Your Portuguese Water Dog needs exercise. This is one of the most important things about him that you as a new owner need to know. Why is it so important? Because the dog will not be happy, healthy, or obedient if he is not treated properly, and part of treating your Portuguese Water Dog properly is exercising him.
The needs of a Portuguese Water Dog are fairly simple, though there are a few things that should be noted. One is, of course, his need for exercise. The dog is incredibly active and like most active, working dogs, he needs an outlet for all of his energy. Also, the Portuguese Water Dog, as one can tell from the breed's name, needs to have some access to water. While it is not essential that you live on a lake or the ocean, the dog does love the water and will be a much happier dog when he has at least a little exposure to it. For this particular breed, the best way to accomplish these two needs is swimming with your dog.
Swimming with the Portuguese Water Dog is not only an incredible exercise for him, it is also a great way for you to stay in shape. But the best part about taking your best friend swimming is that you can bond with each other, which is something else that the Portuguese Water Dog truly needs. There are usually some concerns about swimming with dogs, one of them being their claws. While the Portuguese Water Dog does have claws, he will generally not cling to you as he is not afraid of the water; also, the breed can be taught how to swim safely with humans. This is something that should be taught by a professional, of course.
Not only can the Portuguese Water Dog swim with his master, he also enjoys swimming with children. This breed is particularly good with children, and loves playing with them. In fact, when they are introduced to children as puppies, they grow up accepting the children as part of their "pack", and as being higher up on the power scale. This is good because the children can command the dog. When he plays with children in the water, the Portuguese Water Dog often will "tow" the children back to shore. It is possible that the dog is "saving" the child, though it is also possible that this is just an ingrained behavior and can be used as a game.
The Portuguese Water Dog also likes to swim by himself and play in the water. He will enjoy having his master or family member throw a stick or floating toy into the water and retrieving it from the water. This is a great game for the dog, and some Portuguese Water Dogs will play the game for an hour or longer.