How To Teach Your Dog To Swim

Jun 19, 2018

It’s summer and that means it’s time to swim. For dog owners, it’s the season to either watch your dog splash around like a pup, or deal with their water phobia. While some breeds love water, others avoid it like the plague. What owners don’t always realize is that dogs aren’t born knowing how to swim: they need to learn. Before you head to the beach, it’s important to give your dog a bit of swimming experience in a safe environment. To help your canine get his or her feet wet, Timbercreek brings you this list of tips and tricks for teaching your dog how to swim this summer.

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Start early

Like humans, dogs adapt better to training, skills, and circumstances the younger they’re exposed. Start early. Frequent baths for puppies is a great place to start. You can gradually increase water depth, and graduate slowly to using a baby pool, or the shallow end of a full outdoor pool if you have access to one. Check it out.

Take it Slow

Take it slow with water training. Introduce your pet to water early and often. Use the bathtub or a plastic baby pool, and make the water luke warm. Hold your dog under the belly, speak in a calm tone, and be supportive. Be overt, and praise frequently.  Aim to make the whole thing a positive experience and your dog will respond better. Find out more.

Be Safe

Make sure your dog is safe and protected. Before they swim, make sure that the body of water is known and obstacle free. If your dog is frightened of water or not a natural swimmer, use a flotation device. You can also get an extension leash with a body harness to offer extra support. Dogs tend to naturally stay within a short distance from both shore/exits and their owners, but keep an eye on where they roam.

Know your dog, know the breed

Some breeds love water and take to it instantly. Others hate it, and will avoid it unless submerged. Even the most water-phobic of dogs should be exposed to water, if only to survive in an emergency. In these situations, it’s key to follow the previous points and make the experience as positive and supportive as possible. Read more.

Getting out and proper praise

A lot of dogs will naturally find their way out of a body of water. But pools and lakes with larger areas can be harder for them to navigate on their own. With guidance, they’ll learn their way to shore, or to the pool stairs, but when starting, guide them yourself. Dogs will follow your voice and your direction of movement, so make yourself clear and visible. And once your dog finds the exit and gets out safely, praise them thoroughly, adding treats as well for positive reinforcement.

Timbercreek hopes these tips help you teach your pup how to swim this summer. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

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