Wet and Wild: Tips For Teaching Your Dog How To Swim
Enjoy the world of water with your pet this summer season.
The summer time is a favorite season for many. Not only does it mean long summer vacations for kids and those away at college, but it also means longer days spent outside, soaking up the sun and relaxing by the water. Whether you are lucky enough to live on a lake or near the ocean, or you have created your own backyard oasis with a personal pool, swimming is one of the most popular activities of summer, for people and dogs alike.
However, while dogs have many notorious instincts that they have learned naturally―sniffing, eating, barking, etc.―swimming can be an unfamiliar activity for many pets, despite what most people think. For someone who even has a swimming stroke named after them (the infamous doggy-paddle), you would assume that swimming is just another thing that dogs instinctively know how to do. However, many pet owners have found out the hard way that not every dog enjoys splashing in the beach waves on your annual family vacation.
So, how can you encourage your dog to test out the waters (pun intended) and get ready for swim season this summer? We have put together some basic tips about teaching your dog how to swim that will not only allow you to enjoy your time in the water together, but will also give Fido a great new form of exercise this summer.
Check With Your Vet
While swimming can be very beneficial in terms of health and well being (to both human and pet), it may not be the right form of exercise for all dogs. For instance, short snouted dogs may not be able to breathe well while swimming, and deep-chested, muscular dogs have a harder time staying afloat. To ensure that your pooch is fit for the pool, check with your veterinarian first to get the okay.
Don’t Just Throw Them In
Just as you would not toss your child into the water and expect them to fend on their own, you should not let your dog learn to conquer the water on their own. If they do not want to get in, you should not force them to do so. Instead, slowly put them on the steps of a pool or in the shallow of the lake and let their paws get used to it. Eventually, they will begin to work their way in.
Support Their Weight
Life jackets are very helpful when teaching your dog how to swim, especially if they are a smaller breed. However, even if your dog is properly fitted with a life vest, be sure to support its midsection and hindquarters in the water until they start paddling and feel comfortable. You may need to help them move their rear legs if they do not pick it up straight away.
Watch Them Closely
Lakes and pools are often surrounded by wildlife and tempting birds. Therefore, be sure that you watch where your dog is going and make sure they are not wandering off. Also, be sure to not let your dog overwork themselves in the water. Swimming can be very physically demanding and requires many breaks.