How to train a poodle to like water?
I have an absolutely wonderful 6 month old standard poodle. So far she's been super easy to train most things. I keep having to remind myself (and other people) that she's still a puppy.
I spend a lot of time on the water - swimming, canoeing, cottaging, beach walking, etc, and really, really want her to learn to like water - and swim!
She really doesn't mind the rain - even soaking rain. But she HATES getting her feet wet.
I have tried pretty much everything, it seems...
- She's been bathed, standing in a few inches of water, with lots of good rubbing and praise, every week or two since I got her, and tolerates it.
- I took her camping - I hopped on rocks in the water, and she followed with lots of praise. Until she couldn't without getting her feet wet, then she just whimpered pitifully.
- I went to the beach (3x, various lakes) and walked with my feet in the water... she stayed scrupulously on shore. I sat for a while, and coaxed her to drink and let her wander. She stayed as far as possible from that water thing. I took her on a hike - we had to cross a creek. She balked, then cleared it with the biggest jump i have ever seen. She walks around puddles on our walks.
- I took her canoeing 3x. She curls up in the bottom in her lifejacket and sleeps. The last time she drank water from the side of the canoe
- I bought her a plastic kiddy pool last week and set it up on the porch. I gave her an afternoon to get used to it (she decided it was a giant water bowl). I then tried to coax her to put feet in with a treat. Nope. I played with her favourite balls, and eventually tossed them in. Poison coated,obviously. I floated a bowl with treats/people food once or twice a day for a few days, and she enjoyed that game, finally figuring out not to be spooked by how it moves in the water and eating from the bowl. But wouldn't put her feet in just waited for it to get close enough for her to catch. I emptied the kiddy pool, and taught her in and out for treats. Great game! I let it fill with less than an inch of rain water overnight, and she jumped in, and now refuses to jump in it again. Today, I left a bowl, dead centre, in the inch of water, with a spoonful of tuna in it. I let her have some and slowly inched it out to where she needed to put a foot in. Nope. Even tuna is not worth wet feet.
I am waiting for a really hot day to drive her over to my aunts an hour or so away - she has a lab, and a pond. Maybe the lab will teach her?
I really, really want her to learn to swim. At this point I'd settle for willingly getting her feet wet. Any other suggestions?