For several months I have been exchanging emails with a lady who own Rottweilers who follows this blog. Today the subject of our dogs enjoying swimming came up and I mentioned something that I have written about before. In the past 10-years that we have lived in our present home with its in-ground swimming pool, all of my Rottweilers have been afraid of the water and do not even like it when the humans are swimming in it. Whenever we went swimming the dogs would run around the pool panic-barking to seemingly warn of of some danger and only stopped when we got out of the water. I could never figure out why.
Until today it just dawned on me.
Many years ago, before we bought this house, when my first Rottie girl Mocha was just a puppy, we used to visit a park that had a lake. On the shore of this lake was a small ramp that went down in the water and one day brave Mocha decided to investigate it by walking down the ramp into the water. It was lucky for us that we had her on a long leash because when she got to the end of the ramp which ended less than a foot below the surface she fell into deep water over her head. Needless to say she became very frightened and was still shaking even after we pulled her out of the water.
So now the light bulb that sometimes glows over my inquisitive mind just lit up with a thought. Did Mocha's traumatic experience in the water when she was little create the fear in her mind that all water was a dangerous place and did she pass this information on to the two young Rottweilers she raised as a foster mother? We still had Mocha living with us when we bought this house ten years ago in 2004. Mocha went to The Bridge in 2008. In 2003 we adopted baby Sassy and in 2006 we got baby Ruffin. Mocha raised Sassy from a furball pup but at the age of 11 she was only passively involved with baby Ruffin. It was Sassy who did most of the mothering. But Mocha was the first to raise the alarm over our dangerous swimming pool and I think that is where Sassy got it from and passed it on to Ruffin.
P.S. While dogs are natural swimmers and therefor shouldn't be afraid of the water, one day we put a life jacket on Ruffin and carried him into the pool. This photo shows the panicked look on his face.