Activities For Cantabrian Water Dogs

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Introduction

A close relative of the Spanish Water Dog, it’s a pity that Cantabrian Water Dogs are such a rare breed -- if they weren’t, they’d certainly be one of the most paw-pular dogs out there.

Cantabrian Water Dogs were bred for fishing work and guarding work, so they’re pretty social and love being close to their people. Historically, they’ve also been put to work on ships catching rats and other vermin, making them highly intelligent critters.

They’re not too bad to look at either -- take a look at those gorgeous eyes and lovely fluffy coat and tell us you don’t want to bring them home for cuddles!

All this comes at a cost, of course. Cantabrian Water Dogs need a lot of exercise, both mental and physical, and it can be hard to know how to keep them entertained. Not to worry -- we’ve listed some furrific activities to keep your pooch as happy and healthy as can be.

Teach Them to Retrieve

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Free
Hard
30 min
Items needed
Toys or various household items
Treats
Activity description

For a Cantabrian Water Dog, brain work is just as important as physical exercise. Why not give your pupper’s brain something to chew on by teaching them a trick that has benefits for the both of you? Teaching your pooch to identify objects by name and bring them to you is the paw-fect game for a Cantabrian -- they were bred to retrieve fish out of the water, after all!

Not only that, but it’s kind of cool to have a doggy butler. Your furry friend may not be able to make you coffee in the morning, but they can certainly bring you the newspaper or your shoes.

This will take a while for your pup to learn; the time above is an estimate for how long you’ll spend on this task per day. It could take weeks for them to get the hang of it.

Step
1
Teach them to fetch if you haven't already
In order for your pup to properly retrieve, they’ll need to know how to identify an object by name, go and pick up the object, carry it back to you and drop it to your feet. If your doggo already knows how to fetch, they’ll have the last two parts down pat. If not, you’ll need to show them how before you move on. Pick a favorite toy, something that your pooch is particularly fond of. Get your dog to sit and throw the object a short distance away. They should tear after it instinctively -- it’s what they were born to do, after all. Call your dog back to you and encourage them to drop the ball at your feet by offering them a treat. Over time, you can randomize the rewards and eventually do away with them entirely. It shouldn’t take too long for them to pick it up!
Step
2
Teach them to identify objects
Next you’ll need to get your pupper to know the names of various items. You should start with one item first -- again, a favoured toy is probably best. However, if you think a toy will excite your furball so much that they won’t be able to take in any information, use a random household item like a hairbrush. Put the item in front of your dog’s nose, shake it about in order to get their attention, and call it by its name. Reward your doggo with a piece of food or treat every time they touch the object with their nose or take it in their mouth. Repeat this several times, perhaps over a few days. Next, start moving the item to different spots and then call its name. After a while, your pup should walk over to the item and nudge it with its nose. Remember to reward your dog when this happens! Over time, you can introduce more items to the mix.
Step
3
Teach them to bring the object back to you
If your canine companion knows how to fetch, they should already know the "come" and "drop" command. Use these commands to teach your doggo to bring the items back to you. Be patient, and only reward them when they get it right -- at first, they may drop the item before they come to you. However, this task is hardwired into your Cantabrian’s brain -- relative to other breeds, learning to retrieve should take them no time at all.
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Agility Jumping

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0 Votes
Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Long line
Poles, log or pipe
Ciderblocks or other stand (if using pole)
Activity description

Agility training is a pawesome way to combine physical exercise with mental stimulation! Whether you’re hoping your pup will compete some day or just looking for something different to do, training your Cantabrian to jump, weave around poles or crawl through tunnels is guaranteed to tucker them out.

You might think that agility training is a little more resource-intensive than other activities on this list, but it doesn’t have to be! You can construct a doggy obstacle course out of basically anything you have lying around, including tires and old pipes. As long as it’s clean and there’s no sharp edges, feel free to get creative.

As with all training, it’s best to start with a simple task and slowly build your way up. Teaching your pupper to jump is a grrr-eat place to begin. Like retrieving, this will take time, and the estimate above refers to time spent per day.

Step
1
Set up the jump
First, you’ll need to set up something for your doggo to jump over. You can purchase special agility jumps with stands and poles, or you can set up your own using a log, a pipe, cinderblocks and a cane, or almost anything else you have lying around. It’s a good idea to start with a low jump first. You can gradually increase the height as your furry friend gets better at jumping.
Step
2
Attach a leash or long line and run towards the jump
Attach a long leash or piece of rope to your dog’s collar. Run alongside your pupper towards the jump. Just before your pooch steps or hops over the jump, introduce a verbal command. Reward your dog with lots of affection and a treat once they clear an obstacle. You’ll need to repeat this step several times before your dog gets it.
Step
3
Try without the leash
Once your canine companion is consistently clearing the jump, repeat the step above but without the leash. Keep running alongside them and using the verbal command. When your doggo is jumping leash free, you can try to get them to jump without running beside them. Stand on the other side of the jump, call them to you, and use the verbal command before they jump. Eventually, you can move on to just using the verbal command. One word of warning -- agility jumping can be tough on your dog’s joints. You may want to consult a vet before you start training.
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Fetch in the Water

Popular
0 Votes
Sunny Day
Free
Easy
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Ball
Activity description

The clue is in the name -- Cantabrian Water Dogs absolutely adore swimming. They even have webbed paws to make gliding through the water easier!

As we mentioned when talking about retrieving, Cantabrian Water Dogs were bred to get large fish out of the water. If you get them to play fetch at your local dog beach or in a handy brook, they’re sure to have a whale of a time!

Of course, this activity is contingent on you have a Fido-friendly swimming area nearby. If you don’t, it might be a good idea to set up an inflatable kiddie pool in your backyard. You might not have enough space to play fetch, but they’ll still appreciate the op-paw-tunity to have a splash about.

Step
1
Research fur-friendly swimming areas
Get thee to the internet! You’ll need to make sure that pups are welcome at your local beach, lake or swimming hole. Otherwise, you could face a hefty fine! You’ll also need to make sure the water is free of dangerous algae or other materials that could be harmful to your doggo. If you live in or near a large urban center, you may even have a pup-friendly swimming pool nearby!
Step
2
Play fetch
Once you’ve found a swimming spot that welcomes wagging tails with open arms, the next part is easy. Just throw the ball, stick or toy into the water and let your four-pawed pal have fun! Again, Cantabrian Water Dogs were born to do this -- even if they don’t have a lot of fetch-playing experience, they should be fine as long as they know the basics.
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More Fun Ideas...

Give Them a Food Puzzle

Food puzzles are exactly what they sound like -- a ball or other toy full of food that won't open until a puzzle is solved. They're available in most pet stores.

Go to the Dog Park

Though Cantabrian Water Dogs are fiercely loyal to their humans, they can be shy or wary around other dogs. Regular trips to the dog park are a great way to get them comfortable around their fellow pooches.

Conclusion

Though some people find Cantabrian Water Dogs to be a little demanding, these loyal, adorable fuzzballs are well worth it. The most important thing is to keep their brain entertained and help them get the exercise they need -- and as the list above demonstrates, you can do both at the same time!