Summer has officially begun for the Newfies! This weekend was the NCNC water seminar up in Lincoln which kicks off the water season for us here in California. The pond was especially large thanks to the usual crew who cleaned it out and prepared it for training and for the upcoming tests in July and September. The weather was hot, but it made the pond even more inviting even if you didn't have a dog to train....yes, that was me just hanging out in the water "helping" as much as I could.
Since obedience is a large, and important, part of water training we began with the basics of teaching the dogs how to pay attention to you, how to mark an object (see Summit above looking for the hot dog!) and pay attention to where you are pointing....
Here's Lucy watching the signal and looking hard for that hot dog!
Then it was off to the pond for the first swim for some puppies, and a welcomed dip in the cool water for those who already knew how to swim. You would think that it would be so natural for them to swim the first time they are in the water but you would be surprised that it takes some puppies 2-3 tries before they get the hang of it. We saw a few who took to it quickly but there were two that tried to climb their way out of the water each time. Practice makes perfect and they'll get it.
We headed back to the barn after swimming to learn holding techniques. A new way of teaching the hold command to me started off with having your dog "bite down", gently, on your fingers so you could tell if the dog was actually holding on to your hand or not. If they aren't then they certainly won't hold a bumper! Here's Breezy learning how to "take it".
A brief time out to say "hi" to the rescue puppies!
We ended the seminar with introducing dogs to the back of the row boat where eventually they will learn to jump off into the water. For the older dogs we actually jumped off onto dry land but for the younger dogs we had them just jump off and then carried them off the platform so they wouldn't hurt their legs. Foyle hated getting on the platform last year but by the end of the summer he was zipping around in a motor boat with his head hanging over the side just as happy as he could be after a day of swimming.
It was an exhausting and long day but it was fun meeting all the new Newfie owners and talking to friends we haven't seen in a very long time. Foyle stayed home because it was too hot for him (a whopping 97 degrees!) and it's better for him to stay as cool as possible but we'll head up there to swim every chance we can get.