Thursday, May 15, 2014

How do you teach a dog to swim?

Yesterday we talked about dog breeds that can't swim, such as the Bulldog. When discussing breeds physically able to do it, how do they learn to swim?

Some dogs plunge in and love the water. Others are reluctant. Some dogs are scared of water, especially if they meet the ocean for the first time. It smells and sound so differently from what they're used to.

Encourage your dog by going out and calling for him or her. If they follow, reward with praise.

Many dogs love to play fetch and will follow a tennis ball or other floating toy even if they wouldn't plunge in on their own. Don't throw it far; let the dog get comfortable at a certain depth and go gradually deeper.

Some dogs will join in if other dogs or people are having fun in the water. There are dogs who will never enjoy being in the water, and it is important to respect that.

If your dog loves swimming, you still need to keep an eye out for safety. Puppies and older dogs tire quickly, and often don't realize how fatigued they are until it's too late. Strong currents can pull in humans as well as dogs, and it is wise to stay away from areas with underwater debris that can catch around the dog's legs.

Even if your dog never takes to the water, he or she might still like hanging out on the beach with you. Non-swimmers should wear a doggie life vest. If the sand is hot, booties can be a good idea to protect the sensitive paws. Dogs can't cool off like humans do, so there must be access to shade and cool drinking water.

~ Maria Sadowski ~


  1. I learned about swimming on the North Sea. Bailie got her first taste in the pool in Florida, and this morning she jumped into the pond and had to swim. Water is the best part of summer...aside from wabbits and squirrels.

    1. Oh the North Sea is cold, Emma! A pool in Florida sounds more pleasant. =) I sometimes take my gang to the beach, and the American Eskimo is SO happy every time he discovers that he can swim. He doesn't have a very good memory, so he's scared of the water at first - every time - and then he doesn't want to leave. =D