This article will be looking at how to teach your dog to swim. The sweltering summer is here, and temperatures are running high. This makes swimming the perfect activity to cool off while having fun. There is no reason why your dog shouldn’t join in as well. Swimming is a great exercise, both for humans and dogs. It is much more fun if your dog joins you in the pool.
There are many myths surrounding dogs when it comes to swimming. The truth is, like any activity, swimming is great exercise, and it is an excellent way to reduce stress. Research shows that regular swimming can improve the condition of dogs suffering from arthritis.
Can Dogs Swim?
It is wrong to assume that all dogs know how to swim naturally. This is true for some breeds, but not all. Shorter dogs, especially those that have longer bodies are not good swimmers. Even if your dog belongs to a breed known for swimming it is better to do some practice before they can start swimming in a deep pool.
6 Steps On How To Teach Your Dog To Swim
Here are six simple steps that will help you teach your dog to swim:
- Check With TheVet
Before any kind of training, make sure to put in place all safety precautions. You may never know when an accident occurs so leave nothing to chance. You never know how your dog will react at first so prepare for the worst-case scenario.
It is good to check with your vet. The vet will conduct a thorough check-up of your dog to see if they are in good physical condition. Swimming requires a lot of strength and stamina. Making sure your dog is in top physical shape is important.
- Safety First
To teach your dog to swim, next is the training pool. It should not be deep; your dog should be able to reach the bottom with its feet when standing upright. Always put your dog in a lifejacket, even when inside the training pool. Only take off the lifejacket when you are 100% sure your dog is an expert swimmer.
Another important thing to remember is never to let your dog out of sight. A split second is all it takes for the worst to happen. Always keep an eye on your dog so you can act quickly if something unfortunate happens.
Make sure you have buoys nearby just in case. The shape and structure of the swimming pool must be safe for your dog. The entry should be shallow enough so your dog can easily get in and out. The temperature of the water needs to be at a comfortable level. It should not be too cool or too warm. Maintain a temperature between 50°F and 102°F.
- Begin Slowly
Learning any new activity can be a stressor for your dog, especially if they are young. So proceed with tact. Start things slow. This does not mean you should not start training for swimming while your dog is still small. If you have Pug puppies, give it a shot. What it means is that your dog will get the hang of it slowly.
Remain calm so your dog feels confident and trusts the process. Dogs are good at sensing human emotions, so show strength to encourage your furry friend. The first few sessions can simply be getting in the pool and getting out.
A pool can appear intimidating to dogs, especially those that have a smaller build. Start by teaching your dog to get in and come out of the pool. Your dog should understand where to enter and exit the swimming pool from.
Getting a grasp of how to get in and get out will reduce the fear of water and enable your dog to get accustomed to the feeling of being in the water. it is alright if your dog gets into the pool for short periods at first.
- Provide Support
Begin by teaching your dog how to paddle. Support your dog at first. Much like humans, dogs need time to learn how to make their bodies float. Dogs will instinctively try to use their legs and paddle once in the water. Do not take this as a sign that your dog has mastered swimming. Position yourself nearby so you can support your dog if needed.
You can grab onto your dog’s front legs to take some pressure off the hind legs. Once they have improved their paddling motion, you can remove the support. Providing support is also key to giving your dog confidence. If they know you are present, your dog will feel less stressed and this will increase the success rate.
- Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Ensure that your dog has drunk water before they get into the pool. Pool water is full of chemicals and is unsafe for consumption. If your dog has had enough water before going into the pool, the chances that it will drink the pool water are low.
It is also better if you have not fed your dog before getting in the pool. Swimming on a full stomach is never a good idea.
- Get Pool Toys For Your Dog
Make the process fun and enjoyable for your dog. Swimming should be a fun activity and not a burden. Get toys made specifically for the pool. These are bright and colorful and float in water. This way your dog will feel relaxed and be interested in getting in the pool.
If your dog is afraid of the water, having toys around will distract them and pacify their fears.
Going for a Swim
Swimming is an excellent activity for your dog. It provides them with exercise and enjoyment at the same time. The beneficial health effects are an added advantage. Despite this, do not force your dog to go for a swim. Even if you know it is good for them, do not try to train them unless they are ready.
It may not seem like a big deal to you; however, for your dog going into the water is a new experience. Ease them into it. Also, be sure that there is no such thing as too much safety. Be prepared for any kind of situation. Dogs can be unpredictable, especially when faced with novel circumstances so err on the side of caution.
Dur-e-Sabih provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. Her educational background in Accountancy helps her in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development, finance, and digital marketing.