Can your four-legged little friend swim?
There is a common misconception that all dogs are born good swimmers. While it can be true for certain breeds in Australia to be swimmers, not all dogs, such as bulldogs, can enjoy splashing around. It could be possible for your little buddy to paddle in the water, but that does not make him a professional swimmer. So, be careful when letting your doggy inside the pool or lake, or you can just get a dog life jacket for your furry friend.
However, just as you teach your dog to sit and stand properly, you can teach them how to swim. Here’s what you are supposed to do.
Should Dog Wear Life Jackets?
Let’s clear the basic things first. Should you buy a dog life jacket if you are teaching your doggy how to swim? Well, you must.
If your pet is new to swimming, it is best if you invest in a good-quality life jacket for him. Its buoyancy will help your little buddy to feel confident in the water. Plus, life vests minimise injuries in case of accidents or unforeseen circumstances.
Dogs like bulldogs will sink right into the bottom without a life jacket.
So, if your summer plans include hanging out by the swimming pool or visiting a lake, make sure you don’t take your dog without a life vest.
Now when you look for a life vest – consider that it easily puts on and takes off. Ensure it fits your dog comfortably to keep its head above water. Also, it should not create problems in their movement on land or water.
Steps to Teach Your Dog Swimming
Here are a few steps to guide you in teaching your dog how to swim. However, remember not to begin until you put a life jacket on your buddy.
1. Choose a Quiet and Safe Area
Don’t take your dogs out on a lake or big pool to teach, thinking they will have a lot of space to move around. It is best to start small – select a quiet, controlled location such as a backyard, kiddie pool, or even a bathtub.
2. Start With Shallow Water
Start by leading your dog into shallow water with help from a toy or ball. When they respond, positively reinforce with a treat. Also, do not lead your furry mate too far into water – allow their paws and only partial legs to get wet.
Let them playfully splash around to get comfortable and relaxed.
If not tempted into the water with toys, you can pick them up gently and place them inside– wait for signs of panic or distress. And if you see, it’s time you end the lesson and continue another time.
Remember, patience is vital.
3. Gradually Take Into Deep Water
Once you realise your doggy is at ease in the water, it’s time to go deeper. Your pup’s first instinct would be to paddle with their front legs when you put them into the water. When you take them deeper, they will start to kick back legs as well.
Hold them around their belly as you push them into the water until they become familiar with sensation and learn paddling with their four legs. This would require a lot of practice.
Teaching your little friend swimming takes time, patience, and hard work. You must constantly be there for them – encouraging your mates not to give up and keep trying. Also, you need to keep an eye to catch their discomfort to stop the lesson before it scars them for life.
Remember teaching swimming to your pet is not a tiresome but a fun activity that will help strengthen trust and bond.