Happy Lab.

Some dogs love to swim and others are terrified to even be in a bathtub full of water but it is in every dog’s best interest to learn to swim.  You may think just making your dog get in the water and showing them how to find the side of the pool is all you need to do but there is more to it than that.  And, if you just toss your dog in the water and tell him to swim, he may swim successfully but he may be terrified of water for life.  Teach your dog to swim with positive water experiences so that they have the skills they need to survive and the ability to enjoy water.  Below are 5 tips for teaching your dog to swim.

5 Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Swim

  1. Introduce Your Dog to the Water
    • Your dog’s first few experiences with the water could impact the way they behave around water for life. If your dog seems incredibly nervous about getting in a swimming pool, perhaps it is better to let them get used to being in water in a bathtub or baby pool first.  Then, slowly and using a positive voice, bring them to the body of water where you will be teaching them how to swim.
  2. Slowly Increase Bring Your Dog Deeper Into the Water
    • Don’t just drop your dog in the deep end and wish them “good luck.” Gradually bring your dog deeper into the water with you so that they feel safe.  Use a calming and reassuring voice.
  3. Support Your Dog’s Body as They Learn to Paddle
    • As your dog feels the water, their instincts will likely kick in and their feet will begin to paddle. Teaching them to paddle by supporting their body at first so that they feel safe to learn.  Gradually reduce the amount of support you provide until they are paddling on their own.
  4. Use Familiar Toys and Rewards for Encouragement
    • If your dog enjoys playing fetch, bring a ball or toy into the pool to play fetch with so that they feel comfortable. Additionally, I tis a good idea to come armed with rewards so that you can encourage them with each positive step in the process.
  5. Teach Your Dog How to Get Out
    • Finally, and possibly most importantly, your dog needs to know how to get out of the pool. Even if your dog never enjoys swimming they need to know how to get out in case they fall in or get bumped into a body of water.  Show them where the steps or ledges are to get out, point them in the direction and release them so that they can swim to the edge.  Walk with them and get out using the same exit so that they can understand that is where they need to go to get out.