Help! My dog is obsessed with water!
(Q) My mongrel has developed an obsession with water — to the point where we have to go into the river or pond to get him out. He doesn’t acknowledge when I call him or when I walk away in the hope that he’ll follow. What can I do?
(A) Behaviourist Claire Arrowsmith says: Your dog has discovered an exciting game. Retraining him as soon as possible is important since every time he performs this activity the behaviour pattern becomes more established.
To give you control use a long training line, ideally attached to a harness. This will prevent him from ignoring you as you will be able to carefully guide him out when you call. This is a management tool that reduces the chances of the problem worsening.
At the same time you should practise his recall training away from the water. Then try to apply the same training techniques within sight of the water and then while he is in the water. Make sure that the reward for coming out is fantastic so it can compete with the joy of playing in the water.
In general, build up the types of games you play with him so that you become the main focus and the provider of wonderful activities instead.