How to teach a dog swimming

How to teach a dog swimming

Written by: Anastasia Spevakina
Swimming is a wonderful way to strengthen the dog’s immune system and raise the muscle tone. Because of its high energy consumption, swimming is also an excellent tool for natural weight loss. For dogs, living in urban areas and following a sedentary lifestyle, swimming will be an excellent cardio workout.

Dogs are able to swim naturally, so you don’t need to train your pet to float on water and paddle legs. While swimming the dog’s head is always above water level without any additional efforts, and legs movements are similar to walking, so the dog can easily move forward. However, all these natural movements don’t mean that swimming dogs can’t drown.

Dogs drown as often as men. So you have to know how to teach your dog to swim and not to be afraid of water, finding a suitable place for training.

Make swimming activities only in warm weather. Some owners mistakenly believe that once dogs have wool, they can swim at any time of the year, not getting cold. But this is not true. Large dogs with thick fur really tolerate cold better than we do. However, in icy water dogs can get hypothermia and die.

Some dogs don’t like to swim, while others are not used to. But in both cases you have to use incentive methods to help the dog. Coercion or punishments are absolutely unacceptable! 

First of all, find a shallow area with gently sloping beach. Take your dog on a leash and run with him in a shallow place, then go a little farther into the water and ask him to come. Play with the dog, throwing toys and sticks.

When the dog starts to feel confident in the shallow area, go to a deeper place and continue playing with him.  Every time go little bit further till the dog will start swimming to you to give the toy.

! Please note that some dogs, not feeling underfoot support, start to panic and jump. If you see that your dog panics, come and stay with him till he calms down.

If you have friends, whose pets love to swim, that’s perfect! Take a walk together. Let the dog, who is able to swim, be an example for your pet. Your dog will follow and quickly learn how to swim.

Important notes for owners:

  • Even if your dog already knows how to swim and loves it, take care!
  • If the dog is already tired of a long walk, probably it’s not the best time for intensive swimming activities.
  • Pregnant and older dogs get tired much faster.
  • Avoid water with fast flowing and places, where there are sharp reefs.
  • Teach dogs to swim after they become 3 months old, as it’s too dangerous for little puppies to learn swimming.

It’s rare for dogs to be afraid of water. If you are patient and attentive to your pet, he will learn how to swim and will enjoy it!

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