Question: Dog Afraid Of Water
“Our 1 ½ year-old German Shorthair Pointer has a water phobia. His mother loves the water, and water doesn’t seem to bother the others that were in the litter. My dog’s pedigree (mostly champions) shows Duals and Field Champions so the problem isn’t there. Our dog is trained, but the water thing is embarrassing. Any advice?”
In researching your question through various top field trainers, interestingly enough we found out that the issue your dog has is not all that unique. We found that many of the field champions of today started out being afraid of water. Properly handled, 99 percent of such dogs can overcome the problem.
You should start by introducing your dog to an area of water that does not have a severe drop-off, such as a beach or lake with a gradual slope. With the leash and collar attached, you should get into the water first to about your knees.
While working with your dog to overcome his problem, you should always be in the water with him. You should act the same as you would if you were introducing swimming to a small child; that is, gentle encouragement, lots of praise, and confidence building. You must be persistent, though; exposing the dog to water once a week isn’t enough.