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  • Writer's pictureSpanish Water Dog Club

Weekend Water Training Success Helps Raise Funds For Glaucoma Research

Thank you to all those that attended the water weekend and helping to kickstart the fundraising effort to enable the research needed to find the gene responsible for the predisposition to Glaucoma in SWD.

Back in 2008 the Spanish Water Dog Club (SWDC) held the Diving for Sight Event where we raised £3,420.00 towards the purchase of the AHT laser to temporarily, in most cases, ease the pain for dogs affected by primary glaucoma. This a painful eye condition leading to the inevitable prospect that the dog loses its sight. Prior to breeding, SWD’s are tested for this condition and although rare this genetic problem is carried through breed lines in the UK. It has now been identified that after 10 years or so from initial testing dogs having previously tested clear are being affected again and so the SWDC has decided to pioneer a DNA Test.

In 2020 we made the decision to hold another Swimming Diving Event in order to fundraise for the test research to stamp out glaucoma in our breed. The event was to be held at SWIM 4 PAWS near Sheffield, which is a custom-made unique pool for training dogs in water sports and rescue skills.

Covid 19 restrictions had delayed the planned initiative, but on the 25th and 26th July 2020 we were able to go ahead. The facility was perfect for socially distanced training, so we set about planning a weekend of water fun.

This was to be our first SWDC get together since March! So, wetsuits out of the attic, doggy towels and training harnesses packed, tests laminated, we were ready!

What a fabulous weekend it was and packed with SWD ‘firsts’ for many handlers attending Water Rescue Training for the first time. Your dogs were a credit to you.

Thanks to Nigel Haslam and wife Alison owners of SWIM 4 PAWS for allowing us to use this amazing unique facility to show off our dog’s ‘natural’ aptitude and see them blossom in water.

My personal thanks go to Gill Frost, Ainsley Procter, Kate Wilden and Gill Jackson for squeezing in those wetsuits and taking turns at assisting me in the pool. Thanks to Kate Hodgkinson-Rutherford for the loaned Kayak and enthusiasm in promoting the Event.

The sessions were split into organised time slots and each family was allocated a changing space for the duration of the weekend. The event was sold out in days with many new dogs and handlers wanting to try their paws in the water, along with the seasoned water enthusiasts.

Jayne, Mike and Salvo watch 11-year-old Riley ‘anchor’ the boat safely in the ‘harbour’

As the day progressed the smiles on the faces of the handlers was a joy to see experiencing and witnessing when they experienced,the inherited working abilities of their dogs.

Ainsley with her youngest Berri getting her ‘in’ boat experience.

Practising balance on a paddle board and here Dali is wearing the harness we use for water training, dogs need to be lifted from various watercraft as part of the tests – this really helps with confidence building and being handled by strangers.

There is always a moment that makes you smile and mine was when Jayne Nigel and Mike were discussing water flow, the pool is enabled with a powerful current that teaches dogs to swim in rough water and gives them a good work out! Salvo and Riley hopped on the paddle board together and let the current take them to join Mum and Dad – so resourceful and a completely random decision on their part.

Diving and swimming underwater to retrieve a lost article is very much in our breed, over the weekend many of the dogs tried their paws at diving.

Below are a few of the tasks we asked our dogs to undertake, diving under a watercraft to retrieve a lost item or under the waves to retrieve a lost flipper!

Towing a watercraft to shore is second nature to our SWD.

Mike and Salvo are very skilled in water activities seen here practising their back to boat retrieves. The objective is that you train the dog to collect and deliver a rope or buoy to a stranded watercraft.

Jenny and Ziggy getting to grips with the jump from the boat and back to pick up the tow rope to collect her, then tow her in the boat, to the pool side and safety! Tasks like this are trained here at SWIM4PAWS towards Open Water work, where this task is performed mid lake.

So now with new enthusiasts more dogs have gained their SWDC Natural Aptitude Breed Specific Water Test’s. Bronze Level Award achieved this weekend by;

Jayne Appleton with Cassie

Caroline Glaysher with Jacsen

Sherree Bloom with Rubi

Jenny Abrahams with Ziggy (above)

Kate Rutherford with Pickle and Toro

some then went on to achieve their Silver Level Award:

Ainsley Proctor with Opie and Raffa

Jane Appleton with Cassie

Kate Rutherford with Toro and Pickle

Your dogs did you proud. Huge well-deserved Congratulations

SWD Water work is my passion and the reason I got hooked on this amazing breed over 22 years ago! I am so pleased we are celebrating a great water weekend, and especially for some of you who took part, discovering your dog’s Natural Aptitude in Water, helping widen your experience of and keeping breed History alive for future generations.

I cannot express how grateful the SWDC and I am to Nigel Haslam

at SWIM4PAWS for this enabling facility.

For more information about the water tests and water training in general please visit the Water Training section of the website to get the most from most from your dogs in water.

Your generous donations Nigel Haslan, Jane Appleton, Sherree Bloom, Jeremy Bloom, Jayne Nicholson, Mike Salmon, Caroline Glaysher, Tracey Whitehead, Simon Whitehead, Jenny Abrahams, Ginette Evans, Rachel Cooper, Pamela Wright, Adrian Dornford Smith, Steve Glaysher will be used to help the breeds eye health in the future.

Thank you to those attending for respecting all Covid Protocol so we could make this event happen, and because of that I can confirm the next planned water weekend event is September 19th - 20th 2020 at SWIM4PAWS

Details will be released soon and bookings will be taken then, so please keep checking back for more information.

I hope you are inspired to pack up your flippers and join the water enthusiasts!

Pat Booth



July 27th, 2020

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