How to Train your dog to rescue a drowning man

Command: “help”    Gesture: point at the direction of rescue with your right hand.

Training Method: This training should be on the basis of that your dog has the ability to swim and retrieve.


Step 1. Train your dog to retrieve the scarecrow in water

Firstly, you must make a scarecrow using straws, then help it put on its clothes. Secondly, throw the scarecrow into water, its feet should sink in water, his head and arms expose over the water. Training begins now. Choose a pond or reservoir that’s not very deep, then take your dog to the side of pond, throw the scarecrow into pond to his face, then say “retrieve” and “help” commands, direct your dog to rescue the scarecrow.

Because the arms of scarecrow is over water, it’s obvious, and it’s thickness is suitable to hold in mouth, so the dog will bite at its arm.
When your dog holds the scarecrow in his mouth, you should say commands “come” and “good” continually until the dog retrieve the scarecrow, then give him a reward.

Step 2. Train your dog to rescue a drowning man

Choose a person who’s familiar with your dog and can swim well as your assistant, assistant will be the drowning man. The assistant should  have dressed up, his arms should be swathed well in bandage or cloth, to avoid canine to injure his skin. Stay in water that’s as deep as your chest, waiting for “help”.

When you take the dog to the side of pond, the assistant cry for help and flap the water with hands to attract dog’s attention, then you point at the assistant and say “help” command to him. When the dog swim towards assistant, assistant can call dog’s name and stretch out a arm to dog, so that dog can hold the arm in mouth, now you can say “come” command, the assistant and dog swim together to land. When the dog arrive on land, give your dog a reward at once, as well, the assistant should also give the dog a stroke to empress friendship.

On this basis, the assistant can be replaced by a stranger, cancel name calling gradually, train the dog until he can rescue a drowning man according to your command.


①At the beginning of training, you can use commands “retrieve” and “help” together, change to use “help” later.

②At the beginning of rescuing assistant, when the dog holds his arm in his mouth and swims towards land, you should swim to water’s edge following your dog, after that, assistant may let the dog pull him to land alone.