The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter and the water is getting warmer. But, before you and your dog head down to the water or hang out poolside, it’s important that your dog is water safe and knows how to swim. Whether your dog refuses to get wet or jumps right into the water, proper water training can benefit all breeds.
Here are just a few benefits of teaching your dog how to swim:
Did you know that roughly over 400,000 dogs drown each year because of lack of swim training and safety protocols? Many people believe that most dogs know how to naturally swim, but that’s not true at all. Although some dogs were bred to swim, it doesn’t mean they know how to get in and out of water safely.
Most dogs know how to dog paddle using their front legs, but don’t know what to do with their back legs. When dogs don’t move their back legs, they are more vertical in the water and create a lot of splash. This “panic swimming” stresses them and causes them to get tired very quickly.
During swim lessons, dogs learn how to properly use their bodies to swim and how to safely enter and exit a pool. A few lessons later and they’ll be a master at swimming.
Swimming has so many health benefits for not only humans, but dogs as well. Not only is it good cardiovascular exercise, but it also helps reduce stress and burn off excess energy. Swimming is also very joint-friendly and can help relieve pain by strengthening cartilage, joints and muscles.
For senior or overweight dogs, swimming is the perfect exercise because it is easy on the joints and burns calories without the impact on the body or risk of injury. If your dog is struggling with their health, make sure you consult your veterinarian before getting into the pool.
Chances are your dog is scared of the water. Unless they are a water breed, like a retriever, who has been splashing around in the water since they could walk, swimming is probably an unfamiliar and daunting task for your dog. However, with proper training and patience, your dog can become comfortable around water.
When teaching your dog how to swim in our pool safety class, we never force them in the water. The learning process should be fun and rewarding and you don’t want them to associate water with a negative experience. Once the dog is more comfortable around the water, they will become more confident with their swimming ability. This is a great morale booster and your dog will feel like they conquered the world!
If you own a dog that loves the water, chances are you know how hard it is to keep them out of it. Whether your dog jumps into the pool the second you open up the gate, or sprints into the ocean the second you step on the beach, it can be very difficult to manage a water-obsessed pup.
Luckily, swim lessons are a great way to teach your dog impulse control. By implementing the “wait” cue and rewarding proper entrance into the water, your dog can quickly learn how to tame their energy and safely enter the pool or body of water. Remember, be patient and always reward good behavior!
Releases Excess Energy
Not only is swimming a great form of exercise for your dog, but it is also one of the most efficient and safest ways to burn your dog’s energy. Like we said before, it’s easier on the joints and your dog can play fetch or swim a lot longer than they could on land. Also, in the warm summer months, your dog can stay cool without the risk of overheating.
In our pool safety class, we have a few Labrador retrievers who we have to pry out of the water once class is over. They love it so much and could swim in circles and play fetch for hours.
If you are considering teaching your dog how to swim, we recommend doing your research first. Here are some few tips to consider before taking the plunge. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can sign up for our pool safety class for adults and puppies. Our Partner Trainers will use positive reinforcement and latent learning to get your dog comfortable with the water and slowly introduce your dog into the pool.
Sources: “How to Teach Your Dog to Love Swimming” by Jillian Blume of The Dog’s Life.