I’ve found kibble fishing to be a great, low stress way to introduce dogs to the water and swimming. There is no pressure, no luring or trying to bribe them to swim there is just kibble tossed into the water and the dog has all the choice to get it or not. For dogs completely new to the water or uncomfortable with the water, the kibble gets tossed as close to the shoreline as the dog is comfortable going and doesn’t get tossed any further out in the water until the dog is confident and already putting themselves there. So I don’t toss the kibble out a foot in the water further with a dog who is still only wanting to stand on the shore line, I don’t want the dog to feel pressured to go further out. And, for a dog not comfortable with water or the game, I don’t hold a treat at the dog’s level and then toss it in, trying to trick them into following the treat. The kibble just gets tossed into the water around the dog’s feet and they chose to fish or not. And if the dog says, “No thanks, I don’t want to do that.” then we say, “Ok no biggie, lets do something else.” And then we maybe offer the game again later and see if the dog changes their mind. I try to use kibble that floats, but invariable stuff always sinks. Then again it’s the dog’s decision to let that stuff stay at the bottom of the drink or dunk and get it. (1)
With kibble fishing, I’ve found dogs who previously found water very overwhelming and frightening to start to demand that we play the game anytime we go near a body of water. My walking friend’s poodle used to be so averse to swimming she would bark anytime another dog even went near the water, “No! No! That stuff will kill you! Don’t do that!” Now, she’s the first racing to the water and if we don’t play the game she barks at us to tell us just how rude it was that we forgot the kibbles!
Today was a very hot day out here, so we played Kibble Fishing in the kiddie pool.
- Always use discretion and caution as a dog could feasible ingest a lot of water in this game depending on the dog and if you played it for a while. You want to avoid risking water intoxication caused by ingesting too much water.