Patterdale Terrier Puppy Training-Introduction To Water

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Our grown dogs LOVE the water and we think much of that begins here at “Our River” at a very young age.


We are just north of a small town here on the Oklahoma/Texas state line and playing in ” The North Fork of the Red River.”

Our river is pretty much dry most of the year and has a smooth flat sand bottom. Water depth here runs from a few inches to maybe 12 inches in spots. It’s the perfect place to introduce our 9 week old pups to water for the first time!

We bring along the pups mothers as its natural for the pups to want to follow them across the water. It’s a big help in introducing them. Pups also benefit from navigating new terrain as well as the new sights, sounds and smells on the river.

It begins by leaving the pups on the bank- never forcing them into the water- and let them discover and adapt on their own while they build confidence.

If one or more are struggling with getting their feet wet, we will carry them to a sandbar in the middle then move back towards the truck as we coax them along. Sooner or later they will get wet.

They quickly get comfortable with the water- start to run and play-hit a deeper spot and are forced to swim a few feet for the very first time!

It is really enjoyable and relaxing to watch.

To most folks it just looks like fun, and it is, but what’s happening here is these pups are encountering water and swimming for the first time. They are building confidence and gaining skills that they will need in the following months to hunt.

Another important thing to note that’s happening is these pups are learning to work and function TOGETHER without ‘dog on dog’ aggression. If you  watch closely you will notice a  clip where I quickly swat a pup with my ball cap and tell him “No” as I have described in earlier videos when we spot ANY aggression towards another pup.

The instances of aggression are now are few and far between as we have been correcting it since they were old enough to walk. Notice the pup that gets the “Swat” sit back and look in astonishment. He was not harmed but was startled. That’s all it takes and needs to be corrected The moment it happens-not 10-15 seconds later.

I have mentioned it before in these videos and its so important I will repeat it again.

“You cannot beat on these little dogs or they will be lying on their backs pissing themselves and soon be ruined”

You have to stay close- make the corrections THE MOMENT it takes place and do it with a very light hand. These are VERY intelligent dogs and eager to please when they trust you. When they don’t understand the reason for the reprimand they are confused and that’s when you lose their trust.

If you are about to lose your temper it’s time to put the dog up until you cool off. There is no place for a short temper in handling these terriers.

I know its not an exciting video but we hope you all enjoyed it. The purpose is to show anyone wanting to reproduce our results with terriers with the steps we take weekly to get them where we want them. The goal is terriers that are a pleasure to hunt!

Three of these we are keeping for ourselves and they are already a pleasure to work with. This is a direct result of putting the work in.

Like I always say, “If you can’t keep up-don’t step up”. 🙂 Do YOUR part and your terrier will do its part!

Don’t complain when you take your 1-2 year old terrier to the woods for the first time and he does NOTHING- he is just a reflection of you!

I say these things because i want everyone to enjoy awesome working terriers.

Until the next video-ya’ll stay safe! Remember- you won’t catch Covid in the woods!

2 thoughts on “Patterdale Terrier Puppy Training-Introduction To Water”

  1. I’ll be getting our puppy Greta a little kiddie pool to splash in tomorrow it’s going to be a hot day. At what age do you recommend them to try and actually swim?

    1. A splash pool is great as long as she can touch bottom everywhere in the pool. I would start with water just a few inches deep for her and gradually add a little water each day until up past her chest. She has the natural ability to swim now- but want to keep swimming FUN and not done in fear. Eventually (maybe 6 months) you can take her in a grownup pool with you and hold her and let her swim- Just dont let her get to the edge- where they usually try to climb the sides- stop swimming and start going under. That’s pretty scary to them! After that- if you keep it fun and not scary- they will be swimming with you at the lake and diving off the boat with the kids!

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