Teaching Your Dog to Swim


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There are few things that can compare to cooling off in your own swimmer cooling hole with your canine companion. If you live near a lake that is dog friendly, or if you have a pool of your own in your backyard, you should definitely encourage your dog to swim. Not only would it be a great exercise for him, it would also help him cool off to beat the summer heat. However, you want to teach Fido some basic swimming lessons, especially if he has never ventured out into the water before.Safety tipsDo not assume that all dogs are natural swimmers. Some of the breeds, like the bulldog, canโ€™t swim and will sink right to the floor of the pool if you toss them in without a floatation device to hold them above the surface of the water. Dogs that have short legs or are lightweight must be fitted with their own jacket or life vest. Bear in mind that too much activity and noise can be distracting. Start practicing in an area that is relatively quiet and make sure that your dog is leashed at all times. You should not take off the leash until your dog is able to swim without any assistance. Never make the mistake of leaving your dog unattended when he is in the water.

Start out slow

When your dog is just starting out, it is best if you begin in a shallow area where you can walk beside him as he learns to swim. Put on the floatation vest, attach the leash and let him get used to having wet feet.If Fido is reluctant, get his favorite toy or training treats to coax him further. Make sure that the tone of voice you use is positive and you offer him a lot of verbal praise when he starts out. Gradually introduce him into deeper waters till he gets used to paddling to stay afloat. If he needs extra support, you can place an arm under his belly. This will give him the incentive to paddle his rear legs along with his front legs.Your dog must learn to use both pairs of legs to swim, or else he will tire easily. Keep supporting him till heโ€™s completely comfortable and uses all of his four limbs. If he seems to be panicking at any point, back him up into shallow waters and let him calm down before he tries again.Once the lesson is over, it is time for you to get your dog out of the boat or pool. Take your time to show him the safe and proper way to exit the pool or boat so that he can find his own way out the next time. Make sure he gets a final rinse with fresh water to get rid of the algae and residual chemicals that might be clinging to his hair-coat.

How Swimming and Hydrotherapy Can Benefit your Dog?

Swimming is a great way to cool off and get a core body workout, not just for humans but also for dogs. Whether you want to ease your dogโ€™s arthritic pain, keep your dog in shape or get him up and running again after a major surgery, getting him in the water is the best option.

What are the advantages of aquatic therapy?

There are a number of reasons why pet owners consider taking their dogs to aquatic therapy, whether they decided to do it themselves or their petโ€™s vet recommended it. From the point of view of preventative care, hydrotherapy is excellent for fitness and is also the best form of aerobic workout your dog can get. Its impact on joints and bones is minimal and it is a great way to keep your dog healthy and in shape.Post-surgical recovery is also one reason why dogs are commonly taken to aquatic therapy, especially for conditions like an ACL tear. Arthritic dogs get to work out their joints and maintain their muscle mass with this therapy. It will also help them move around comfortably and minimize the discomfort they feel.When dogs arenโ€™t moving, they can lose a lot of muscle in a period of just six weeks. The best part about swimming is your dog gets to give his muscles a workout without bearing any weights. The buoyancy and resistance that water offers makes it a great form of exercise for pets suffering from arthritic pain and for pets recovering from an injury. Since water is denser than air, your dogโ€™s movement through water and the resistance to the movement helps give a good workout to the muscles. Your dog will have to exercise for a lesser amount of time in water than he does on land.From underwater treadmills to hydrotherapy pools where your dog can do laps and fetch balls, there are a number of aquatic exercises designed to give your dog a good workout.

What if your dog does not know how to swim?

Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Many of them need to be trained, just like people. Every swimming facility has a different method for teaching the dogs to swim and making them less afraid. As an owner, you need to make sure that your dog is comfortable in the water. No matter what the training is, comfort and safety is always the key. You should never force them if theyโ€™re scared as it can cause an injury to the person, pet or both. If the vet believes that swimming might benefit the pet, but your dog seems anxious about getting into the water, then get in touch with a good animal behaviorist.

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