Introducing a dog to water (swimming)
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Thread: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

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    Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    How does one introduce a dog to swimming in a pool or lake properly?

    I have a 5 month old lab, and want her to enjoy swimming in our parents pool over the summer. I am hoping she chase after my kids when they jump in, but after last weekend, I am not sure. Over the weekend, she seemed afraid of the pool. She tried to stay as far away from it as much as possible, and when she went near the pool she ran as quick as she could to minimize the time near the pool.

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    Super Moderator Curbside Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)


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    Super Moderator RonE's Avatar
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    Even the most avid water dogs are sometimes leery of pools. They prefer beaches where it is obvious to them how they are going to get out.

    Both my lab and Esther were introduced to the pleasures of swimming at a dog tolerant beach on Lake Michigan. Neither seemed too interested at first, but I threw tennis balls a short distance out for them and, within a very short time, they were hooked.

    Esther whines if she can smell the lake. She prefers days with some waves and will body surf for as long as I let her. I think she would jump in a pool if I threw a ball in for her, but I'm not even sure how she would get out.

    Unless there are some steps that your pup can climb out of, you may need to construct some kind of ramp. Still, I'll bet you'll have better luck, at least initially, if you have access to a lake somewhere.

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    Senior Member Nagem's Avatar
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    Quote Originally Posted by RonE View Post
    Even the most avid water dogs are sometimes leery of pools. They prefer beaches where it is obvious to them how they are going to get out.
    This is very true. My dog loves swimming in lakes and streams, but is very uncomfortable in pools.

    Quote Originally Posted by RonE View Post
    Unless there are some steps that your pup can climb out of, you may need to construct some kind of ramp. Still, I'll bet you'll have better luck, at least initially, if you have access to a lake somewhere.
    Great advice. If the dog has the option to easily exit each time than it is likely to have a better experience. A ramp for getting in and out of a pool will ease a lot of anxiety a dog may otherwise experience.

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    Super Moderator RonE's Avatar
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    There is a similar problems with dogs, at least dogs that you can't pick up, on boats. They might like to go in the water, but how, exactly, are they going to get out?

    I took my Irish setter on an overnight boat trip aboard a 76' dive boat to the channel islands off Santa Barbara. She was a great swimmer, but wasn't about to jump into the water since there was really no good way for her to get back on board. I finally had to give her "permission" to relieve herself on the deck where I could clean up after her.

    I didn't really think that one out too well in advance. I gotta say, though, watching her standing on the bow of that boat, barking at the whales as we headed home, is I sight I will never forget as long as I live.

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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    Our dog loved water from the time we brought him home. I have heard that you should gradually introduce a dog to water so they arent frightened or scared the first time they jump in.

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    Senior Member Alpha's Avatar
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    Roxy loves my parents pool, they have large plastic stairs that lead into the shallow end and she used to sit on them, totally emerged except for her heada, and one day she just decided to take a few lazy laps around the pool. She's been swimming in the pool ever since.

    Hades on the other hand, is much like others have described, being wary of pools. He'll sit on the second or third stair, but after I tried a few times to help him swim, he wasn't interested at all.

    BUT, at the lake, in front of our house there's a small beach where he'll run in the water, fetch sticks and everything! Still not so into the pool.

    I agree with others, a beach and slowly introducing them to the water, possibly throwing a toy not too far out is a great way!

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    Senior Member Jaylie's Avatar
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    Jaylie LOVES swimming at the beach...It's funny, she doesn't like wading through the water, so when it is shallow enough for her to touch the ground, she does little bunny-hops. It's SO cute!

    But, she doesn't like the pool either. She's fine once she gets in, but she doesn't like the idea of getting in all at once. The beach is fine, because it's gradual there, but the pool it's all or nothing.
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    Nay
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    I have a dog with my sister named Bella and she was SO scared of the pool because she fell in our pond during her first month here in our backyard.

    Well, during the summer, my family all went into the pool and tried to call my dog over. Bella was about...maybe 8 months old at the time. She really wanted to come to us but there was so much water in her way!

    Well, the more we called her, swam around in front of her, and encouraged her, she put her four legs into our first step of the pool. She drank a lot of pool water constantly..almost like she thought she could drink up all the water and run to us. Couple weeks later, she went half body deep onto our second pool step. It takes time and encouraging but I think your dog will eventually get the hang of it!

    Now, my dog goes on our first step with no second thoughts.
    Last edited by Nay; 04-10-2007 at 01:12 AM.

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    Senior Member britishbandit's Avatar
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    Definately start of slow, a bad experience early on, even for typical water loving breeds can "scar" them. The beach is a good place to start, or get a kiddie pool. Something where your dog can touch the bottom and explore without fear. And let your dog go in and out by itself. Don't force it.

    With PJ and Tysa we started with a kiddie pool, and I jumped in and started splashing around in it first. They soon got curious and must've thought it looked fun so they came to join me...LOL. Then we went out to the lake, where it's shallow at the edges. I let them putz around at the edge for a bit first, then had them doing some short retrieves with balls and pop bottles. They were crazy swimmers to start, and looked very unsure, but keeping the distances short until they got the hang of it helped. Now they'll swim out into the middle no problem, and love going to the lake!

    I'd be weary of allowing my dogs to swim in a pool, unless it was inground and had steps where they could go in and out gradually. Not only could I never get them out should they have trouble without steps (they're far to heavy for me to lift, especially soaking wet...LOL), so it would be too risky, on top of that, your pool liner could get destroyed.

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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    Our 8 month old lab is itching to get in the water! We got her in October last year so by the time she was big enough to introduce to water there was ice on the lake and stream. Now the ice has melted (still too cold to enter the water) and she runs and pulls towards the water every chance she gets.

    My problem is going to be how do I keep her out of the water!?!?!?!?

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    Senior Member tirluc's Avatar
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    c'mon, you guys.....don't you train your pups to be water dogs like i do my kids.....you just throw them in and let them learn....JUST KIDDING, ALL ......actually, i use the toy tossed a little ways (just so they get their feet wet and gradually take them up from there as their confidence grows.....just remember, just b/c she's a Lab doesn't mean that she'll be a natural to water.....i knew one that was deathly afraid of water all her life.....
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    Re: Introducing a dog to water (swimming)

    thanks everyone. We do have a lake nearby, but I haven't been to it yet. I need to research to see if dogs are allowed in the water. I only know boating/fishing is permitted.

    Hopefully, in the summer when the kids and I go swimming she'll jump in after them. There are steps on both sides of the pool to get out.

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