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How To Teach A Dog To Swim

Published On: Sunday, March 8, 2009

One of the most important aspects of dog pool safety to follow is to make sure that before your dog has access to a pool, or other body of water, you teach your dog to swim properly. Not all dogs naturally know how to swim, and it is up to you as a pet owner to make sure they stay safe. Dog pool safety is extremely important if you own a home with a pool, or if you are frequently at or near places that have a pool. Pools can be a natural attraction to dogs, even if they are not great swimmers, so if you teach your dog to swim, it will keep them safer when near water.

How To Teach A Dog To Swim

Positive Feedback
When you teach your dog to swim, you should always try to make it a positive experience. Make sure that it is a time that your dog seems interested and try to limit other distractions. The best way to teach your dog to swim is to get into the water with them. This will give them confidence and will make them more likely to feel comfortable when they get in the water. You can gently hold the dog, or there are flotation devices designed with handles that you can use to help guide them in the water. Once they begin to feel comfortable in the water, you can teach your dog to swim by tossing an interesting toy a short way out for them to fetch. If it’s a toy they really want, they will start to learn to dog paddle their way over to get the toy. Don’t throw it too far, because you want them to be successful and also realize that they need to come back to you. Positive reinforcement will go a long way in motivating your dog while teaching them.

Out of the Pool
Dog pool safety is about a lot more than just making sure you teach your dog to swim. The most important aspect of dog safety involves teaching your dog how to get out of a pool. Since dogs cannot climb up over the sides of a pool to get out, and they may become disoriented about which way is out once they’re in the water, it is important to teach your dog where the stairs are and how to get out using the stairs. If you have an older dog or one that has difficulty with the stairs, you may want to consider putting a ramp in the pool to easily assist the dog in getting out of the pool, either when they’re in the pool swimming, or in case they accidently wind up in the pool and need to safely get out.

Other aspects of dog pool safety to keep in mind include making sure that your dog is never in a pool without supervision, discouraging your dog from drinking the pool water, and providing appropriate pool toys that will not harbor bacteria, lodge in the dog’s throat, or break apart while they are swimming with the toys in their mouth. When you teach your dog to swim, you are providing the best type of dog pool safety for your pet, but be sure to be as vigilant with your pets in and around water as you would be with your children.

For additional information on dog pools or dog topics please visit our dog pool article center.

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