Ways & How

How to Teach a Dog to Swim

How to Teach a Dog to Swim

It’s not true that all dogs can swim. There are breeds that will have difficulties breathing while swimming - others are just sinkers. Dogs with short snouts cannot do well in water, so check with your veterinarian first to see if it’s ideal to take your dog for a swim. You can then experiment on how to teach a dog to swim once you get an approval from your vet. Just don’t go overboard with your dog. Follow this guide:

  1. Do not scare your dog by using water to drive it away if you intend to let it swim. It has to like water first before you can get it closer to a pool. Start on the shallow side of the pool – preferably for toddlers. Entice the dog to step into the water and drive it further until it gets deeper. Go to pools where other dogs are also swimming freely. This will make your dog want to swim too.

  2. Play with your dog near the water using aquatic dog toys. Throw a floating toy into the water and let your dog chase and retrieve it. As your dog is becoming very keen in playing in the water, add some treats to motivate it to further engage the activity.

    nge some floating cheese balls into the deep area and see how well your dog’s navigational techniques are in the deep.

  3. Feel free to expose your dog to other natural bodies of water. Take it with you to the beach for a glimpse of the waves. If this scares your dog greatly - do it gradually by introducing it to calmer water spots like the lake or river during summer time. The important thing is not to do anything that will contribute to your dog’s fear of the water.

  4. Let your dog explore these bodies of water on its own while watching from a distance. It will not only be fascinated with the view, but also with the natural elements. It might end up collecting natural stones from the river banks and tossing them one by one into the river. Whatever it ends up doing, support your dog as it becomes familiar with the water and surrounding area.

  5. Allow your dog to take a lap. Dogs tend to thrash when in deep waters. This is helpful for swimming, but if you notice that it has a sunken hind end - just guide it up and let it continue to enjoy some laps around the pool. Point its head towards the exit of the pool to swim safely back when you are done for the day. Other dogs may need help in getting out of the water every time they go for a swim but many are independent swimmers that don’t have problems in getting in and out of the pool.

  6. Equip your dog with a life jacket if it has difficulty swimming. This will allow it to swim confidently and safely. Eventually most dogs will not need it, but others may become dependent on it.

No matter which methods on how to teach a dog to swim you use for your dog, just be watchful when its paws are in the waters. They can hurt you if your dog accidentally scratches you while thriving in the water. Also monitor the water intake of your dog, and know that too much of it can cost your dog’s life.


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