Sunday, August 23, 2009

Isn't it supposed to be instinct?

A few years ago (two I think) my husband and I decided to take our boy Gonzo to the family camp. Up until this point, we really didn't go anywhere on vacation, and when we did, it was no dogs allowed. I wanted to go back to camp, my husband wanted to fish, and Gonzo wanted to be with us, no matter where we went. We took a few test-drives around to get Gonzo used to the idea of being in the car (without it ending at the vet) and he did alright. No car sickness, no anxiety, all around good behavior. We packed up the car, put in our boy, and away we went.
Well, the length of the trip caused a bit of anxiety for our boy, but he did really well over all. The boat trip across the lake to the camp was another story. He apparently hadn't seen a boat and he wasn't sure about sitting in a box in that scary stuff that moves around in a weird way:

But we got him across the lake, and we went about having a nice vacation. When my husband decided that he was going for a swim, it made sense to us that Gonzo would want to go swimming too. But we were quick to realize that Gonzo had never been swimming before. Our boy wanted to be near by my husband, but he was afraid of the water. I tried wading in the water and leading him in behind me on his leash, but no, that didn't work. So my husband came back into shore, scooped Gonzo up and slowly carried him into the water. When the water was waist deep, he put Gonzo down in the water slowly. ( My husbands's sort of squatting down in the water here)

We expected a few things could happen. Gonzo could totally freak out and scratch the heck out of my husband trying to get back into his arms, he could have a more ,"Thank you very much but this is not for me," response and just swim back to shore, or he could swim around and have fun in the water with my husband. We did not expect his actual reaction.

When small children (for that matter, anyone) is taught to swim, they are taught the rudimentary dog-paddle. It is so named, presumably, because it resembles the way a canine flails its front paws while swimming. I thought it was an instinctual thing, something that they just do. Well, no. Our dog, once free of the protection of my husband's arms, didn't do anything. No movement. My husband called to him, but our boy just looked as us and floated, like a log. My husband went over to him and showed him how to move his paws in the water, and then our boy (buoy?) took off like a toy boat with a rubber-band propulsion system. I couldn't breathe from laughing.

Good Boy, Gonzo. Swimming's for Labradors.

More to come, so come back if you're interested.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't tried taking our lab mix into water yet, but the other two fell in a pool once and their "get me otta heeeeeeere!!!!" reactions were priceless.