My Stupid Human Wants Me to Drown

The vast majority of German Pinschers do not like water. They will claim to melt in rain and that they can’t possibly go out to potty because clearly they’ll be washed away in the floods. They will look at a stream crossing like it is hot lava and jump twice the distance needed to clear it just to make sure they don’t loose a limb. They will huddle as if the world is ending when you lock them in the shower stall with you so you can wash all the mud off their bodies…because friends, mud is not water, therefore wading around in rancid mud puddles is absolutely a-okay. It’s only water that is evil.

Herein lies the problem, I freaking love water. I’m that girl who plays in puddles barefoot in the middle of a thunderstorm. On hikes, I will happily strip off my boots and climb into every stream I find even though the rocks are often pointy and hurt my feet. I love being in the ocean on a tube and bobbing in the waves. I might be freezing cold 70% of the year and use a space-heater practically everyday in the winter at work, but in the summer, I hike down rivers that make your legs numb and I will wade under waterfalls that turn my lips blue. Ayla and I are well matched in many other parts of life, but we do not see eye-to-eye on water.

me standing at base of a waterfall

However, my breeder had told me it was possible to train German Pinschers to like water and to swim. She had done it with her own dogs in a pool. It simply took patience and a lot of hotdogs. And I do know of German Pinschers who excel at dock jumping, but it takes training. I do not have access to a pool. But I did have access to Patapsco State Park, which is one of my favorite rivers to play in because the riverbed isn’t full of giant rocks and it’s easy to get into the water.

So one hot summer afternoon, I took Ayla to the river to begin training. I brought hotdogs, a 15 foot leash, and a towel for each of us. I set my stuff on some rocks, switched into my water shoes, and stuffed my pockets full of hotdogs, then I waded into the river to play. Ayla was hooked on the 15 foot lead and I initially didn’t go very far, holding a piece of hotdog just far enough that Ayla was forced to step into the water – only to her ankles and only her front two paws, but slowly, slowly I worked her up to 4 legs and her knees. Did she swim? No. Has she ever? No. But I do consider it a win that she’ll at least walk around in streams now.

ayla learning to walk in water

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