Hanging out in the swimming pool can be the perfect anecdote for the Phoenix heat for you and your dog!
Some dogs are just naturals around water; others, well, they don’t like it and they’re afraid of it. Some of the dogs I have had the hardest time bathing are the first ones to jump in the pool. Dogs, go figure!
Swimming can provide an excellent summer cool down for dogs as well as a way to burn off some pent-up energy. Teaching your dog to swim also makes sense safetywise since every year, more than 10,000 dogs drown in the United States – mostly because they easily found their way into a pool, but couldn’t find their way out.
Just like there is a right way for humans to learn swimming, there’s also a right way to get your dog to come into the pool, with you, say behavior experts.
Start in the shallow end of swimming pool
Ideally your pool has steps. Start there with your doggie swim lessons in the pool. It’s a good way to remind them that there is an exit from this big tube of water. If you have any doubt about your dog swimming in water (i.e water is not their middle name – Portuguese water dog, for example), start out by having them wear a life vest. Look for a lifejacket with a handle that you can use to guide your dog in the water and a D-ring to attach a leash. Attach a leash, and walk slowly into the water, letting him get used to having wet feet.
Bring some training treats, toys and your positive tone of voice to reinforce your dog as he enters the water. Gradually take him into deeper water until he must start paddling to stay afloat. Make sure he is using his front and rear legs to paddle, otherwise he will become exhausted really fast. To get all the legs moving, put your arm under his belly.
After swimming activities
Remind him of the stairs as you get out of the pool. And now, it’s time for some more water: give him a good rinse with fresh water to get rid of all the pool chemicals. And some water to drink. All that moving in the water can be deceptively exhausting. And after that, it wouldn’t hurt for one more treat. And a big, big beach towel to get dried off with. Learn more about keeping your dog safe around swimming-pool chemicals
Worried that you are not the person to teach your dog to swim? Phoenix has at least two companies that will provide dog swimming lessons: