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Old 10-06-2012, 08:41 AM
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What is a good water dog?

Most of us Golden owner/trainers are aware of a stereotype aimed at Goldens as being poor water dogs, or water weak. I've trained all retriever breeds, and am fully aware of this bias, especially among field trial competitors. But I'm also aware that is not accurate as a blanket statement.

But I am curious about popular perceptions of what a "good water dog" is. How do you assess a dog as strong, or weak in water? What are you looking for?

EvanG
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:15 PM
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Thanks for posing this question. Hope you'll get some interesting responses. Don't have any personal experience of this but the little reading I've done mentions Chessies and Labs as being better water dogs. Don't know if that's just stereotyping.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:22 PM
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A good water dog possesses a balance of gifts. It must like water and be a capable swimmer. It must possess "Desire" for for birds. It must be tenacious in achieving it's goals, and have a "never quit" attitude. It must radiate it's love for the job when undertaking a task.

Put all those things together and you have a good water dog. If one or more of those qualities is weak or missing altogether it won't be a pleasing performance no matter how much training the dog receives.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:53 PM
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I like Swampcollie's answer. I would further clarify that by adding that a good water dog doesn't care if the water is cold, has ice on it, is filthy, is covered with lily pads or choked with weeds, they will go as sent and come back with the bird.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:42 PM
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Good question. BaWaaJige use to plow in the water notice I said "use to" something happened and I am not sure what but he is still a good water dog. He will go in any water I send him into he doesnt plow in anymore it is a slow steady process for him but he will not give up either. I had an experience a month or so ago where his bumper sunk and I didnt have another with BaWaaJige swam and swam looking for his bumper putting his head in the water searching for that bumper he is the same way with ducks during a test his sunk again he didnt give up he would look to me for direction but he knew he was to find a bird or bumper and retrieve it. I think that is a good water dog.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:34 PM
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1. Enters water despite temperature, novelty, cover
2. Re-enters water for memory birds
3. Respects the shore
4. Willing to do long distance water marks & blinds

I believe most successful retrievers will need some water force during their training lifetime, it's how much and how they come out the other end of it that demonstrates what they're made of.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:29 PM
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My dog is a good water dog. She is the complete opposite of the stereotypical Golden. She has these qualities: no hesitation in her entry, excellent swimmer, fast swimmer, has a coat that does not hinder her, loves the water , also is not phased by the knee deep muck that is found in the marsh, and does not bring a couple of gallons of water back into the boat. This winter I will find out how well she takes the water during January duck hunting.

She also does well retrieving in the current of streams. This is something I don't hear many talk about.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:57 PM
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Those looking at this thread might enjoy the video that was posted awhile ago. goldenretrieverforum.com/golden-retriever-videos/119312-dogs-view-duck-hunting.html About 2 comments into the thread there's an easy click to the video. Looks like a Golden on a cold day - snow in the background. For anyone who's seen it . . . do you think the dog's really swimming that fast or has the video been sped up? Was also interested to see the dog swim straight on by the ducks in the water to it's target (mark?). Is this typical?
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K9-Design View Post
it's how much and how they come out the other end of it that demonstrates what they're made of.
To me this statement is most reflective of a good water dog. They can all be trained to varying extents to not cheat, and to go greater distance, as well as re-entries. But the less maintenance a given dog needs to perform all these tasks at a high level is what reflects their true water acumen.

This aspect of retriever work is, most of all, why I've said for so many years "you'll never really know what kind of dog you have until you've trained him."

EvanG
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:12 AM
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To add to what else has been said, I think a dog with a good water attitude does not have reticence about doing a water mark made challenging by distance, obstacles in the water etc. Training will only take you so far in this respect, and if the dog does not have guts to do it bred into him those sorts of marks will always be a challenge. I know water courage is one thing I am trying to improve in my dogs through my breeding choices.
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