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May 17, 2023
Many people assume all dogs know how to swim, but unfortunately, an estimated 5,000 family pets drown annually. Before going on a boating adventure, enjoying a day at the lake, or kicking back by the pool, teaching your dog to swim is vital.
Teaching your canine companion to swim increases their safety around the water and opens the door to more fun activities you can share with your pooch. The most important thing to remember is to stay patient and progress gradually. In other words, don’t toss your pup into the pool and assume instincts will take over.
Some dog breeds love swimming more than others, like Portuguese Water Dogs and Labradors. But it’s best not to assume anything when it comes to water safety. Instead, take the process a step at a time, beginning with a slow and steady introduction to the water.
If you dream of spending a day out by the lake with your best furry friend or splashing around in the pool, it’s time for some doggy swimming lessons. Use these tips to ensure your experience goes swimmingly.
Wearing a dog life vest can help your pup feel more confident and comfortable in the water. It’s also a must when participating in activities like boating or spending the day at the lake. Find a vest that fits your pup snugly, and look for one with a handle that lets you hold onto your dog. A vest with bright reflective colors also makes it easier to spot your pup in case of an accident.
If you have a large dog, don’t forget to wear a life vest yourself. If your dog gets spooked or panics, they could potentially drag you underwater.
When starting out, small is best. Introduce your dog to the water in a small setting, like the bathtub. Entice your pup to get in the water using their favorite toy, like the Rolly Cannoli. It floats and features a bright color, so your dog can spot it quickly and won’t lose sight of it in the water.
As soon as your pup puts a paw in the water, praise and reward them with a treat. After your dog is comfortable with the tub, progress to the backyard and try a kiddie pool. Gradually work up to larger bodies of water.
When your dog is ready for the pool, start in the shallow water near the steps. Once again, use a ball or toy to guide your dog into the pool. When your pup gets in the water, reward them with a treat. It’s important to keep the whole experience positive.
As your dog becomes more adept at swimming and splashing in the shallows, you can gradually work your way to deeper water. Hold the life vest as your dog gets used to paddling with all four legs. Once they consistently do it, you can release the jacket so they can swim independently.
If you’ve ever observed a children’s swimming lesson, you may have witnessed what happens if kids don’t want to get into the water. It often includes lots of tears, screaming, kicking, and flailing. Sometimes, parents stop the lesson, and other times, they continue to try and pull their kids into the water. It’s not a pretty picture.
If your pup hesitates to get in the water, that’s one thing. But if they have no interest, physically resist, or don’t want to swim, don’t force them. After all, if it’s not fun for them, it won’t be fun for you.
Some dogs simply aren’t cut out for swimming. They might have trouble staying afloat, issues with breathing, or short legs that wear out after a few seconds of treading water. If this sounds like your pet, consider other summer activities to do with your dog.
Once your pooch knows how to swim, ensuring your dog swims safely is critical. Remember these essential points anytime you plan to enjoy some water fun with your dog.
Taking the time to teach your dog to swim gives you peace of mind, keeps your pal safe, and makes swimming a lot more fun for both of you. Always watch your dog anytime you’re near the water, and use the right products to keep them safe and sound. If your pup isn’t into swimming, don’t force them to do it. Instead, find alternate ways to enjoy each other’s company and soak in the summer sun.
For more exciting ways to spend time with your pet and tips on caring for them, check out the rest of the Neater Pets blog. Will you take your pup to the pool this summer? Tell us — is your dog an avid swimmer, or do they prefer to lounge by the pool with some doggy ice cream? Both sound like fun to us!
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