It always surprises me when people are surprised my dogs do not like water. Most people think all dogs love to swim but that is not true at all. Some dogs, like Pugs and Bulldogs, should never be near water deep enough to drown in. The Ridgeback's aversion to water is instinct based ... would you swim in the water on the veldt of Africa? Well, neither would your Ridgeback.
I know it seems incredibly mean of me to make the dogs swim but in fact I am teaching them a skill which does not come naturally to most of the breed. If you introduce a Ridgeback to water at an early age often you can teach them to like water and learn about it's cooling properties(particularly if you live somewhere hot) but usually even then they do not willing choose to go in it.
After seeing my friend Tanja's 5 month old Golden Retriever take to water like a duck in spring of 2009, I can see that although people might believe their Ridgeback is an awesome water dog, they just do not compare to a natural water dog. Learning to swim, for better or worse, is an important skill when you live near water and it is an excellent way to cool down in the heat wave we've been having. I also don't want them, under whatever circumstances might dictate, to end up in water and be blinded by panic. Raimi willingly almost floated in this photo and then changed his mind!
Archer is by far the best and most willing swimmer, something that actually surprises me since I thought Boy would be the 'anywhere you go I go' dog. Anywhere stops at about 2 feet of water. For Leeloo it's one foot. The expression on her face in this picture just slays me. "Mommy, this is by far the stupidest thing we have ever done."
They gazed suspiciously at the water and refused to go in further than this for the bulk of the day. You can see the swimming hole being fed by the creek under the bridge.
This is where the creek empties out of the hole. On days when it's too cool to swim but too hot not to want to wade in the water perhaps we'll take a walk down this creek. We left the swimming hole refreshed, satisfied and tired and would have stayed longer but the horse flies were getting bad and with the dogs not going into the water there was no escape for them. Despite Leeloo's pouting I know she had a good time and next time we'll walk in the fields a little longer just for her. Just because she's Leeloo.