Patience and puppies

pa-tience (pa’shens) n. 1. The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.

For several weeks, I’ve been exercising three male littermates out of our Ox x Chablis litter and Molly, a female from Sean Derrig’s breeding. All are five months old. I run them off a four-wheeler and plan routes to pass ponds along the way.

At a very young age, the three males took to the water like fish. They loved to swim—but not Molly. She would ease up to the edge of the pond, get a drink and then watch. She was just as hot as the others, but unsure of the water.

This happened time after time….until today. When the other puppies jumped into the pond, so did Molly. She swam around and played like she’d done it all her life. It was so satisfying to see.

I didn’t teach Molly to swim. I just gave her ample opportunity and then she figured it out.

The key was patience.

There comes times when it is absolutely necessary for the breaker to go afield with his dog and do nothing but let the dog develop.
~ Training The Bird Dog, C. B. Whitford, 1908

Dogs develop on different schedules and at different paces. To get the best out of your dog, don’t rush it.

Remember this the next time you head out to work your dog. Be patient.


  • Ryan Gould says:

    Great advice Jerry, very important indeed. After talking about her swimming progress last week it is exciting to hear that she “took the plunge” today.

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