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Teach Your Dog to Swim

A common misconception about dogs and water is that all dogs are natural swimmers. This is not true, some dogs are very good swimmers while some will even hate the thought of being near water much less swimming in it.

So do not assume that if you place your dog in a pool of water he will paddle away. To ensure your dog will know what to do in water, you need to teach him how to swim.

Of course, before the swimming lessons start, you need to evaluate your dog to see if he is a good candidate for swimming.

Young dogs should not be taught to swim till they are older, that is about at around 8 or 9 weeks of age. Dogs suffering from joint problems should also be kept off pools since the cold may only make their conditions worse.

When teaching your dog to swim

- Choose a water body that is proportional to the size of the dog, for smaller dogs and puppies you can start training in a tub filled with water or use the baby pool.

- Never force the dog to get in water as this only makes the experience unpleasant. Try to make the dog voluntarily enter the water using a toy or tug rope.

- If you are using a pool, ensure that the dog is wearing a life vest, even then you can still offer additional support.


- To get the dog in the water you can lure him using a tug toy or something that will catch his interest, initially hold the toy at the edge of the pool, you can get the dog’s attention by making a noise or waving the toy. Once the dog comes to retrieve the toy, move it further into the water, be patient with the dog. Sometimes, the dog will hesitate to enter the water, just bring the toy close and move in slowly further into the pool..

- Encourage the dog, for every progress made no matter how small. Offer the dog treats and give him verbal praise.

- As the dog becomes more used to water, you can encourage him to get into the water without your help by tossing the bait (food/toy) into the water and waiting to see if your dog is willing to venture into the water by himself.

To keep the dog safe in water it is important that you observe some rules

- Always supervise the dog while he is in water. At times, the dog may tire while in water and not have the energy to return to the edge of the pool or the dog could suffer a panic attack in water. In these cases, it is important that you get into the pool and retrieve the dog.

- If you are using a large body of water such as a lake or ocean for training, keep watch of the dog so that he doesn’t wander into deeper water. Dogs will at times just swim and swim without watching where they are going and could end up getting lost. You don’t want this happening to you in the wild.

- Do not let the dog tire himself out in water. If the dog looks exhausted, just get him out of water and let him rest.

The best way to teach your dog to swim is to show him how. Getting a dog in the pool can be tricky. But as you show your dog how, he will eventually jump on the pool and swim with you.

For other funny dog videos and amazing dog tricks, you can easily gain access to them on our dog training video section.

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