Water Dog?

Maverick and Poppy at the water

We have had some nice Sunday’s here in the past little while, which means we love to take a picnic after church! Our new favorite spot is just up a canyon not too far from us. There is a little lunch area with a river that runs through it and it’s great fun for everyone – and a great training experience for the dogs! 

Abram on a picnic blanket

Maverick, as you know, is a Golden Retriever. Which means he should love the water. Well. I threw a stick in the river for him and he jumped in, totally unaware that being in the water would involve swimming {my bad! I thought this would be more of a natural instinct}. While he is comfortable with walking through it, being totally engulfed wasn’t his idea of a party. He swam to shore so fast he left the stick behind! It was pretty funny. Basically the rest of the time consisted of him trying to perch on the edge of the bank and grab sticks in the river as they would float by. He is a character!

Maverick not wanting to go in the water

Poppy has been slowly getting better and better about water over the years we have owned her. When we first got her, she wouldn’t even walk through a wet spot on the ground. These days she’ll walk in chest deep but she isn’t a huge fan of swimming. The easiest way we have found to train a reluctant dog to the water is LOTS of fun, positive reinforcement and really making them feel safe. I also find stopping before they are super tired and when they have given you a few good tries keeps it from being stressful for them. I think swimming is weird for Poppy because of her deep Doberman chest. {I’ve been tempted to try a doggy life jacket!} Between the two of them not loving the water and the bank having a pretty dramatic drop-off in some areas, we have had some great laughs. I think Maverick will warm up to the idea once it’s warm enough for us to wade in with them. I’m not much of an ice water person!


Going to the Picnic Place is always great practice for socializing the dogs as well. Poppy is an old pro and just lays by us while we eat, no leash needed. Maverick needs practice but after two times is getting much better! I really have to make sure I am putting effort into socialization, where we live is can be hard to run into a lot of other dogs and people just because we don’t see many while we are out walking.

Going to public places or taking them to the city is really good experience. It’s definitely more of a mental workout than a physical one, so typically we will go on a quick walk here first just to drain some physical energy and get them set up for success from the start. Poppy doesn’t need that too much anymore, but it’s still really helpful for Maverick. I have to keep reminding myself he is only 8 months old and still a puppy {or 9…I am really awful at memorizing exact dates…}. His personality is so mellow and easy. He let’s Abram play right near him or on top of him. He waits calmly for Abram to bring him toys and never grabs them out of his hands or puppy bites. He is totally potty trained and sleeps outside of his kennel and can be left alone in the house and not chew or destroy anything. He’s seriously just a good dog. We are still working on excitement around other people, but that will come. Poppy is super awesome too, I think Poppy’s awesomeness contributes a lot to how quickly Maverick picks things up. We have definitely put in a lot of time and work into our dogs, and they aren’t perfect – but that comes with time as well. But seriously, you just can’t train a good personality into your dogs. They just came with those – and we are pretty lucky!

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  • Reply
    jeannie Nickerson
    January 5, 2017 at 11:37 PM I love the story about your dogs....great pictures....Thank you for sharing. They certainly fill a void in our hearts.
    • Reply
      January 6, 2017 at 12:02 AM They do! Thank you for reading :)

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