Water Temperature and Retriever Training [Back to Monthly Pro Staff Articles]
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Winter is slowly turning to Spring, the days are getting longer, and our retriever training itch is getting hard not to scratch! Many people have asked, “When is a good time to put my dog back in the water?" You asked, and our Pro Staffer, Lyle Steinman answered! Here is his response.
“We have been asked about water temps and what is too cold to train. I was taught that you would like the water temp & air (sunny) temp to have a combined total of 110 degrees. Example: water temperature reads 55 degrees and the air temperature is 55 degrees and sunny. The total adds to 110 degrees. (we use a digital temp gun but a hot tub thermometer will work too) Even though it has been in the 60's & 70's at our North Kennels the water temp was checked and it was in the mid to upper 30's. That is still too cold to do water work in! Doing water work in too cold of water will leave a bad taste in some dog’s mouth. We like the water temps to be in the upper 40's. We also start the day with older dogs that are weaker in the water and save the younger dogs for later in the day. After we do water work we leave our dogs out of the kennel to dry off using a stake out/ tie down system. Winter and Summer Trips are LONG, but this why we go South in the Winter, to do WATER,WATER,WATER! One of my mentors taught me, nothing starts (field trials/hunt tests/SRS) until you get to the water.”
This leads to another point that I would like to add. Many people have new puppies and are eager to introduce them to water. I’d highly suggest that you make sure the water is warm! The keys to introducing a pup to water is to make it fun, exciting, care free, and as always, an overall good experience for them. If the water is chilly, they may resist the urge to jump in after you! I linked up a video on how we introduced Boss and Memphis to water, and the approach we suggest. In New York, we had to wait for a beautiful sunny day and used a shallow pond where the water was warmer than other lakes/ponds near us.
Good luck training!
As always, if you have any questions for Lone Duck or our Pro Staffers, feel free to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org