Water Work

The highest-performing dogs in this sport are typically dogs bred for
water work—Newfoundlands for water rescue and Portuguese Water Dogs (PWDs) for
working alongside fishermen. But all water-loving dogs can participate at some
level. Both water work activities—rescue work and assisting fishing
vessels—form the basis for a set of water trials. Water rescue involves tasks
like underwater retrieves, swimming to a person (conscious or unconscious) and
towing him to shore or to a boat, jumping off a boat to retrieve things like
life jackets, and taking life rings and knotted lines to “victims.” Working
with fishermen involves underwater retrieves and retrieving overboard fishing
nets or ropes, plus carrying messages between boats, swimming fishing floats
into place, towing nets, and more.

Both categories of the sport demand great teamwork, but the physical
demands of the dog and handler are moderate unless you compete at the top
level. The complexity of the training is also moderate, making water work a
great sport for any active dog who enjoys getting wet and whose people live
near a safe, accessible body of water, for example a lake, pool, pond, stream,
river, or the ocean.