She Swims!

Last week, an intrepid photography caught grainy footage of what could only be a monster swimming in the Assawoman bay.

But now we discover that was no monster. That was Honey!

Honey the golden retriever runs at the water's edge.

It was me! I’m practically a mer-dog.

After five years of waiting, we’ve finally gotten to see Honey swim. Here’s the proof:

But what happens if there are no treats?

Yep, she’ll paddle a few strokes before heading right back to shore.

We’ll keep working on it. Maybe someday Honey will even enjoy swimming as much as I do.

Your Turn: Did your dogs need coaxing to swim? Or did they take to it right away?

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  1. Martine says:

    Hurrah for Honey! And now you needn’t worry about her on the boat.

    Our two will wade, and Duster will swim a couple strokes if a stick is thrown just a little too far. But throw the stick more than a few strokes too far and he won’t even go after it. No matter. Living right beside a lake, if they liked to swim we’d be dealing with wet dogs all the time. Life’s easier without that complication.

    • Honey understands Duster completely. She loves a stick but she’s happy to wait for it to float back to shore.

      Like you, I feel fine that Honey doesn’t need to swim all the time. The last thing I need is a dog who goes jumping out of the cockpit to go “visiting.”

      But I do want her to have the skills and the endurance to swim if she has to. We’ll keep working on it.

  2. Margaret T. says:

    My goldens have all been swimmers, but my greatest fear was that one would decide to retrieve that duck, you know, the duck swimming 300 yards out there, that is going to fly if the dog gets anywhere close? I don’t know how well a dog hears when waves are involved (we were on Lake Superior, plenty of waves crashing onto rock there). But not all of them had perfect recall, when it came to birds especially, anyway.
    Or a log floating way out there.

    • You’re right to be worried, Margaret. My friend Peggy told me about how her dog Kelly swam out to chase something and got tired. Her husband and son had to go out in a boat to help her get back.

      Let’s hope their enthusiasm is weaker than their smarts. :)

      Maybe training your pups to come to a whistle would help you deal with the noises competing with your voice on the lake?

      • Margaret T. says:

        I have a whistle on the dashboard of the car. I just need to go someplace out of the neighborhood to train! That will move up on the priority list, since I’m planning a trip up to Lake Superior again this year.

  3. My first pup, Max swam the first time she saw water – at about 12 weeks – just saw it, ran to it and took off swimming. Jack and Maggie not so much – I think our trip last year was their first exposure, but we’re going back to Big Bear next week, so it will be interesting to see how they do. BTW, I couldn’t get the vids to roll.

    • Max’s behavior was exactly what I hoped to see from Honey. No dice.

      I’m hoping that living in places with warmer water will also help. After all, I hate cold water so I wasn’t a very good example.

      Can’t wait to see what Jack and Maggie do you on you vacation.

      Sorry about the videos. I just used the WordPress tool. Maybe I’ll try putting them on YouTube after all. Simple isn’t helpful if it doesn’t work.

  4. Yeah for Honey. Aren’t retrievers supposed to be water dogs?

    • Honey didn’t get the memo. She thinks she’s a pit bull. That’s why she’s always playing tug instead of swimming. :)

  5. Good job Honey! Daisy was afraid of water too. She only went in enough to get her toes wet at first, but now she runs right in and swims like crazy. Hoping you get to feel that joy someday too. :)

    • I’ll take your Daisy story as encouragement. Hopefully she’ll enjoy swimming as much as I do.

      If the water is warm enough, I only leave it to sleep.

  6. Leo? swimmer. Jax? Will get his first test in the pool this Friday. I like to test them first before hitting the ocean. He did love the stream so I’m hopeful. Harley? It has been determined that he loves the beach and that’s about it. No pools, or streams for this doodle.

    • Actually, I love how dogs of the same breed or mix can be so different. It’s part of their charm.

      Wouldn’t it be boring if each of your doodles was a carbon copy of the last one?

  7. What a great swimmer! Good job, Honey! I wish Mila would swim, she prefers dry land and the hose while I water my plants! Great videos. :)

  8. Good job! Kilo isn’t too much of a water dog…but for treats who knows! LOL

    • It isn’t easy feeding treats to a dog when they’re swimming. If you give it a try, be careful you don’t accidentally down Kilo. :)

  9. Rita will swim out to me, and then turn around and head right back in. I’m sure she’s screaming, “Come back to shore with me, Momma!!” in her head. Wish she enjoyed it cuz she’s the first dog we’ve had who even was able to swim and it’s so adorable.

    • That’s a riot.

      My dog Agatha used to bark and cry around the edge of the pool when either of us swam and especially when we went off the diving board. You’d think we were being eaten alive.

      I wonder what Rita really thinks when she sees part of you disappearing in the water?

  10. That cracks me up that she will actually take treats while swimming!

    For my guys, a lot of their swimming happens at the neighborhood lake (when sufficient rain keeps it fresh). It is maybe 1/2 a mile via paved walking trails from my house. I cannot say “do you want to go swimming?” without first having the leashes attached. They are off and running the second those words leave my mouth! Mine scream at the top of their lungs (Jimmy especially) for me to throw the stick out into the water. Both guys will dive off the edge to get a good pace going. Jimmy, knowing I will make him catch his breath before the next throw, will swim in big circles just to keep from having to rest. Even at 12, Wilson will swim for at least a half an hour before he starts to slow down.

    And pools are good too:

    • I. Am. So. Jealous.

      I love the thought of Jimmy swimming in circles waiting for the stick.

      Perhaps you’ll need to add dock diving to your dog sport competitions? :)

  11. Yay Honey!!
    Dante loves the water, he goes crashing in. Ziva will happily swim for toys or to chase her brother around but she’s not as in love with it as Dante.
    Jack on the other hand…he tip toes around trying his best to not get wet! He’s super funny, but can be coaxed in very shallow water if a toy is involved before he makes a hasty retreat.

    • It will be interesting to see if Jack comes around on the swimming thing. He is still adjusting to his new home.

      After all, it took Honey 5 years to swim and she’s made to swim.

  12. That’s so exciting! Phoenix just started swimming too! We didn’t have to wait as long, though! We will have had her 3 years in October. When we first got her she wouldn’t even touch any puddles with her paws. Finally, I think she got tired of loosing her sticks to the river! 😀

    • How great the Phoenix started swimming. I hoped sticks would have helped with Honey but she just goes looking for another one. :)

  13. Yay! I’m so glad that Honey has learned to swim :) That will be a fun new skill to use this summer.

  14. I thought it was genetic for retrievers! My German shepherds, on the other hand, want no part of swimming.

    • You’d think, right?

      Of course, I got a German shepherd as a child who didn’t know guarding was genetic for them. When burglars broke into the store he lived at, he didn’t even bark. Lucky for the burglar and lucky for me getting a gentle friend. :)

  15. Yay, Honey!! That just made me smile. She’s a very smart girl. The more she does it, the more she may love it….but maybe you don’t want her to love it too much anyway?

    • I definitely don’t want Honey to love swimming so much she starts jumping off the boat.

      But I want her to practice enough that she has some stamina and comfort doing it.

      And if she could have some fun with me while I’m swimming, I wouldn’t mind that a bit. :)

  16. Great job, Honey! Better late than never!

    Our boys certainly did not need any coaxing to get into the water. They would swim alllll day long if we let them!

    • When we’re around the water, I’m always on the lookout for other goldens, like your boys, who might entice Honey to join them.

      It’s never happened.

      And in truth, most goldens who love the water ignore Honey completely because they’d rather be swimming and fetching their sticks. So much for that great plan. :)

  17. A few strokes are better than no strokes. Nice work, Honey!

  18. I wish I had video of the first (and only) time Richie went swimming. I took him to a pool on one of those doggie days before they close the pool for the season, and tried him in the wading pool. He was dog-paddling before he even hit the water (I lowered him in) and swam directly to the side and put his paws up asking me to let him out. So I discovered that (a) he could swim and (b) he did not enjoy it. Also (c) there is nothing much cuter than a Yorkie swimming.

    BTW, I did have flashbacks to all the times we kids were told not to eat while swimming or we would get cramps! Yay to Honey for taking those treats so effortlessly.

    • OMD, I can’t even imagine how cute a swimming Yorkie would be! I’m squeeing just thinking about it.

      And yes, I thought of the exact same warnings as you. I also worried that we’d cause her to drown if she swallowed water with her treats. But she’s pretty buoyant, if not enthusiastic. :)

  19. Frankie enjoys the water but doesn’t go swimming per se. He will swim to fetch a stick but that’s it. Beryl would swim if her life depended on it … but hopefully she wouldn’t have to swim too far! Asher doesn’t know how to swim. I’m not keen on them swimming in the sea, or myself for that matter! I have an irrational fear of sharks, lol! Or them going out too far and not being able to get back and I know I’m not a good enough swimmer to save them.

    Honey looks quite at home in the water. While it would be awesome if she enjoyed swimming I guess the most important thing is that she can swim :)

    • I think you’re right to be worried about open water swimming. One rip current could be really dangerous.

      BTW, how do you know Asher doesn’t know how to swim? Would he sink if he found himself in deep water?

      And yes, I’d love to have a swimming buddy since my husband sinks like a stone. But I’m just glad Honey is not afraid and panicky.

  20. Well done, Honey!
    I love the water, but I needed encouragement to swim.

  21. Pamela, I just saw this from Victoria Stilwell and thought of you!

  22. I’m sorry, I could not get the video to load (I will try from home later.) But I’m glad that you at least got Honey into the water, maybe now she’s done it, she will get a bit more confidant and do it more frequently.

  23. Way to go, Honey! I knew you could do it and you look very relaxed in the water. :)