Misty is a pit bull terrier that can do an amazing dog rescue. What’s amazing is that this is an instinct that was in her naturally. She can also pull very large people as well. For the most part, this was a natural instinct for Misty, I just helped her fine tune her efforts.
It all started when I would take her to the lake near our home. When I first got her I didn’t know her swimming ability, so I would play with her in the shallow water. One day she was off sniffing among the rocks while I was wading around in the water. I decided to take a little swim out from the shore.
When Misty looked up from her sniffing around, she wasn’t pleased to see me so far from the shore. She came running to the water and bounding through it. Soon she had to start paddling to get to where I was. I still wasn’t sure of her swimming abilities so I started swimming in toward her. When she got to me, she began circling me. I was afraid she was going to start sinking, she had swum a good thirty feet out to me. I was concerned, also, about her scratching me with her claws if I grabbed her from the front, so I took a hold of her tail so I could help keep her afloat. To my amazement, she didn’t need my help at all! As soon as I grabbed her tail, she started swimming for shore! As long as I had a hold on her tail she kept on course for the shore. When I let go, before we reached shore, she came back around and began circling me again! Again, I took hold of her tail, and again, she started back to shore! There was no question in my mind, Misty was rescuing me!
She would repeat this feat every time I would swim further away from the shore than she felt safe about. Then, my daughter swam out, and again, Misty came to the rescue, circling around her until she took her tail, and then Misty would paddle them both back in.
After several turns of this Misty began wearing out. She began sinking more than swimming. The next few times I took her to the lake I showed her how to wait until I, or anyone, called for help, or I asked her to retrieve someone from the water.
Dragging people into shore takes a dog with a strong build because it can be a difficult pull. The heaviest person Misty has brought in weighed 350 lbs! It took a little longer than a smaller person, but once she had him floating along behind her, it was a straight course for the shore!
If you teach your dog to do rescue’s like this I have just a few words of caution. Never leave anyone alone in the water, especially children, for the dog to watch. A dog does not replace a parental eye, or lifeguard, they can only assist. Don’t allow children to fake drowning to make the dog rescue them. Multiple times swimming to drag a human back can wear the dog out quickly and children don’t always understand when it is time to stop the activity. One last thing, like the sheep that cried wolf, if the dog is called out multiple times for nothing, they may not go out when they are truly needed. So keep the fake to a minimum.