More than three years ago we wrote an article Water Dachshunds! Yes, they can swim and retrieve.This post gets quite a few hits on a regular basis, especially in summer. Well, I would like to update it with some fresh information and pictures.
I noticed that some handlers are concerned that their young blood tracking prospect might not like the water and he may be reluctant to enter a swamp or cross a creek when in pursue of a wounded game. I think it is very rare for a dog tracking a wounded deer to refuse to follow it through water. Usually when a dog is in a hot pursue of game, his adrenaline and prey drive are high, and a body of water is not perceived as a big obstacle. Under these circumstances dogs will go through water even though they might not particularly like it. yet, it is good to be prepared in advance and to know for sure what your dog is capable to do and what is reasonable to expect.
Also let's face it, in summer you do not track wounded deer, and your tracking dog might be "just" a family and companion dog during off-season. It is so much more fun for the whole family if the dog loves to swim.
We introduce puppies to our pond when they are young, but even then we can see differences in their attitude towards the water. The below video shows three 10-week-old puppies from our T-litter.
As you can see Theo's temptation is strong enough to follow me into the pond and swim after his toy. He pulls it by a string out of the water. Another pup, Thor, showed (not caught on camera) a willingness to get wet and swim. Only Tuesday so far refused to enter the pond. We will be patient with her and most likely with some encouragement she will be able to do it.
This summer we had an interesting experience with Mielikki, who just a week ago turned 6 months old. Mielikki is a ball fanatic so I used one of her balls to lure her into the water. I found an old, light ball that floats very well and is highly visible. It has two holes that you can pull a string through. When I started to play with the ball on the string in our pond, Mielikki could not help herself and had to grab it. So she ended up in the water, and swimming came really naturally to her. At the end of the first 15 minute-long session she would literally threw herself into the water after the ball and she would dive.
|Mielikki at the end of the first swimming session.|
Today Mielikki graduated to a small bumper, which is much easier for her to grab and fetch. She showed as much interest in it as in the ball few days ago.
She has no fear when it comes to getting submerged fully in the water. She is a very confident swimmer, and even when she goes under for a few seconds, it does not have any effect on her.
We have some big catfish in our pond, and today I threw some dry dog kibble for them when Mielikki was with me. They came really close, and Mielikki had a chance to see them for the first time.
She was fascinated by the catfish and wanted to go after them so badly. I did not let her though.
The catfish is our pond are not afraid of dogs as you can see in the picture below. It shows Keena and Bernie swimming after they got quite hot running rabbits in our field. And in between the two dogs there is catfish.