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Puppy Swim Lesson

August 22, 2013
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Ketli hiding under the car after her first swim.

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Can you see her otter tail? I think it gets cut off when published on the post. Too bad.

My chocolate Labrador retriever went swimming for the first time this week. Up until now she only dabbles at the edge of any water we pass on our hikes. Since I think she should swim before winter sets in I want to get her in the cold New England water while it is at its warmest. (not warm enough for most non-cold climate residents but as warm as it is going to get in New Hampshire). Many people will think I am crazy to feel she must swim before the cold weather but in order to get her in I had to go in myself. That means the water has to be warm enough for me too.

Our first two swims were at Rocky Pond in Hollis, NH. I put on my water shoes so I could wade out far enough to force her to paddle a couple of times. I lowered both of us into the water and just cuddled her and took time to look around. I coaxed Cabot, my ten year old golden retriever to come in after a few sticks so she could watch. I hoped maybe she would wiggle out of my arms and follow him. No such luck.

After a while I let her go and she paddled smoothly to shore. Her black/brown little body looked like an otter with that little tail floating along the pond’s surface.

They (the show people) say that Labs should have “otter tails”. I never understood that. But seeing her swim made it clear what they are looking for when they judge conformation.

She was as cute at the dickens as she paddled to shore about four times. Since I could not hold her and stay by her side in the water holding my phone camera I could only get photos of the “after swim”.

We will swim for the third time today since it is hot and humid. I am going to try to pick a spot in the sun so that her fur will absorb the heat and she will feel warmer in the water.

When I get my husband or a friend to come with us I will get some photos or videos of her first swimming. Sam? Rebecca?

One more thing: she did way better than Cabot on his first swim. Cabot floundered around splashing awkwardly in the water. He has never liked water despite being a retriever. Our older golden retriever,  Emma,  jumped right in when she was about four months old and did a triple retrieve. I had never seen such a thing and have been in awe of her innate desire to retrieve since then. I think Ketli falls somewhere between the two in her swimming and retrieving ability and drive.

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