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Hi,

My wife and I are hoping to find some suggestions for our miniature Poodle's behavior whenever anyone is in the swimming pool. We recently moved to a new home that has a swimming pool and our 4-year old Charlie is having some trouble coping whenever we go for a swim. He basically starts running around the pool yelping / screaming and he looks like he is trying to get to us but he won't quite jump in.

We never leave him outside unattended because we don't want him in any danger. We've tried holding him in the water with us a couple of times but he does not look like he enjoys it. If we leave him inside the house while we swim, he runs from window to window and tries to break down the door.

I THINK that he believes that he is the alpha of our little pack and therefore has to be in control and protect us. So I'm paying a little more attention to his behavior in other scenarios such as walking etc.

Has anyone had this problem or anything similar?
If so, what did you do to correct the behavior?
I am open to any suggestions - otherwise we'll need to fork out a small fortune on personal training.

Thanks!
Charlie-Poodle's owners
 

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We had something similar happen when we stayed near a lake last summer. Every time we got in the water, our standard poodle would bark frantically from the dock, and eventually jump in to "rescue" us. He calmed down a bit after a week, and we rigged up a life preserver so he could swim better. Even so, he didn't seem to really enjoy swimming unless he was playing with the neighbor's dog.
Maybe you could try feeding him treats while holding him, and make it a pleasant experience? If he is not struggling or barking while you hold him, he may eventually get used to it. If you really think it is related to being alpha, you could start the "nothing in life is free" program: he doesn't eat, go outside, get petted, etc. unless he obeys a command from you. This really helped my dog calm down and stop being agressive, and he still sits before eating or going out.
 

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I believe its more of a fear and being in a situation he has never been in before and not knowing what is required of him.

First off I would get he him used to being by the pool without y'all in it. Have him do simple commands like sit down and stay by the pool with an extra super yummy treat as a reward (like cooked chicken). Then while you are in the pool give him the commands and then reward with chicken every time he listens and is quiet.

Good luck!
 
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