Our dog Otis is a Portuguese Water Dog, a breed of working canines that are originally from – you guessed it – Portugal. We’re told that back in their homeland, this breed was invaluable to local fisherman because the dogs could be trained to herd fish into nets, retrieve objects from the water, and even act as ship-to-shore messengers.
There’s no place on earth that Otis is happier than on the beach, which is why we so enjoy his company during our annual summer vacation in Provincetown, located on the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Like us, he’s content to spend his day on the sand, relaxing, eating, and occasionally going into the water to play. But despite his breed’s long history with all things water-related, the one thing Otis just won’t do is jump into the water from a dock or any kind of platform.
A couple of summers ago, we went for a walk around the lake at nearby Ashland State Park. Otis was in and out of the water all day – but when we went to the end of a long dock and tossed his tennis ball into the drink, Otis went bonkers. First he tried to reach out with his front paw and coax the ball closer to the dock. Then he tried another angle. And then he shifted again, clearly getting frustrated. Finally, he broke into a full gallop back to shore, where he splashed into the water and swam like crazy to snap up the ball. Time and time again, we brought him to the end of the dock and threw the ball into the lake. And without fail, Otis would run back to the beach and then swim out to his ball.
So I was reminded of Otis’ reluctance to jump into the water today when I saw this video of this pooch who was bound and determined to get his rock out of the water and make it “stay”. The dog seems to have no qualms about jumping into the water or sticking his whole head under the surface.
So is it just Otis, or are most dogs reluctant to take a running leap into water?