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Teaching a Dog To Swim

Does anyone have any tips for teaching a dog to swim? My dog will go out in the water is yet to swim.

Thanks,
LS

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September 2, 20060 found this helpful

Hi!

Some dogs are natural swimmers, and others can take several years to really swim, and still others may never swim. I'll share some of what I've done. One dog, a Border Collie, was a natural swimmer since he was about 8 weeks old. Put him near water and he will swim.

Another dog, a Labrador mix, took a little longer. Trouble was, I lived where the water was VERY cold and she has very little hair. She would go in the water to splash around, but wouldn't swim. Well, I found some toys that were extra appealing to her, and got her really excited about fetching them on dry ground. Then, I'd throw the toy in the water so she could just wade out to get it (no swimming needed). I made sure that she got lots of praise, and that she got extra "play time" with the special toys (as a rule, I don't allow my dogs to tug, but for this purpose, she did get some tugging time). Finally, I threw it so she would just have to swim about a foot or two to fetch it before she could turn around to dry ground. Once she could swim a couple of feet, she could swim anywhere. I had to be careful to make sure she didn't get too cold from the water or she would quickly lose interest. I'd always quit while she still wanted to fetch so that the fetching was always a treat.

Another dog, Border Collie mix, was NOT a swimmer at all. She was very bonded to my husband, so when we'd take the dogs out, he would carry her into the water and hold her. Eventually, he'd let her go in the water so she could swim to shore. It took about 3 years, but finally, she will swim of her own accord. She's more likely to swim if my husband is in the water and can call her to him. But, she'll even take a quick swimming circle if it is really hot out.

Please remember that not all dogs will swim. Years ago, I had a male dog who loved to wade in the water and would even lay down in it, but wouldn't swim. Finally, one day I "made" him swim. Well, it was readily apparent why he wouldn't swim -- he sunk! His hind end would go right under and his front feet would "windmill" around trying to keep himself afloat. Needless to say, I never tried to make him swim after that. He continued to enjoy shallow water the rest of his life.

My husband (before I met him) had taken in a stray Chow Chow. That dog would try to swim but would actually sink. Several times, he had to pull the dog up from under water. My husband had to be very careful that Fred didn't go in the water when he wasn't looking for fear of him drowning. Fred had no fear of the water, but also had no ability to stay afloat.

Just remember that some dogs will always be waders, while others may eventually bloom in to swimmers, and some are born "swimming ducks" from day one. Do try to encourage your dog, but don't force him/her!

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September 4, 20060 found this helpful

My husband and I have a Rat Terrier/Border Collie. At two years old she still absolutely hates water. My husband gives her a bath and tries to get her to "swim" and float in the tub. She acts like she is undergoing the most horrible, terrifying torture. While border collies usually like water, rat terriers are inately afraid of it. Guess which side won out.

Perhaps go into the water with your dog and support him/her underneath as you would a child to make them more confident...

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September 5, 20060 found this helpful

I have always gone in the water with the dogs that did not want or were afraid to go swimming. Make a big game of it! Start out in shallow water, sitting down if you have to, and play with one of their favorite toys. Most dogs will overcome their anxiety if you give them a chance. Some dogs are very inept in the water and some cannot swim at all! Above all, be patient and have fun.

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October 29, 20080 found this helpful

I just got my dog swimming, and it's 35 degrees outside with snow flurries. He kept jumping in, and loving it, like he always does. He didn't shake or anything. How do I know when it's too cold for him to swim?

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October 29, 20080 found this helpful

I just got my dog swimming, and it's 35 degrees outside with snow flurries. He kept jumping in, and loving it, like he always does. He didn't shake or anything. How do I know when it's too cold for him to swim?

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