THE FITNESS TESTS
Do you want to know whether your dog is suitable or not for water rescue?
Make the following tests. You will also better understand your relationship with it.
1) Leave your dog on a leash with a stranger. Run away, calling loudly. The stranger releases the leash…
a) the dog runs to you
In the first case the dog shows feeling for the master as well as the predatory instinct which makes it run after the one who is running. Behaviour b) shows little feeling and this is where work would be necessary.
2) Repeat the same situation of test 1 in water: the stranger will stay on the shore and you will dive in.
the dog swims to you
In case a) both feeling and water confidence are good. In case b) the dog should slowly be able to acquire familiarity with water. In case c) the dog ignores you and then it will be necessary to work on the two problems (feeling and swimming): playing will be the correct method.
3) Take a ball (or any other object easy to bite) shake it in front of the dog to stimulate him and then throw it.
Behaviour a) is important as it is the base for many exercises. In case b) preparatory work will be necessary for this kind of training.
4) Hold the dog in your arms, how does it react?
If the dog really trusts its human companion, it should “accept everything” from him, even to be held in his arms.
5) Give to your dog a rope or a muff to bite and then try, in play, to take it away.
It will not
release the object, keeping it firmly in its mouth
In the first case, the dog shows firmness and interest, if on the contrary it releases the object, it needs more training.
6) Make the dog lay down and examine it completely: stomach, mouth, ears, paws, etc.
accepts it and stays motionless
The answer is in question 4, if the feeling is strong, the dog should accept what the handler requires of it.
Note: Whatever results you obtained from the tests, even if the answer is negative, it does not mean it is impossible to train. It will just take more time but the way to succeed is love, patience and play. Imposition will lead you to failure.