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  1. #1
    Road Dawg cooltouch's Avatar

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    Default Charlie's First Time in the Pool

    We've been nudging Charlie at poolside to see if he would be interested in jumping in, but nope. He'll drink out of the pool, but he has no interest in jumping in. He doesn't even really like getting wet.

    Yesterday evening, the wife and I were in the pool and Charlie was bouncing around the perimeter, coming right up to the edge, but no farther. Well, I decided to do something about that. So when he came up to me as I was standing in the shallow end, I grabbed his collar with both hands and then just leaned backward, dragging him into the pool. Immediately, there was a flurry of paws as he furiously dog-paddled around. He made it over to the wall and then just held on by his front paws, unmoving. Well, I couldn't have that, so I wrapped my right arm around his torso, and supporting him fully, I brought him away from the wall, and walked about the shallow end, holding him tightly against me. It was funny. His paws were continually moving, like pistons in an engine. Even when I just stopped, they were moving constantly. So eventually I pointed him at the stairs and let go. He paddled over to them, but didn't climb out. He just stood there, half in and half out of the pool. We had to pick up his rear paws and place them onto the top step. As soon as we did that, he clambered out, then immediately shook himself vigorously. And then, just as quickly, he rolled around in the grass rather vigorously for a few minutes. I suppose the latter was an attempt to remove even more water from his coat. I guess it worked. 15 minutes later and he looked like he'd never been in the pool. A Great Pyr's coat is amazing stuff.

    So, what I took away from this experience was that our GP is just not very fond of getting wet. He never panicked, he never showed any signs of fear or anxiety -- no trembling, for example -- rather he was just doggedly determined to get out of the pool. My wife commented about how other dogs seem to love the water, and I explained to her that there are breeds, like the labs, which do seem to have an affinity for water, but that the GP, being more of a mountain breed, wasn't one of them. Too bad. I suppose that, if we really worked at it, we could get him to where he won't mind it so much getting wet, but I'm not at all sure that we'd be able to get him to enjoy the water the way other breeds do. So, I'm of mixed minds whether we should continue to push him toward some sort of water acceptance, or just leave things as they are.

    So, I'm curious -- what have other GP owners done, or tried to do with their dogs in this respect?
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    Best,
    Michael

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member)

    Current Great Pyrenees Owner

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    Quote Originally Posted by cooltouch View Post

    So, I'm curious -- what have other GP owners done, or tried to do with their dogs in this respect?
    We had a pool put in starting when Max was about 9 months old. He has always been indifferent to rain, he thinks hoses and sprinklers are hilarious, he loved the pool hole as it took shape. When the pool was done, he would stand on the top step with his toes in the water, his favorite game was to bite the water. My son called him from in the pool and he jumped in, looked highly displeased, paddled to the edge and got out, refused to get in again. A couple of months passed, he was clearly not scared of water but scared to swim over his head. My son used hot dogs to lure him in to his shoulders, second step, but he would go no further. Then one day, my husband came up beside him and supported his belly and took him all around the pool like a child's swim instructor. And Max decided he would try swimming. This was in July, and he has gotten more confident every time we swim. He now climbs in and swims just because he can.

    He isn't like a lab. He doesn't jump into the water, he walks. He won't fetch his favorite ball thrown into the pool. He doesn't splash around, he swims like a silent, fuzzy shark. He doesn't stay in the pool for hours, after about 20 minutes he wants to go chew his bone and dry off. And I don't think he loves swimming, just wants to be with his family who is swimming and enjoys the cooling effect of the water. But he's now a swimmer.

  3. #3
    Road Dawg cooltouch's Avatar

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    Thanks for the feedback, MttM. I'm glad to read of your success. One of your comments reminded me of a behavior of his since he was a young pup. We have a porcelain Chinese bird bath that we have just laying on the ground in the backyard. Usually it's full of water. He doesn't do this now as much as he used to, but he will paw furiously at the water, often until there is little water left. He loves this apparently, usually drenching himself in the process. So this is one instance where he clearly doesn't mind getting wet. So perhaps I should just persevere, and maybe he'll end up liking swimming as much as pawing water.
    Best,
    Michael

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Shaggys Mom's Avatar

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    We have had 3 Pyrs. Our first, God bless his soul, died just 3 1/2 weeks after we adopted him when an unknown tumor on his spleen ruptured. He was never around water. Our 2ed Pyr, Sir Moos was sure he would melt if is feet got damp! We took him to the beach on a day the waves were not even really waves, and when he saw water coming his way, he moved back. He would nto stay where water could touch his feet. If he was outside and I picked up the water hose to water flowers he ran in like Godzilla was going got him. Jewel, we have not had her to the beach yet. We adopted her in Feb. and just 6 days later while on our walk she was attacked by a pair of pit bulls and we had to wait until she was healed and by then it was getting a little to warm to take her. But hopefully next month.
    Jerry and Moose

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