With summer just around the corner swimming is a great way to exercise your dog without having to worry about the dangers of overheating. However, I have had several people tell me they wish their dog would swim like Sadie and Rusty do. Well, I have to tell you, Sadie and Rusty did not just learn to swim on their own. I had to get into the water with them and teach them it was okay to swim.
I took each of them into the water for the first time when Sadie was about a year old and Rusty was about eight months. I adopted both Sadie and Rusty from the local shelter, so I have to guess at their ages. It was really hot outside and neither Sadie nor Rusty would get into the water. So I had this great idea of going in with them. I might have come up with a different plan if I’d remembered that the water was from snow runoff, but enough about me: After-all this blog is about sharing information for dog lovers.
I walked into the water with Sadie first. We stayed in the shallow water at first, when Sadie was comfortable, I started taking her into deeper water, until she was swimming with me. It took about 30 minutes from walking into the water until she was swimming.
My husband did the same with Rusty while I let my feet and legs get their feeling back. Because Sadie was already comfortable in the water she went in with Chris, which helped Rusty to relax quicker. He didn’t want to be left behind so he learned to swim much faster. It always helps when you have a dog that already knows how to swim help teach a dog that doesn’t.
Now it doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter or the hottest day of summer, both Sadie and Rusty never seem to stay out of the water.
Keep in mind that it’s important not to throw your dog in or drag them in, you’re trying to make swimming a fun experience. Be gentle and let your dog learn at their own pace. If your dog has had bad experiences with water you’ll need patience and make certain to do nothing that will frighten your dog. Remember, this is like every other training session make the session fun and offer plenty of praise, even if your dog barely gets their paws wet.