As the weather warms up, and Spring turns to Summer, for many of us our training focus will move from the field to the water.
For people looking to expose their young pup to the water, please pay special attention to water temperatures and remember, do not force a hesitant dog into cold water. It is imperative that our young prospect develop a true love of the water, rather than simply overcoming any objections to the water.
For those of you who are working their dog toward a UT testing, I recommend that the retrieve training be fully in place. The worst situation possible is that your dog decide that he or she is going to mishandle a retrieve while on the other side of a body of water. As with most things; an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Make sure you have the tools in place to make controlled corrections (if necessary) during the retrieve, regardless of the dog’s physical location.
I would highly recommend the following book as a guide to fully training the retrieve:
Smart Fetch: The Complete Guide to All Phases of Force Fetching for Retrievers
Evan Graham – Copy Cow Press
For all who are doing the more demanding water work, please do not forget the importance of conditioning. Duck searches and long marked retrieves take a tremendous amount of energy, so please, do not expect or pressure a dog to work beyond the capabilities of their physical conditioning. Also, remember that even in cool water, a dog is still susceptible to dangers of over heating.