Not all dogs are going to love a particular activity, just as not all humans love the same activities. I'd imagine you wouldn't insist on doing formal obedience or agility or freestyle with one of your dogs if your dog didn't enjoy it. Or perhaps I'm wrong; would you persist in getting the dog to accept the activity--swimming, freestyle, or whatever--because you enjoy doing it with the dog?

 

Whatever the activity, if I want to try it out with my dog, I do everything possible to give the dog a fair chance to see if he or she really enjoys it. Until the dog learns some foundation skills and really gets a feel for what the activity is like, he or she does not actually have any way to know whether he or she enjoys the activity or not.

 

One thing to take into consideration is that there is a big difference between a dog who truly resists something and a dog who just doesn't know what is really going on yet. I spent several years working with my indifferent Lab mix on Agility before she really "turned on" to it and started to love it for its own sake. She didn't "hate" it at any point, but for quite a long time she preferred, very much, to sit on the sidelines and visit with people. How much we would have missed if I had decided, "well, she doesn't enjoy it" and left her on the sidelines. She certainly loves it now.

 

Dean actually resisted the water at first. He only went in because Speedy did, and he would not go past ankle height. I did the activity with the ball that I described earlier in this thread and within days he was swimming. He loves swimming passionately now. He would really have missed out on a lot if I had taken his initial response to the water as his final "judgment" on the matter.

 

Yes, there is a point at which it is prudent to stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I have discontinued activities (activities that I enjoy) with one dog or another when it is clear that even after understanding the full picture, that particular activity is not the best one for that particular dog because he or she dislikes it or is simply not suited for it. But I like to give the dog a fair shot at understanding the whole picture before making that decision. I have seen it happen often enough that the dog does, in fact, enjoy a particular activity, wholeheartedly, once he or she comes to understand it or experience it beyond his or her initial introduction to it. That doesn't always happen, but it does happen. I've seen the opposite happen too.

 

Heather Rae really hasn't given us any details about her dog, his or her experience with water, nor the extent to which he or she dislikes it, nor the context in which he or she has show dislike for water. Without that info, there really is no way to know whether the dog will change his or her mind on the matter. Sometimes it does happen.

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Heather Rae really hasn't given us any details about her dog, his or her experience with water, nor the extent to which he or she dislikes it, nor the context in which he or she has show dislike for water. Without that info, there really is no way to know whether the dog will change his or her mind on the matter. Sometimes it does happen.

 

I don't have a dog yet, I'm patiently awaiting the right one as well as gleaning information based on people who do have one and their experiences. While I hope to find a dog who does enjoy water, as I find a dog who hates water to be a bit tiring when it comes to giving them a bath or hosing some mud off of them and I would love to be able to take him/her with me to swim, I was hoping that it was possible to change the mind of a dog if they don't seem to like it.

 

In some cases where you might want to put the dog in the bath tub because it's cold outside and their fur has become soiled, having a dog trying to do anything to get out of the bath tub isn't exactly fun and can be dangerous to the both of you. Sure maybe their are other options to bathing your dog but if it's the simplest and cheapest method and it were possible to teach a dog to at least tolerate the water, if not love it, then I would rather take the time to teach it rather than skirt around the issue for the rest of his/her life.

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I don't have a dog yet, I'm patiently awaiting the right one as well as gleaning information based on people who do have one and their experiences. While I hope to find a dog who does enjoy water, as I find a dog who hates water to be a bit tiring when it comes to giving them a bath or hosing some mud off of them and I would love to be able to take him/her with me to swim, I was hoping that it was possible to change the mind of a dog if they don't seem to like it.

 

In some cases where you might want to put the dog in the bath tub because it's cold outside and their fur has become soiled, having a dog trying to do anything to get out of the bath tub isn't exactly fun and can be dangerous to the both of you. Sure maybe their are other options to bathing your dog but if it's the simplest and cheapest method and it were possible to teach a dog to at least tolerate the water, if not love it, then I would rather take the time to teach it rather than skirt around the issue for the rest of his/her life.

 

Heather, a dog that enjoys water isn't necessarily going to like a bath. Robin runs like the devil is after him if he sees anyone going near the garden hose because he thinks that he might have to suffer the indignity of getting mud hosed off him (he was regular mudbug as a pup ). He'll come, if I ask, and willingly stand for a hosing off because he knows he's going to get a soft towel dry and a yummy treat afterward - and I make it as quick as possible. I don't like to hose them off in cold well water and do so only in extreme circumstances.

 

I've also taught him and Brodie to jump in and out of the bathtub in the house. (Lady is too old now to jump as the tub is a whirlpool) We have a detachable hand shower spray nozzle so there's no water in the tub when they jump in. I make those baths quick and painless.

 

When he and the other two come in on a rainy day, I always gently towel dry them and give them a special treat to reinforce this as they don't get baths all that often. I give each dog a nice rubdown every night - from nose to tail, legs to paws to make sure that they're used to not just having their belly rubbed, but their entire body so that they can be handled if necessary (plus, it's a good way to catch any sore or tender spots early). I open their jaws, "Say ahhh" just for the heck of it every day or so as a trick so if I ever do have to pry their jaw open in an emergency, hopefully, they won't be too scared.

 

Please forgive me if I seem too forward, but your expectations for what a pup/dog will be like when you get it seem a little high -- a dog isn't "manufactured" to order, like a a computer built from Dell -- they come like children, with individual personalities and quirks. You can try to stack the deck by selecting the right parents, but the dog will be an individual whether you get a puppy, an older dog, or a rescue and once you get it, you'll imprint on it through training and then it will start to become the dog you want it to be but it may never be "that perfect dog" and you'll just have to accept that, just like a parent accepts a child the way the child is.

 

The one good thing about a Border Collie is that even the rough coats really don't need a bath that often. Most of the mud will fall off pretty quickly if you give them a place to dry off - a quick flick with the brush around the tough spots, and they're as good as new :)

 

Mud Season -- Spring 2010

robinmud.jpg

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Quinn saw swimmable water for the first time at 5 years of age when I took him to Lake Michigan. I had no idea if he would be interested. His excitement came close to the first time he saw sheep. And when I tossed a toy in the water he leapt in and swam like he had done it all his life. One of my friend's dogs had lots of concerns about going in past his belly. By the owner going in with him and encouraging him to retrieve, he made great progress.. It also helped to see the other dogs jumping in and getting to the toys when he lagged behind. Never underestimate the power of friendly competition. :)

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Heather, a dog that enjoys water isn't necessarily going to like a bath.

 

Very true. Quinn doesn't like baths at all though he has gone from being upset with me for hours after I first bathed him, to tolerating the procedure and jumping in the tub on command. My other two dogs don't like water under any circumstances but they accept that baths happen. I don't think I gave them any other option and wasn't put off by their struggles and vocalizations the first couple time they were put in a tub. So they figured out 1. I was going to be stubborn about this and 2. They would survive the experience and life would go on just fine. Really, I can't think of any dog off the top of my head that actually likes baths. I'm sure they're out there but probably are a minority of canines.

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Heather Rae,

I think swimming and being bathed or hosed off are such entirely different things that it's like comparing apples and oranges. Just like learning to have their nails trimmed or letting themselves be brushed (or perhaps even shaved), learning to stand to be hosed off or bathed is something one can generally teach a dog fairly easily. I remember when I first got Kat and gave her a bath. She kept snapping at the water. She was so new to me that I really didn't know what to make of her behavior. Later I discovered that for her snapping at the water is a form of play.

 

One of my dogs is a real pigsty. He doesn't swim--has no desire to. (He's also a fear biter, so it's not as if you're going to force anything on him.) He will, however, get in a stock tank or kiddy pool to cool off, and he stands unleashed to be hosed off (since he tends to tromp through mud on every possible occasion) year round (like right now when I have lambs, which fascinate him so he tap dances out near the fence while watching the lambs, and after all the rain we've had, he literally coats himself in mud with his "dancing with sheep" activities).

 

As for water activities, some of my dogs love to swim (fetch games) and some don't. If we go to a pond, I'll throw balls for the swimmers to retrieve, but if some of them choose to just run along the bank then that's their choice. From my perspective, part of playing with my dogs is letting them choose what to do or not do (within reason of course) and it seems to me that the ones who prefer not to swim are still having fun.

 

A Ranger "swimming" story: When we were at Edgeworth in 2009, Ranger was about 4 months old. There's a wonderful pond on the property and even in October it's usually plenty warm enough for the dogs to go swimming. Ranger was playing with the other dogs and not paying attention to where he was going. He looked like one of those cartoons as he ended up running out into the pond (you know, looking like he was running across the water, till he sank in it) without realizing what he was doing. By the time he realized what he'd done, he had to swim for shore. The surprise on his face was pretty funny. He's not a dog who generally swims for the sake of swimming, but if he's been working and is hot, he'll tool around a pond some, and he will fetch in water. Twist, on the other hand will just walk into the pond till she's swimming depth and just proceed to swim around until she feels like getting out again (or someone calls her out). She's the only one of my dogs that swims for the sake of swimming (Jill used to, but not anymore).

 

Twist will also take flanks while swimming, an attribute that came in handy one year at one of Robin's trials when a young dog ran the sheep into the pond....

 

J.

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It took me about four years to get my oldest female to like water. She has been a dock dog ever since. :) And she will be 13 this year and is still jumping!

 

All my dogs swim and none of them started out that way, it took lots of effort. I only have one that still would rather not but will to retrieve a ball if someone else from the pack isn't there to get to it first (maybe she just doesn't like the race like the other ones).

 

Katelynn

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Julie - Your Ranger story reminds me of Celt when he was fairly young. We were at a friend's place with a nice pond, and I was standing on the little dock that went out into the pond quite a ways. Celt "found" me and came racing around the pond, out the dock, and then did a very credible "Wile E. Coyote runs off the cliff" imitation with all four feet flying - until gravity won and he went straight down into the water. Not a happy young dog at all!

 

Maybe that's why he's like Katelynn's dog - if he knows he can get to the ball first, he'll swim. If there's a doubt or he knows he can't, he'll stay on the shore or ankle-deep in the water, and excitedly watch someone else fetch.

 

Megan swims for the pure enjoyment, and will wade in and take off swimming any chance she gets. Dan is with Celt - he'll swim readily for a reason but not otherwise.

 

And love of water and getting a bath are definitely two completely different things. Thankfully, I have dogs that are easy to bathe but, also thankfully, I don't bathe them - a hosing for everyday mud and a spot cleaning with hose and shampoo for nasty, stinky, rolled-in-something gooky is all we ever seem to have to do.

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In some cases where you might want to put the dog in the bath tub because it's cold outside and their fur has become soiled, having a dog trying to do anything to get out of the bath tub isn't exactly fun and can be dangerous to the both of you. Sure maybe their are other options to bathing your dog but if it's the simplest and cheapest method and it were possible to teach a dog to at least tolerate the water, if not love it, then I would rather take the time to teach it rather than skirt around the issue for the rest of his/her life.

 

As others have said, the way a dog responds to bathing and swimming can be two very different things. Dean is less than thrilled about showers, although he tolerates them when he absolutely needs one (I don't bathe my dogs unless there is a particular need), and he deplores going out in the rain to do his business, although he will do it since he doesn't really have a choice. But give him an opportunity to swim or play in his sprinkler, and he's overjoyed. He really does view these things differently.

 

If you happen to end up with a dog who has an issue with bathing, you have a lot of options for teaching the dog to accept getting into the tub to be washed. And chances are it won't be a problem. Since it is a concern of yours, you could always plan to incorporate "tub manners" into your household training right from the start. It might not even be a problem, but if it should be, there are many things you can do to move your dog toward this goal. This might require more effort on your part with some dogs more than others, but I'd say that with most dogs, what you are hoping to accomplish can be done, even if the dog doesn't necessarily have his or her party hat on for it.

 

One thing that I've found, Heather Rae, is that I've found that I've been able to accomplish many things with my dogs that I've read in various places "can't be done". Often it takes knowing the situation and knowing the dog to really determine what a particular dog's "issues" might be and what is simply a lack of understanding on the dog's part and what really is, or is not, possible for that dog. No dog is going to be 100% perfect in every way - they all have their likes and dislikes and quirks that we might not always be particularly happy about, just as they all have qualities that we fall head over heels in love with. They all have characteristics and qualities and behaviors that we need to work with them on and most of them are "easy" in other ways.

 

My point is that when you read that something "can't be done", realize that is one person's point of view. There may well be many who have accomplished that very thing. And I think that's a good thing to know. :)

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I think for a lot of dogs there's a difference between jumping into a body of water and splashing around and having water poured on you while you stand there.

 

Samantha loved swimming and running through puddles, lickety split. Fetching the ball in a puddle or pond or at the beach was absolute nirvana for her.

 

Being bathed was torture. Maybe it was the intensity of the sound, or just being so confined for the duration of the torture, but swimming and being bathed were at the opposite ends of the spectrum for her.

 

Ruth

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I think for a lot of dogs there's a difference between jumping into a body of water and splashing around and having water poured on you while you stand there.

 

Samantha loved swimming and running through puddles, lickety split. Fetching the ball in a puddle or pond or at the beach was absolute nirvana for her.

 

Being bathed was torture. Maybe it was the intensity of the sound, or just being so confined for the duration of the torture, but swimming and being bathed were at the opposite ends of the spectrum for her.

 

Ruth

 

Can't you just picture the Norman Rockwell painting - the gleeful child at the swimming hole vs. the frustration of having to endure the Saturday night scrub down? :)

 

Liz

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Secret swims for the pure joy of swimming and biting at the water coming out of the hose is such a high reward for her that I've actually incorporated it into some of her agility training. But bath time? Are there actually dogs that ENJOY getting baths? Mine simply tolerate it because they know they have no choice. They don't try to jump out of the tub because they know they have to stay there until released. It's simple training. Dogs don't come out of the womb knowing how to behave.

 

My lab mix was scared of water. I actually taught him to swim on a boat landing where we could control the depth. I just kept throwing the toy out a little further until eventually he figured out how to swim. To this day he still prefers fetching in shallow water because he thinks making huge splashes is fun, but he'll swim out as far as you can throw to retrieve something.

 

My little dog wears a life vest. It makes him feel much safer and his swimming technique improved a lot with it -- But he doesn't willingly go out far enough to where he has to swim, that only happens when I drag him out for a swimming lesson.

 

Meanwhile Secret is out in la-la land swimming in circles. Even though she was a winter baby and didn't see water until she was probably 9 or 10 months old, she pretty much took to it immediately.

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I think the difference in the way a dog feels about swimming/puddle stomping, etc. and a bath can be summed up in one word.

 

Shampoo.

 

Let's face it - you may think the stuff smells great - but for the dog, it's like having a spray of Raid in the face. It alters the normal medly of odors that means me to a dog - and to other dogs that know him/her. It's about a thousand times stronger to them than it is to you. Dogs aren't meant to smell like strawberries or whatever. And they don't like it. A dog can smell one drop of bleach dissolved in a 50 gallon drum of water. How strong must that open bottle of baby shampoo smell?

 

If someone offered to rub hot water and spar varnish into your skin, wouldn't you run screaming? Well, an invitation to hop in the tub, or the appearance of a garden hose coupled with a towel and a reeking bottle of shampoo is waaaaaaaayyyy different than romping in the surf or a nice, green algae-filled pond.

 

Dead seagull or deer crap is a different story. Now that is parfum par excellence to the canine set. If somebody comes up with shampoo that smells like grilled salmon or beef stew, a dog may become more enthusiastic about bath time. But until then, I'll stick with plain water for the most part. After all, how clean does a dog need to be?

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