Many people believe that swimming is one of many dogs’ natural instincts, just like barking, howling, digging holes and loving humans. But, while for some dog breeds that might be true, others might not feel so comfortable in the water. Newfoundlands, Spaniels, Retrievers and Setters are all excellent swimmers and enjoy being in the water, mainly because of their strong limbs, but also because these breeds have been selected for centuries specifically for retrieve in waterflow or for water rescue. On the other hand, breeds that are bulkier, like Bulldogs or Boxers, or short faced, like Pugs, might find more difficult to use their legs to keep afloat or might get easily fatigued and might require extra attention to enjoy their water experience.
This is why we prepared some tips to introduce your dog to water and to swim with you in the hot days of summer, have fun and be prepared to get wet!
1. Find the perfect spot to start your lesson. The area should be safe like a shallow lake or a pond, make sure that there are no plants that might get into your dog's paws or waves that could disrupt and make your dog anxious.
2. Bring treats and friends along, both human and canine. The aim is to help your dog feeling more at ease and other water loving dogs will make yours more prone to get into the water, seeing that it is not dangerous. Also, you might want to bring along your dog’s favourite treats or toys or anything that might help him to feel at ease.
3. Show your dog how to enter and exit the water. Small slopes or steps might be very useful if you are in a swimming pool. If your dog has never been in the water, make sure she can touch the bottom for these first encounters.
4. Consider using a life jacket for dogs, especially if your dog is very cautious around water. Most pet supply stores have life jackets in many sizes and styles that are appropriate for every body type. Lifejackets with handles are very useful in guiding your dog in the water and help them moving around.
5. Start in the shallow water, then have your dog swimming a few strokes towards you, reward her and then swim back outside of the water, so that she will know she can. Motivate your dog with a ball of with a toy, to make her swim forward.
6. Take your dog’s time. Swimming might be an overwhelming activity for a dog that is not used to it, so take your time when teaching and in approaching the water. Also make sure you keep an eye out for signs of distress and anxiety as the experience should be a nice and fun one both for you and your dog.
Mad Paws Pty Ltd