Check the Water’s Edge Before Letting the Dogs Out


As we head into the heat of summer, creative outings can keep your dog active. What better choice could there be than to give the dog a chance to run around on the shores of a lake or pond, and swim out after a few training dummies? The water, after all, helps keep your dog cool as it exercises.

But the water, warns professional dog trainer Karl Gunzer, can also harbor hard-to-see hazards.

“I’ve been to the vet getting fish hooks out of dogs’ throats,” recalls Gunzer. “You think you’re doing the best thing possible by bringing your dog out to the water, but if you’re in a place where people do a lot of fishing, they leave hooks and rotten worms and who knows what else, and the dog catches the scent and gets into it before you see what’s happening.”

In seconds, your dog can gulp down a fish hook.

“That’s surgery,” says Gunzer, “and that’s not cheap.”

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While there are no guarantees when it comes to what dogs might bite on when you glance in the other direction, Gunzer recommends walking the water-side area before letting the dogs out. “If you check it good,” he says, “you’ll find a lot of things you can pick up so the dogs don’t have a chance to find them. And it’s just good for a lot of reasons, when we pick up trash and dispose of it properly. Wish we didn’t have to do that, but it’s part of everyday life.”

Great advice. The precautions you take right before opening the kennel door can help the rest of your summer day go swimmingly.


      Karl Gunzer operated Karl’s High Spirit Retrievers for more than 20 years, the top Derby kennel in America in 2007 and 2012. He trained five National Finalists and a two-time Canadian National Champion. Competing in eight National Championships with 24 different dogs, he won more than 40 Open stakes and 60 Derby stakes. Today, as Senior Manager of Purina’s Sporting Dog Program, Gunzer’s team attends more than 500 field trials and championships every year.

     Purina Pro Plan is the Official Dog Food of MidWest Outdoors, because advanced research and applied science result in the finest food for your hunting dog… because it’s far-and-away the top brand fed to champion canine athletes (89 of the top 100 in 2016)… and because Purina joins us in supporting the mission of Pheasants Forever.