There is nothing more refreshing than taking a swim in the cold pool on a hot day. Give your dog the same luxury by teaching them how to swim! Encourage your dog to join you for a dip in the pool; this is a great way for them to get some exercise while having fun! If they have never been swimming before, you may want to take some time for a few lessons first.
As always, safety comes first! Many people assume that for dogs, swimming comes naturally. However, some breeds, like bulldogs, cannot swim at all. If you have a lightweight dog with short legs you should invest in a life vest or jacket. Also, as you are teaching your dog to swim you should keep a leash on them. The leash will not be a restricting measure, but it will keep your dog from getting into trouble or swimming out too far. You should keep the leash on until your dog is able to swim unassisted. Also, be sure to never leave your dog unattended in the water, this is very dangerous and could permanently ruin the swimming experience for your dog.
Next, make sure to start slow. Don’t startle your dog by throwing them in the pool; that will only ensure that they will be terrified of the water. Get your dog accustomed to the water in a shallow area to let them “get their feet wet” first. If your pet seems apprehensive about entering the water, bring some toys and training treats to persuade them. Verbally praise your pup when they make positive moves towards the water. Once you enter deeper water, provide an arm under your dog’s belly for support. Making your dog feel comfortable and supported to keep them from panicking. If your dog still seems overly nervous, come back to shallow water and let them calm down before repeating.
After you have finished your swimming lesson, you must teach your dog how to get out of the pool or boat. Next, rinse your pup with fresh water to get rid of any residue from the water. Once you have completed all of these necessary steps, remember to give your dog verbal and physical praise. You want your dog to associate swimming with fun and positive times. Repeat these lessons regularly and soon you will have a new swimming buddy!