The Spanish Water Dog Breed
Although it is classified as a Gundog the Spanish Water Dog, known in its home country as the Perro de Agua Español, is an all-purpose working breed, used in Spain for hundreds of years for herding, hunting, fishing and guarding. The way this breed has lived and worked in Spain for centuries has produced dogs that are highly intelligent, multi-talented, independent and capable of making decisions. They are often suspicious of strangers, will defend what is theirs or their owners' and, if threatened and unable to escape, will protect themselves. It is only in the last thirty years or so that this breed has been brought into a domesticated environment and expected to live as a social member of a modern human family. Until the early 1980s they had rarely lived in towns and had never had to learn to cope with all the trappings of modern life in the way we expect our dogs to in the UK. Consequently, Spanish Water Dogs are still very primitive and are not quite as easy to understand as those breeds that have been living closely with man for two or three hundred years.
Spanish Water Dogs can be trained to do anything it is physically possible for a dog to do if you know how to train a dog, or know someone who can teach you. They are active, agile and extremely intelligent. They are great problem solvers and are adept at copying behaviour. The down side of all this is that if you do not train the dog it will train you, and not always to do the things you want to do! An untrained Spanish will make its own decisions, and not always the right ones! So, in a nutshell, if you want to own and live with this fascinating breed and have the best relationship you possibly can you will have to put some work into it. However, the up side is that training your dog should be fun for both of you.
Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend ‐ Corey Ford
Training must be positive and motivational; it must never be harsh or punishment based. Once you, or your trainer, have broken the dog's trust you may never get it back. Gundog trainers, in particular, must be chosen with care. The only correction a Spanish Water Dog requires is that you refuse to reward the unwanted behaviour or put the dog away and refuse to continue training. There should never be a need to physically punish the dog. Once your dog is trained and knows what you are asking for you may, on certain occasions (usually when people are watching), find yourself on the wrong end of this breed's sense of humour! He may look at you, look at this audience and, with a laugh, pretend he hasn't got a clue what you're talking about! A quick 'oi' is usually sufficient to remind your dog he is meant to be working and should do what you've asked him to do. Your dog's faith and trust in you are the most important aspects of a good relationship. Never be tempted to break it by shouting, smacking, scruffing or otherwise abusing him. And never use a shock collar, even if it is legal where you live.