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My golden is 5 1/2 and he hasnt ever been real adventurous in the water. the fact that i didnt take him swimming a whole lot when he was a puppy probably has somehting to do with it.. but I still cant get him to get in past where he can touch.. with treats, toys, me in front of him..anything! He is especially hesitant in the ocean. Any ideas?
 

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for pumba (although she is still a puppy) it was fetch.. she was also scared to go where she couldn't touch either (probably because a "friend" threw her off the end of the dock the first time we took her to a lake :mad:) but i was gradually able to coax her by throwing a toy out for her, a little further each time and now she loves it on a hot summers day, so much she jumps into the swamp on our farm every chance she gets now :doh:
 

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If you have a nice, calm lake to take him then try a flexy lead. That way you can walk with him into the lake and have control of him. Believe it or not some retrievers can't swim due to structural defects. Try to stay calm and let him get used to different depths. Take extra tasty treats with you to give him. If he can swim then he will eventually have to in order to stay afloat. If he can't swim then he will have his head up and front feet only will be flailing in the water.
 

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I would not expect him to go into an ocean that has waves. Try a lake or calm water. If you have any other dogs who are swimmers (friends) try going with them too. If he is a fetcher and so are they (lots of 'ifs') then have them fetch from the water. Don't make a big deal of it. Don't scare him. If you can float out there with him and gently get him over his head but lift his back end so he paddles that may help. Honestly, it just kind of happens. I had to teach Angelina when she was almost 2 and I did go out with her and hold her in my arms as it got deeper, then immediately put her back to shallow. She had spent so much time on someone's porch everything was new when we got her at 14months. She would even bark at rocks!

Good luck!
 

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Ranger's not a swimmer unless there's others dogs around...then his competitive drive kicks in. I had him for two years and he never swam, despite river outings. He'd wade in up his chest, then run out, then wade in and run out. I tried carrying him into the water one time when we were both in the lake and as soon as his paws didn't touch the ground, he got a panicked look on his face and then swam to shore as fast as he could.

But, the second he was in a pack of dogs with tennis balls being thrown? He was in the river faster than the others and getting the ball first! I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. But, he still on wades in up to his chest if he's by himself.
 
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