Queixo and Tiffani
Team Up for Water Work

By Tiffani Flaws (March 2012)

What got you started in water work?
I first got started in water work by watching a water trial held by the club when Queixo was just 6 months old. I knew she liked the water and could swim, from being at the family cabin, but I wanted to see what water trials were all about. At the trial, I thought it looked like so much fun, as it was a pass or fail trial, with everyone having a great time cheering for one another, which was awesome. I left the trial with a couple of floats to make a small float line (from a member who had a couple of extra floats) and went right to a hardware store where I bought a rope to attach them to. I began teaching Queixo that getting that rope (and the retrieving dummy I purchased soon thereafter) meant great rewards that she only got when playing with her "water toys," which was great because prior to this Queixo was not much of a retriever.

What do you find most rewarding about training your dog for water work?
Personally, I enjoy water work because the dogs seem to love it so much. Like I said, without the water Queixo does not fetch, but put her in a lake and she fetches for hours each day when at the family cabin. Therefore, we can work together as a team and build our bond, with her just thinking we are playing not working. I also love it because it gives the dogs such great exercise and uses muscles that I don't think they use doing other things.

What do you find most challenging about training your dog for water work?
Well, of course the short training season in Minnesota is challenging, but I think many of the basics can be worked on land, and then tweaked and perfected when in the water.

Do you have any amusing moments that happened in training or in a water trial?
Kind of. Last summer, I got a visit from the DNR while working off the shore at the cabin. I wasn't sure if he didn't like me sitting on the end of a boat (although it was anchored and I had my life jacket on, and was in about 4 feet of water) or if he was just interested in what I was doing. But he came driving up to my boat, and as I was about to yell at the idiot coming right towards me when I was training my dog, I noticed the badges (whew). He asked quite a few questions and was very interested and then told me to have a nice day. Another funny thing is that on the ball drop exercise for Courier, Queixo had a couple of times where she didn't listen immediately and dropped the ball after swimming back towards me, which is of course not good. So at a trial a couple of years ago I made it very clear by yelling "DROP IT" in my loudest deepest voice to get her attention, and it worked. Then, as Queixo and I were celebrating while walking up the shore, Karen Derr said it sounded like there was an exorcism out on the boat by how my voice changed, which I am sure is true, and I thought was hilarious, but did I mention it worked?