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Newfoundland Dog Water Rescue Training
Newfoundland dogs have been rescuing and saving peoples lives for centuries. Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, was on a ship during his famous escape attempt, and during a bad storm was knocked overboard. A Newfoundland dog was aboard and immediately jumped into the sea to rescue Napoleon. The dog managed to keep this man afloat until reaching safety.
Not Every Dog is Cut Out to Be in Water Rescue
Dogs that are used for water rescue go through extensive training and testing before they are sent out to work. To become certified these dogs have to show that they have the ability, endurance and intelligence to carry out all different aspects of water rescue.
The Italian Dog Rescue School was founded in 1989 when Ferruccio Pilenga wanted to train his female Newfoundland and others to not only work in the water but also to save people.
Why The Newfoundland Dog
Double water resilient coats are great in cold water.
Large muscled tails work as a rudder.
Webbed feet work well for swimming.
Large lung capacity works well for long distance swimming.
They have the strength to tow boats while swimming through water.
Training And Testing For Water Rescue and Operative Water Rescue
The dog and his or her handler must be able to run 200-400 meters along a beach to show that they can work on land. The dogs must be able to run around people and other dogs without becoming distracted and dive into water to save the person that is drowning.
Other Breeds Trained For Water Rescue
The Leonberger, Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever are also among the dogs that are trained and work as water rescue dogs.
There are many tests that these dogs have to go through before they become certified as a Water Rescue Dog. Different scenarios are used which include saving a drowning person using a boat where the handler and dog paddle out to get close to the drowning person and then the dog has to jump into the water to save the person, bringing him back to the boat or the shore. The dogs are trained to tow boats that have lost engine power bringing them back to shore. Dogs must be able to swim beside their handlers, while not swimming ahead of the handler.
An endurance test is done to make sure that the dog and the handler can swim for 2 kilometers together. Diving from heights of two meters must be done quickly and efficiently. Dogs must be able to dive into the water and go and rescue someone that is 600 meters out from shore. Diving from a helicopter that is 1–2 meters above the water is the final test.
Please note that both handler and dog must pass all of these tests and more, and if anyone one of the tests are not completed a certificate will not be issued. After receiving the certificate a yearly renewal with testing must be done. Training usually takes three years for these dogs to attain expert level.
During the summer months in Italy 3,000 people are rescued every year according to the Italian Coast Guard and canine helpers rescue many of these people.
Training your Newfoundland dog or other breeds for water rescue does not mean that you have to go to Italy as there are many places this can be done across Canada the USA as well other countries.