Tuesday Time-out

I really hoped this year would be the year we got Shiva to go swimming. Not just the fake swimming she does either, where she’ll go in as far as her belly and then act like the water has turned into molten lava. Real, paddling around, can’t-touch-the-bottom swimming. This summer was her third summer with us. Her third summer with this in her backyard:

She even has her own private dock! What could be better? She should have several dock diving championship ribbons by now. One of the reasons I wanted a dog is because I thought our little house on our little lake would be every dog’s dream. I thought we were going to have to work hard to keep her out of the water. Instead, I have to bribe her with treats to get her to peak over the side. You have no idea how long it took to get even this far.

The cat is braver near the water than she is. Shiva always manages to look so tortured. There must be evil dog-eating fish in our lake that only come out when I’m not looking.

It’s more than a little embarrassing. Our neighbours frequently invite their friends over for a swim in the lake. These friends usually bring their black lab who has no problem jumping into the water. I love watching him swim all the way to the other side after a bumper. He seems to have so much fun. I’ve tried getting Shiva to watch him, thinking it might help her realize the Dartmouth Sea Monster is nothing but a myth.

“See him out there, Sheevs? There are no monsters. Ogo Pogo lives in the Okanogan, not in our dinky artificial lake.”

Judging by her expression, she doesn’t believe me.

“Oh yeah? Well what about all those ripples? Huh? What’s causing those?”

“It’s the muskrat, Sheevs. A rodent.”


We recently bought her a life jacket in hopes it will help her feel safer out there. She’s worn it a few times inside and seems to be okay with it. We shall see what happens when we try taking her down to the lake. She may not be as thrilled with her new outfit when it’s paired with water. But at least she’ll look cute in the photos.

That’s all that matters, right?

28 thoughts on “Tuesday Time-out

  1. Awww wish there was something I could do. Does she like that black lab? Have you let them play? Water buddies sometimes are the best teachers.. also have YOU gone swimming? Or take a canoe out and see if she will go in to follow? Some dogs just never will swim, they go all the way up to their chest and stop. I have a friend who has black lab that won’t… so don’t feel bad, it would be a great way to wear her out though. Are there any special toys she loves. What about rabbit fur? maybe you could put some of that on a bumper on a string (so you can bring it back in if she doesn’t go in for it) Get her amped about it in the yard then throw it in?
    Beautiful pond dogless or not… maybe she doesn’t want to disturb the peace (no can’t be that right??)


  2. The first time Barbie saw water, we had taken her to the beach and I let her off leash. She went barrelling into the ocean as if the water would support her weight, just like the sand. It led to a spectacular stack, and her legs in the air, the water was being drawn back out to sea, and I was sprinting on the soft sand thinking I’d have to rescue her. She got up and never tried to walk on water again. She doesn’t swim though. I think if we were to take her boating she would definately need one of those life jackets – with her low bodyfat levels I think she will sink to the bottom like a rock.


  3. Poor Shiva. What an amazing thing to have right in your backyard!! I have a lab who lives for water and then I have a bloodhound who would rather do anything than have to be in the water so I feel your pain in a way. I actually bought Haylie (lab) a life vest because she swims so much and so far away I was afraid she might get to tired 🙂 I hope with some time and life jacket shiva will warm up to the water and if not, realize you are not alone 🙂


  4. I have one Poodle who is a total water dog, see water, jump in. And one who growls when his water dish splashes him. It has to be something they are born with. I don’t think all the conditioning in the world would change them.


  5. Halfway through your post, I was thinking ’bout commenting on getting a life jacket to see if that helps her confidence in the water but you’re already there! I hope it does work – I know some dogs that it really helped them get over their fear and feel more secure in the water. I need to get one for Maggie – just so she’s not so lop-sided in the water and can swim better with the ball in her mouth. Good luck!


  6. Our Best Friend hates water too. I think it’s time for his semi-annual bath, and I wish the kids were old enough to go by themselves! Not sure the Spouse is up for it again.

    The upside is water-fearing dogs don’t go rolling in filthy mud puddles at the dog park!


  7. VERY cute life jacket!

    My two boys were both pretty worried when they first learned how to swim, but couldn’t resist joining us when we were out in the middle of the river. But if Shiva never wants to go all the way in, she wouldn’t be the only dog! And those nervous looks are pretty cute too–


  8. The 2 brown dawgs would kill for all of that water. But not every dog loves the water, or loves to swim. A lot of it is in the breeding. That lab was bred to fetch waterfowl in the water, just as our Chessies were. They are born with the desire to swim. That is not to say that every lab or Chessie will freely go into the water. They won’t. Just as some breeds and mixes that are not considered water dogs swim like fish.

    Shiva may never be interested in the water, but that just leaves you more time to work on agility. 🙂


  9. Aww so cute in her life vest! That lake is just absolutely gorgeous. At least she’ll go down and hang out with you! Think of it this way – way less time spent bathing her afterwards. 😉 And don’t feel too bad, the chocolate lab I grew up with wouldn’t take her paws off the bottom for anyone.


  10. Ha ha ha! I was going to suggest a life jacket, especially since most places have them on sale this time of year. Have you thought about taking her out in a boat? Morgan’s not a real braveheart on land, but she LOVES riding in a boat, and she gets a lot more fearless for some reason. Also, you might have better luck luring her out into the water when it’s really hot, or after she’s had a good running workout doing something else.

    I am in envy of your lake, because the girls and I would love going out in it!


  11. Cali won’t swim either. We call it swimming, but all she will do is wade in up to her belly and then lay down – if her feet leave the ground she panics and flails about – it’s embarrassing so we don’t try to get her to swim anymore 😉 She’s half golden retriever . .they are supposed to like water!!

    Shiva looks adorable in her life vest – can’t wait to hear if it works!!


  12. Ryker wasn’t all that crazy about the water till I went swimming. Now he will swim across a lake just to get to me. What happens when you go in, will she come in after you? Of course when he gets to me he wants to climb on top and get a free ride… Shiva is pretty big for that so I’d stay fairly close to shore for now just in case.


  13. If you get Shiva to swim let me know!!
    Sherman and Leroy are suppose to love the water and they don’t! Leroy has never even attempted to go in our pool even when he is invited and Sherman has gone in twice, but only stayed in for a second!


  14. Shiva is such an enthusiastic dog, she would make a super dock diver! Jersey was like Shiva and DID NOT like the water. I gently kept at it for over two years, throwing toys and sticks farther and farther away in the water. No pressure just dowatchulike. Wanna’ get the stick? fine. Don’t wanna’ get the stick? That’s fine, too. It took a long time but now I can’t keep her out of the water.

    Shiva’s life jacket is smashing!


  15. I feel your pain. I hoped Honey would go swimming with me.

    And if you think you have troubles, just imagine having a dog of a breed known for strong swimming skills who still hates swimming. At least Pomeranian mixes (?!) (that still makes me laugh) aren’t known for swimming.

    Did you read this article at Talented Animals blog?http://talentedanimals.com/blog/?p=565 I thought it was pretty interesting.

    Right now I’m pleased that Honey at least likes wading and shows no fear about playing in the water, just swimming. And who knows? If I someday get to live my dream and move aboard a sailboat, I’ll probably be very thankful she’s not in a hurry to jump off the boat.


  16. You know, I’m not sure Daisy would even swim with the life vest. Really, she just hates water that much.

    Bella might though. She likes splashing around in the water-so a vest could help her.

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out!


  17. Good luck with the life jacket. It might be all Shiva needs to get a little confidence. I’m sure once she learns to like the water there won’t be any stopping her!

    It took Frankie a while to enjoy fetching sticks in the river, but he doesn’t swim for the sake of swimming. He has to have a reason to get in the water, whether it’s to fetch a stick or swim to the other side of the river to be nosey. I wouldn’t say Beryl can swim, although she has a couple of times for a few strokes when she got out of her depth fetching a tennis ball. And that’s the only thing that will get her into the water:)


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