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Newfoundland Water Rescue - Senior Water Rescue Dog Exercises

(photos by Pam Saunders, Marc Saunders & Steve Urback)

Directed Retrieve


Two stewards in a boat row across the test area about 50 feet from shore. As they row, one attracts the dog’s attention by splashing, and drops two articles (a life jacket and a boat cushion) about 50 feet apart. The judge instructs the handler to send his dog to a specific article. The handler sends his dog to that article. The dog retrieves it and brings it to his handler on shore. The dog is sent to retrieve the second article. The dog has 3 minutes to complete both retrieves.

basic control

Retrieve Off A Boat


basic control

The dog and handler ride out on a boat about 75 feet from shore. The handler throws a paddle or oar 10 feet from the boat. The dog has 90 seconds to jump from the boat, make the retrieve, bring the oar back to the handler or steward and relinquish it.

Life Ring


Three stewards enter the water and swim about 75 feet out and 30 feet apart. One feigns distress, splashing and calling; the other two remain silent and still. The handler gives his dog the knotted end of a line attached to a life ring. The dog must take the line voluntarily. He must then swim directly to the person in distress, coming close enough that the steward can grab the life ring or the dog. The dog then tows the steward to shore. The exercise must be completed within 2 minutes.

basic control

Underwater Retrieve


basic control

Handler and dog enter the water together walking to a point where the water is elbow depth for the dog. The handler throws an article of his choice 3 feet away from the dog parallel to shore. The article must sink immediately. The dog has 3 minutes to retrieve the article and return it to his handler. He may do so by submerging his head or pawing it to shallower water and retrieving it. The handler may throw the article at elbow depth as often as needed within the 3 minute limit.

Take a Line/Tow a Boat


Two stewards wait in a boat at least 75 feet from shore. One calls the dog. The handler gives his dog a short line with a bumper attached. The dog may take either end of the line voluntarily. He then swims out to the boat, coming close enough for the steward to grab the line. The dog must then pull the boat to shore until it touches bottom. He has 2 minutes to complete the exercise.

basic control



basic control

Dog and handler ride in a boat to at least 75 feet from shore. At the signal from the judge, the handler falls or jumps from the boat. The dog must remain in the boat until called. He has 30 seconds to voluntarily enter the water without landing on the handler. He must swim directly to his handler and tow him back to the boat or to shore. 90 seconds is allowed to complete the entire exercise.






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