For centuries Portuguese Water Dogs worked long days on the fishing boats and as a result have a great deal of stamina and energy. PWDs can swim, run and play all day. When not active for long periods of time they will get bored and might go looking for ways to entertain themselves, some of which you might not be thrilled with like surfing your countertops or ventilating your favorite pair of shoes. Extremely bright with a robust sense of humor, they are best suited for active homes with lots of room to run. They make excellent outdoor activity companions and if you have a backyard swimming pool just try to keep them out regardless of time of year.
If you and/or your family cannot commit time daily to engage in activity with a Portie this is not the breed for you. The best way to keep your Portuguese Water Dog happy and healthy is by engaging both their mind and body on a regular basis.
Portuguese Water Dogs are easy to train, but they are strong willed animals who at times display an independent streak. It is important to start training them early to ensure success. They respond to praise and treats....and the level of their response seems to coincide with the quality and quantity of the treats. As mentioned, these are smart, astute and observant dogs who want to please and should never be treated harshly. Shouting and physical discipline will confuse them and drive them to develop avoidance behaviors.
PWD's like to jump on you so keep that in mind when they greet you with mud on their paws. They get very excited when you return home. They will grab a toy and bound to the door with this gift to welcome you back. Keep in mind as well that for centuries these dogs stayed on their masters boats at night to protect the catch and as such they make great guard dogs. Not sure what they would do if someone tried to break into your house, but you will certainly know when a UPS or FedEx package is being delivered.