Training Water Rescue Dogs
The best moment to train a dog for this type of mission is probably when it is still a puppy. This obviously will have to be done carefully and with patience, never forcing the dog to go into the water if it does not want to. You should start out by picking out an area that has calm waters, avoiding waves and currents. Pick a place that has an easy access to get out if the dog would so wish to. The dog will need to get used to jump up and off a boat, which will need to be practiced first on solid ground. Later on you can do this while on the water. The dog will have to learn to fetch for things on solid ground first and once it has mastered it, it will have to learn to do the same in the water. Little by little the objects you throw for the dog to fetch will need to get bigger until eventually you are able to throw a manican, followed by the dog finally practicing with a real human being. The dog will need to learn to pull the boat with a rope as well as knowing when it needs to go into action starting from the moment it is on the shore and when it goes into the water.
Advanced dog training will be done in a variety of different places such as rivers, marshes, reservoirs, dams, docks etc. Training the dog in all these different places is very important, as it will avoid the dog from becoming intimidated in situations that might come up. Little by little the dog will get trained to fetch heavy objects. This will also help the dog to learn to submerge its head inside the water completely. The dog must learn to fetch for a rope inside the water without any difficulty. The dog will also learn to surround the injured person in the water and this will allow for the person to wrap his or her arms around the dog's rescue harness.
More advanced discrimination training will teach the dog to be able to tell the difference between a person that is swimming, or if a person is actually drowning. In the case of a person that has fainted in the water and is not moving, the dog will learn to hold the person by one of his or her forearms and take the person to the shore or a nearby boat. Something thesemust also learn is to jump into the water without any fear of heights and certain elements such as rocks, from a dock etc. A dog that is getting trained for water rescue will need to increase its resistance in swimming such as in cases where it will need to follow a boat, the objective is to avoid the dog from becoming nervous and tired.