How to Teach a Dog to Swim

Swimming is an excellent opportunity to bond and have amusement with your pet. It’s also an excellent exercise for your puppy or hyperactive canine to eliminate energy. Contrary to what most people believe, the fact is that dogs are not natural swimmers. Certain breeds, such as Dachshunds or Bulldogs, aren’t adept at swimming. Even the water-loving Labrador and Golden Retriever need encouragement and assistance to swim confidently and efficiently.

Even though a swimming style is called”doggy paddling,” our furry companions require training to navigate water without danger. Once your pet is at ease in the water, imagine the fun you and your dog will enjoy at the doggie pool and on hikes to your preferred swimming spots. If your dog wants to shed some pounds or recover from injuries, this low-impact exercise could be beneficial.

This is your guide for teaching your dog to swim. We’ll provide details about classes, security, the right equipment, and everything else you need to make your dog’s swim experience enjoyable.

Can All Dogs Swim?

If a dog can instinctively begin to air paddle in the water when it is placed over, it does not mean she’ll be one day Michael Phelps. Even if you own a dog interested in water, assuming that she can swim without prior training or exposure to water is risky. Dogs are at risk of drowning in panic and do not know how to exit the water.

“Many dogs never feel fully comfortable in the water,” says Dr. Rachel Barrack, founder of Animal Acupuncture. “Dogs need to learn to swim just like humans do.”

Consider safety when taking your dog to the swimming pool. “Your pet does not understand pool safety rules,” Barrack says. Barrack, “So it is important that you provide supervision and structure to keep your pet safe while swimming.”

Do not leave your pet unattended in a large pool. Lake, she advises.

Dog Breeds That Like to Swim

Photo Credit Avalon Ranch

Certain breeds of dogs love swimming in more significant quantities than the rest, while certain dogs possess unique characteristics and characteristics that enable them to flourish in the water.

Labrador Retrievers

With forebears resembling those of St. John’s Water Dog from Newfoundland and modern-day Labrador Retrievers with double-layered, weatherproof short coats and solid hind legs have become among the top loved swimmers.

Newfoundland Retrievers

In addition, hailing on Canada’s Atlantic Coast, the hearty and dependable Newfoundland Retriever, a different descendant of the St. John’s Water Dog–helped fishermen to retrieve nets filled with fish or tow lines. They also helped aid swimmers caught in trouble.

Portuguese Water Dog

The dog was found along the coast of Portugal. The Portuguese Water Dog was vital to communities living along the coast.

Golden Retriever

The people who were the ancestors of the Golden Retriever were born to retrieve waterfowl during hunting trips. Our present Golden Retrievers are fond of water. They also have long, strong legs, making swimming much more accessible.

Other Dog Breeds That Like to Swim

Other breeds of dogs that love to go swimming are:

  • American Water Spaniel
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Dog Breeds That Can’t Swim

Photo Credit K9 Water World

Pugs, Corgis, Bulldogs, Dachshunds, and Basset Hounds, with their large chests and shorter legs, cannot swim. Without legs that are long and round bodies, these dogs can’t paddle, and they tend to sink and roll when they’re in the water. Faces are flat French BulldogsPugs, and Boxers (also called brachycephalic breeds) with small snouts that struggle with maintaining their airways above the water.

Canines with oversized coats, such as Shih Tzus and Komondors, are often weighed down. Smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas and Maltese, can walk but get exhausted or overwhelmed quickly.

If you own any of these breeds or a mix of them, swimming can be dangerous, and dogs must carry life vests and be watched whenever they are near water.

Teaching a Dog to Swim

Photo Credit K9 Water World

As dogs learn to stay, sit and walk on leashes and walk nicely on a leash, they must be able to master swimming. Pet owners should follow the steps below to teach their dogs the art of swimming.

Step 1: Start Small, Slow, and Shallow

If you own an animal breed that tends to swim and water, you can gradually introduce her and teach her in an in-ground pool or a small lake, provided she can escape.

An introductory lesson at your local dog’s water park can be an excellent place to immerse your dog’s feet. Strap your dog to a life jacket, and stay patient.

“Don’t expect your dog to swim on the first visit,” says Meghan Luna, trainer for K9 Water World in San Marcos, Texas. “If you force it, you’ll go backward 100 times and it’s hard to get a dog to learn a new task if you break their trust.”

If you’re practicing swimming with your dog in open water, you should stay in the shallow areas, work in a parallel line to the shoreline, and stay clear of deep water until she is an expert. Luna is also adamant about starting in a small area and keeping the initial swimming sessions shorter. “Don’t expect them to swim a mile,” she says.

Step 2: Get in the Water and Stay Nearby

If you have a dog who loves water and are a water-loving dog owner, the first time your pet is in the water may be a terrifying experience. Instruct your dog to follow your steps into the water’s shallow part of the pool. Also, show her where the steps underwater are if she has to exit. Your presence in the collection can inspire your dog to gain confidence and will work towards an incentive, whether verbal praise or a treat you hold in your hands.

Step 3: Use Your Hands to Guide Your Dog

Photo Credit Avalon Ranch

In the beginning, your dog might raise her front paws to attempt to get out of the water, which causes her back to the sink. To stop this from happening, put your hand gently beneath her back, and place the other on your front legs, to prevent her from scratching the surface.

As soon as she begins to paddle, she cannot fully use the back legs. To help her move along, make sure you rub or tickle her back feet, causing her to move her legs and speed up.

Step 4: Extend Your Distance in the Water

Get farther away and ask her to paddle towards you with a watch at your body movements to ensure she’s taking in her surroundings. If at any time you feel she’s uneasy, lead her to the exit and restart the process after she’s settled.

Step 5: Play Games in the Water

When your dog is comfortable in the water, games can encourage your dog to continue swimming. “The best way for owners to ease their dog into the water is by making it fun,” Luna says. Luna. “You can find shallow areas and play fetch with your dog by throwing the toy into the water and slowly making bigger tosses to encourage your dog to go in further.”

Step 6: Provide Plenty of Praise

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Remember to ensure your dog is surrounded by plenty of praise after a job is accomplished so that she can associate the task with positive emotions. Wash her off before going home to rid yourself of the chemicals in your pool or dirt, algae, or salt that may be present in a natural body of water.

Swimming Classes for Dogs

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Guided swimming classes for dogs are a fantastic method to assist your dog’s water-loving companion to start learning and become proficient at swimming. Learning to teach your dog to swim on your own is feasible. However, a professional with experience can show your dog how to swim, paddle, and even float and avoid potential pitfalls. Dogs learn more quickly when their presence aids them in the company of dogs.

A pool at an aquatic center is designed specifically for dogs to exit quickly. A backyard pool can be dangerous for dogs since there is a challenging method to leave the collection. Additionally, a benefit of going with your dog to an aquatic class is that you’ll be able to continue your dog’s training indoors as the weather turns cold.

Dog pools also supply Life vests, inflatable toys, and other equipment for training to help lower the expense of movement.

During the dog swimming lessons, pets are urged to dip with their pets. This is how they master exercises and then follow the steps independently.

“Being hands-on will help [pet owners] remember what to do once they are on their own,” canine behaviorist and trainer Mary Spurrell, from Avalon Ranch in Ontario, Canada. “It makes the dogs more comfortable.”

The dog-friendly businesses that offer swimming lessons usually need the pet to be vaccination-free for their safety and to protect the other animals that frequent their premises. Group lessons can be beneficial to pet owners to allow their pets to socialize and meet other dog lovers.

Dog Swimming Gear Checklist

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If you are planning on swimming along with your pup, here are the things you need to be carrying around:

  • Dog life vest
  • Dog booties
  • Towel(s)
  • Fresh water and a collapsible bowl
  • Dog sunscreen
  • Small pet first-aid kit

Whether swimming on the shore or in the local dog-friendly pool, you must always wear a life jacket on your dog, even for the most skilled swimmer. A flotation device makes the exercise safer, especially in the case of water currents. Encourage your dog to get used to the vest by wearing it at home and rewarding the dog by offering treats.

The most effective dog life vest can be easily put on and has enough room for her head to remain above the water’s surface. Choose the vest with an opening on the back to allow you to lift your pet out of the water should it be necessary.

High-quality booties will protect your dog’s feet if you plan to swim in a lake or close to an emerald shoreline. Keep clean water in the water so she’s hydrated. Also, bring two towels to dry her off after washing.

When you swim, apply sunscreen specifically designed for dogs–especially for those that have white skin and light fur. Apply it again when she is out of the swimming pool. Do not apply human-made sunscreens to pets, as they could be licking the sunscreen and swallowing harmful components. “Eating these products can cause bloody diarrhea and vomiting,” she warns.

Swimming Safety for Dogs

Photo Credit Avalon RWhetherer If your dog is a beginner or a pro, your dog’s safety in the waters of the top priority when you go to the pool or the beach with your pet.

Be sure to follow these swimming safety guidelines:

Be sure to keep your dog’s attention always. Don’t let your pet wander unsupervised within or around the water in any way. The ponds and lakes can be home to unfriendly bugs or animals. So, don’t let your eyes off your dog.

Always wear a dog’s Life vest. As mentioned, ensure that your dog is wearing a vest, particularly if you’re in a boat or sea in deep waters.

Be aware of currents and rip tides. Ocean riptides, flowing rivers, and waterfalls can all be dangerous for your pet, so be vigilant while swimming alongside your dog.

Do not allow your dog to drink the water from your pool. When using a collection, make sure that you don’t let your pet take a drink of the water. “Chlorine, salt, and other chemicals used to keep pools clean and free of bacteria can cause health problems for your pet, such as gastric upset,” Barrack says. Barrack.

Clean your dog’s ears following a swim. Barrack also recommends checking your pet’s ear for moisture after swimming. Lake and ocean water could cause ear infections. Should your dog be susceptible to an ear infection, your vet may suggest an ear wash to use following a swim.

Get rid of collars that have fleas while you swim. If your pet wears a collar for fleas, remove it so the water doesn’t wash away active components. Make sure you return the collar to your pet when you’re done!

Introduce your dog to an appropriate phrase. Teaching your dog words like “ashore” will help her if she ever finds herself in a situation. Dog trainers can help guide the dog on how to swim towards the shore when they hear the word. This is done by throwing a ball or placing an item on the beach and uttering the appropriate term when the dog swims towards it.

Check for exhaustion. No matter where your dog is swimming, she’ll get tired and overwhelmed by the size of the pool. Being vigilant about her is crucial to her security. If your pet exhibits fatigue, get her out of the collection and allow her to lie down.

The moment you watch your dog complete his first lap, run into calm waters following the stick, or leap into the water together, is priceless. These unforgettable experiences are worth every effort you put into teaching your dog to swim.

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