Hunting Q & A

How can I help my dog with water entry?

How can I help my dog with water entry?

Q: I have a yellow lab that is one-year-old. I saved him from a kennel at five-months-old. I have been training him now for three months and although he does very well on double and triples in and out of the water he has one problem; with water entry. He will enter the water after a few times telling him, he just seems to want to slowly ease into everything only after asking repeatedly. On land it only takes once saying "back". In water it is like 10 times. Once he is in the water though, he will effectively retreive, bring back and hold. What can I do to help him just go for it and not worry about the entering process? - Brad Wheelock

A: Brad, although I am much more qualified to cover calling and regular hunting tips (my boy Finnegan is quite an unruly rascal!) here are some suggestions.

When introducing a dog to water work, I would start with both you and your dog actually standing in shallow water and then sending him for a series of very simple marks. I would urge you to keep the work to short singles in an effort to help your dog gain confidence which may be why he is refusing water entries.

If your dog shows a stronger interest in birds than dummies, I would suggest enticing him with a bird and using that for your water work rather than dummies until he gains the enthusiasm and confidence. If those methods fail, I would suggest working with a pro trainer or another experienced handler and work through force fetching drills as a way to eliminate the dog refusing any of your commands. I hope this helps!

Good hunting!

—John Devney