How to teach a dog to swim?
- Before starting swimming lessons, you must choose a safe body of water. The best option would be a reservoir with a calm current and a gentle shore. Contrary to popular belief, small pools of stagnant water are not the best option: they usually contain many parasites carried by waterfowl.
- Teach your dog to swim gradually. Never drag your pet into the water by force, and do not throw it into the water. The dog will most likely flounder and swim out, but in love for swimming and trust in the owner, such an act can cause unwanted issues.
- If you want to keep your pet safe and help it feel more confident in the water, you can try using a life jacket.
Swimming lessons: step by step instructions
- Acquaintance with water should be gradual and positive. Start by walking along the shore so the dog can explore the area.
- Encourage your dog to play. You can start playing on land and then gradually move to the water.
- Continuing the play, enter ankle-deep water. If you see that the animal reacts ok, go into the pond knee-deep. If you do this gradually, the dog will understand that the water is not something to be scared of.
- When your furry friend learns to wet its paws in the water fearlessly, try throwing a non-sinking toy a little further into the water, prompting the dog to swim after it. Knowledge of the "Fetch" command (watch the lesson) will be a good advantage!
- Gradually increase the distance of the throw, rewarding the pet for success. Treat your dog with a snack when it fearlessly enters the water or brings you a toy from the water.
What else should you know?
- Be careful when you swim with your dog. Some dogs may try to climb onto the owner. To avoid such situations, throw toys in the direction of your swim so that the dog is in front of you and you can see it.
- Control the time spent in the water: it is possible to get the dog overcooled even in summer! The recommended time for swimming is no more than 15 minutes, especially when the water temperature is below 20°C.
- After swimming in the sea, rinse your dog's hair with fresh water.
- After finishing the water procedures, thoroughly dry the dog.
And remember: every pet is different. Seeing a pond for the first time, one dog can have fun swimming straight ahead, while for another, it will take more time to get used to water procedures. Some individuals can't stand bathing, which is also ok. Just accept it as a fact.
But if you want your pet to love swimming, before getting one, find out about the features of the breed. For example, short-legged dogs with flattened faces often find swimming more difficult. But most of the labradors, poodles, newfoundlands, Irish setters, and spaniels love to swim! But there are always some exceptions. So don't force your dog to swim if it doesn't show any interest in it. Find another exciting activity - fortunately, there are many things you can enjoy together!