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Test the waters - teach your dog to swim

Grab a whistle and some sunscreen - you’re the lifeguard!

It’s no surprise dogs love to cool down in water. On any warm day, watch as dogs jump eagerly at the chance to cool down in sprinklers, kiddie pools, and get amongst water gun fights.

So it makes sense that swimming would appeal to them during the hot season. It’s like going for a walk, but in water!

Photo courtesy of Tracy Patton

But before your dog jumps in, are you sure they know how to swim? Or rather, are you sure YOU know how to teach your dog to swim? After all, while going for a walk might seem natural, you did have to teach your dog the proper etiquette in walking.

So don’t assume. Test the waters. Teach your dog to swim with these helpful tips.

Dog swimming lessons that will help your dog swim and not sink

First off, what kind of breed is your pup? Some dogs, like the bulldog, are just not natural swimmers.

This, however, doesn’t mean they cannot enjoy the water fun. Like a lot of ambitious toddlers, your dog can still surf the waves or dip their paws into water with flotation devices. Plus, it provides a great opportunity for a mini photo shoot!

Regardless if your pup is going swimming with floaties or not, PetMD recommends starting shallow and slow with your pups.

For us humans, starting any new activity can be quite daunting. This also true for dogs. So taking puppy steps is a safe bet, even if your dog turns out to be a Doggie Phelps in the water.

By starting in shallow waters and guiding them with your lead, your dog will feel much more relaxed. They know their best bud is with them. They feel secure.

And if your furry friend scampers off, spooked of the water, you become aware of their natural inclination towards swimming. Don’t fret - you can still entice them with treats and verbal praise.

And if they need physical support, you can try holding their belly as they paddle and swim. It might take a little time, but your dog will soon gain the confidence they need.

Remember: delicious, healthy treats go a long way into motivating and reinforcing their swimming skills.

For PetMD’s full article about teaching your dog to swim, dive in here.

Alternatively, if you are unsure or anxious about how your dog might take to water, you can bring them into Nose to Tail for a hydrotherapy consultation. Generally used to restore health after an injury, operation or illness, hydrotherapy is a safe and easy way to motivate your dog to swim.

Above all, a hydrotherapy session provides a secure environment as we gauge your pup’s health and swimming abilities.

If you are have concerns regarding your your dog and swimming, please please feel free to give us a bell – we’re here to keep you and your pup afloat!


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