It is believed that all dogs are excellent swimmers, they love water and are happy to dive into any body of water. That’s just not the case: some dogs not only flatly refuse to go into the pool, but, it seems, do not know how to stay on the water at all. How to teach a dog to swim?
In fact, all dogs can swim – it’s a natural reflex. All animals, once in the water, one way or another, will begin to move. There is even a special style of swimming – like a dog.
Another thing is that everyone treats swimming differently. For example, Labradors, Newfoundlands, and Spaniels are known to be big fans of water bodies. Almost all representatives of these breeds are ready to jump into any pond at any time, splash around and play there. But breeds that have a specific structure – for example, a shortened torso or muzzle, on the contrary, bypass reservoirs. The reason lies in physiology. So, for dogs with short legs – for example, corgi or dachshunds, swimming is simply uncomfortable. The same applies to dogs of brachycephalic breeds – pugs and bulldogs. These animals, due to their physiological characteristics (a narrowed nasal passage, very narrow trachea, etc.), can be extremely uncomfortable and even difficult to swim and breathe. However, much depends on the particular dog, its preferences, and its temperament.
Teaching Your Pet to Swim
Be patient when starting your studies. Getting your dog acquainted with water is a long process that should not be accelerated. Moreover, you should not rush if there is an unsuccessful experience, after which the dog has a fear of water.
They do not start classes immediately in the water. First, the dog is introduced to the reservoir in which it is planned to conduct lessons. Unobtrusive walks are what you need. It is important that the animal gets used to the place.
In the second stage of training, the owner enters the water and invites the dog to join. This is where the problems most often begin: not all animals are ready to wet their paws. In this case, you can use your favorite rubber toys, gently call your pet.
You can invite a familiar dog that loves to swim for a walk. Joint games will help to overcome fear: the pet will not even notice how it got into the water.
The first time you need to hold the dog, help her stay on the water. Even if she is ready to sail on her own.
It is important to keep track of how far the dog swims and how long it is in the water. Do not let your pet swim for a long time, especially at first. An animal cannot always calculate its own strength.
Don’t forget about positive reinforcement. Praise your pet every time he decides to go into the water or is simply interested in it, standing on the shore.
What to look for:
Only healthy vaccinated puppies older than 3 months can be taught to water.
It is best to avoid bodies of water with slippery shores, fast currents, and difficult access to the water.
Remember that older pets and pregnant dogs get tired sooner.
Do not let your pet swim with a collar or leash. This is unsafe: the pet can catch on something, especially if the reservoir is wild, and get injured.
Do not yell at the dog, do not use physical force or force it into the water. The owner’s job is to instill a love of swimming, not aggravate the pet’s fears.
It is difficult for humans to assess the degree of dog fatigue. But, if the pet is breathing heavily, does not keep well on the water, place it in shallow water or even get out of the water.
Swimming, especially at the initial stage, should not take more than 5-10 minutes a day.
For breeds that usually do not enjoy swimming, it is recommended to purchase a special vest. But don’t put it on right away and make your dog swim. First, you need to teach the animal to wear a vest, and only then gently introduce it to the reservoir.