The Tadpole test was developed by Judi Adler of CRNC and Gaby Cohen
of NCNC (and some others -- let me know and I'll include you!) as
a way to get beginners wet -- to introduce dogs to the water, and to satisfy that urge among spectators who sit through the NCA test each year
to give it a try. It's always fun, informal, and a great way to end the test.
1. The Fetch. You toss a bumper out 25
feet into the water. Your dog swims out and fetches it, then brings it
back to you as you wait on land. He doesn't have to hand it to you; he
can drop it at your feet, or you can grab it from him as he's leaving the
water, or he can go onto shore past you and drop it and you can walk down
and pick it up. Or he can drop it in the water, so long as you can reach
it without stepping into the water yourself. One minute time limit.
2. The Dunk. Walk into shallow water
with your dog. Show him his favorite sinking toy. (The article is up to
you, provided it'll sink immediately and it's no more than four inches
long in any direction. For instance, a whiffle ball with rocks inside.)
Toss or set the toy into water eight inches deep. Then it's up to him.
To pass, he can put his face under right there and pick it up for you to
take it. Or he can paw it shallower and then pick it up with his mouth
and you grab it. Or he can paw it all the way onto dry land and then you
can pick it up.
3. The Send. A kindly, enticing "stranger"
greets your dog on shore and shows the dog that he (the stranger) has the
dog's bumper. Then he swims out 25 feet from shore, while you wait on shore
with your dog. The swimmer waves the bumper and splashes it in the water
(holding it) and entices your dog, calling him by name. The dog swims out
and gets the bumper from the guy, then swims back to you and "delivers"
as in #1 above.
4. The Boat. The written description
sounds complicated, but the exercise is simple. It's a two-part exercise,
but that's simple too. Part One: A rowboat rests at the shore's edge, platform
facing the shore. It's barely on shore, so it's a tad bit rocky: not so
jammed that it'll be difficult to shove off, but not free-floating either.
An oarsman sits in the boat. Two stewards stand in the water, one on either
side of the boat at the oarlock, steadying it slightly. You and your dog
begin from shore, 15 feet from the boat, then walk to the boat and both
of you board. Your dog must get on willingly, and without being assisted
physically; he must jump or climb up by himself. Once you're both on and
settled, Part Two begins. You indicate you and your dog are ready to go
for a boat ride, and the two wading stewards push the boat out into the
water. The oarsman rows for 60 seconds, toward the end of that time rowing
the boat back to shore, again platform end to shore. When the boat touches
bottom, you and your dog wait five timed seconds without either of you
exiting. (A judge does the timing and announces when the exercise is over.)
5. The Swim. A kindly steward gently holds your dog on shore. You wade out, then swim out to a spot 25 feet from shore. Then you call your dog and encourage him to come out to you. He does, swimming to you, and then you both return to shore, swimming together but without the dog towing you. This is a social swim, with the dog near but not on top of you. Both of you swim till the dog reaches wading depth.