Most mammals, out of pure instinct, can learn to swim if they have to. However, some animals are not physically built to allow them to withstand the forces of water. There are some breeds of dog that are simply not built for swimming! Bulldogs are a good example! Due to their rather large, flat chests and shorter legs, they would battle to get their legs to paddle in water and would ultimately just sink because they would struggle by not being able to keep their heavy bodies abreast in water. Should you live near a lake, river or have a garden pool, it seems that it would be in the interest of your furry friend to get them used to being in water, in order for panic not to set in should a fall in the pool happen. Although any dog can be taught to swim, the best time for this to happen is when your dog is still a puppy.
Take the following into consideration when teaching your puppy to swim
- Choose a warm day. There is nothing worse than having to climb into water that is really cold.
- Make sure the location is safe and relaxed in order for your puppy to also feel relaxed. A garden pool is ideal however, if you choose a pond or river make sure that the water is clear as you don’t want your puppy’s paws getting tangled up in reeds and other river debris.
- If possible, allow the water location to have steps or a landing so that your puppy can first stand in the water and get used to the feeling of it.
- Be sure to bring some puppy treats and a favourite toy to make the experience a really fun and positive experience.
- If you are teaching your puppy to swim in a pool, we advise rinsing or giving your puppy a bath afterward as some animals may have a skin reaction to pool chemicals.
Steps to teach your puppy (or dog) to swim
- After they have become accustomed to the feeling of water on their paws, pick them up and slowly walk deeper into the water – reassure them all the time that they are safe because they are with you.
- Gently hold your pup with one hand under her belly and place her in the water, being sure not to let her go. You can choose to reward them during these steps or afterwards, it is up to you to decide.
- Watch for your pup to start moving or paddling her legs on her own as she hits the water. You can repeat this action until you think that she is confident in that her strokes seem steady and strong.
- You can now let her try the action by herself, walking next to her while she swims and as soon as she gets to the shoreline or edge of the pool, give her the biggest applaud and praise ever!
- Repeat this several times and in no time your pup will be the best swimmer ever and not need to give a second thought to what she is doing ☺
Teaching puppies to swim will give them the confidence to know what to do if they find themselves in a watery situation and this could ultimately even be a lifesaver!
For any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us.