Though the Portuguese Water Dog originated as a fishing dog, he does not need to be in the water constantly. This will come as quite a relief to those potential owners who really want a Portuguese Water Dog but who do not own a home on a body of water. While the Portuguese Water Dog does love water and will play and work quite happily in it, he does not need it to survive. However, it should be noted here that some access to water should be provided, even if the access is a yearly vacation or summertime trips to the beach.
The Portuguese Water Dog was used as a water retriever in fishing boats, so his retriever instinct is incredibly well developed. This means that even though he is named the Portuguese "Water Dog," he is actually mostly retriever. This is terrific news for people who want to own this dog but do not have access to water where the dog can play and exercise. Instead, they can help their Portuguese Water Dog get all the exercise he needs on land.
Just like with other types of dog breeds who will retrieve, the Portuguese Water Dog will chase, retrieve, and bring back a thrown toy or stick in the backyard. This is wonderful for families with children. The Portuguese Water Dog is a very social dog who gets along very well around children of any age. Teaching your family to play with the dog can be a wonderful activity, not just for you and your children, but for the dog as well.
The Portuguese Water Dog is happiest when he can spend time with his family. This is why it is important to only purchase a Portuguese Water Dog if you have the time and inclination to train and thoroughly exercise the dog. If he does not get enough exercise, the Portuguese Water Dog can destroy things around your home, like plants, pillows, shoes, and anything else he can get his paws on. Portuguese Water Dogs have been known to get into closed cupboards, and they will steal unprotected food from the table or kitchen counter. However, proper training and exercise will curb this destructive tendency in the dog.
So how can you exercise a water dog on land? Besides playing with him and the family in the backyard, you can easily exercise the Portuguese Water Dog in the same way you exercise yourself. Take him on your morning walks or your afternoon runs. Portuguese Water Dogs are notoriously good running partners, and this is not only considered fun for them, but a good bonding time as well. Portuguese Water Dogs also will do well in dog parks as they are usually quite good with other dogs.