Making the most of your water dog



The Portuguese Water Dog is an amazing breed of dog.  The picture above is of an outstanding dog called “The Dude” who we sent to Finland a couple of years ago.  He lives with one of my wonderful pwd friends.

This breed is enthusiastic, vibrant, energetic, rambunctious, and funny. At around 23kg (approx 50lb, sometimes more!), these guys can be the centre of your life, so important in fact that you can’t imagine life without one.

On the other side of the coin, they tend to calm down when they sleep!

Ok, so if you’re planning on getting one of these dogs, how are you going to make the most of their energy? In fact, look at the picture to the right of your screen. See those dogs playing, yep, that’s my place, and we do that every day because the dogs love it, and they need it. You should be able to see this pic except if you are on a mobile device, and you’re probably not holding your tongue the right way to make that work, but trust me, I have a great lake and the dogs love it!

As you can imagine, this is not the sort of dog you could give to a group of kids under 10 and say, “well there’s your new pet!”

No, this is an adult’s dog, that the kids can enjoy when fully supervised, and demonstrating appropriate behaviour. This does not mean lying on the dog when they are asleep of course, nor trying to see if they can offer pony rides.

Here are some tips to making the most of your Portuguese Water Dog:

1. find a local dog training class. Dog training is wonderful in a group situation. Nothing replaces the confidence you can get as an owner when your dog is the best behaved in the class. Of course, nothing can replace the embarrassment and subsequent peer group pressure when you haven’t quite put in enough work before the class during the week.
2. go to dog training weekly for at least the first year.
3. get yourself involved in some dog activities such as long walks for a charity
4. run little training sessions at home for your dog. 3-4 sessions, about as long as the ad break whilst watching the news, every day. These make a big difference.
5. work out the rules you’re going to have in the home around the dog and get everyone to agree
6. really work on positive reward. Just about all of the time, the most appropriate way to train a dog is using a reward based approach. Some people use treats such as dried liver. For the most part, the Portuguese Water Dog responds well to praise. I like to say to my guys, “you are the smartest dog in the world, you should be going to university!”
7. every dog goes through stages where they seem to regress. Yep, just like kids. So when that happens, it’s back to basics. A sort of nothing in life is for free approach works well.
8. exercise your dog every day. All breeds benefit from sprinting twice daily. Teach your dog to retrieve and that’s the easiest way to get them sprinting. Work your way up to 2 sessions of sprinting a day for between 10-20 mins.
9. if things aren’t working, think to yourself, “what part of my behaviour and/or the family’s behaviour do I need to change in order to get a change in behaviour from my dog? And if you’re still stuck, call me and we can talk it through.
10. Don’t let your visitors ruin the progress with your dog. If visitors do give you issues, offer them a cold drink, and then firmly secure them in a dog crate until they are ready to go home. I’m sure your human visitors will react better if they know that their inappropriate behaviour will result in them getting a time out! (that’s the human, not the dog)

have a great day.


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