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Discussion Starter #1
I have a six month old, he will be 7 months on the 14th airedoodle (airedale terrier and poodle mix). He is 45 pounds. We live in the DC area and many of the apartment complexes do dog swims after labor day once they have run a few cycles through the pool so no chlorin. I want to take my pup but he has never been in a pool, lake, or the ocean before. He likes water. Doesn't mind it when he gets a bath. Two weeks ago I bought a small puppy pool but because he is so big and the pool was so small he couldn't really swim in it and stood in it like he was waiting for a bath. He loves the sprinkler but often wants to drink it, and again does fine in the tub but has never swam. I am nervous to take him to a pool but as a airedale and 3/4 poodle mix shouldn't it come natural? I'm also nervous about other dogs. As this is an apartment swim it won't be just us and its not like I can get in with him. What should I do? Any advice? Am I worrying to much? Will he jump in on his own or will I have to put him in. How do people do this? View attachment 210721
 

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As long as he's friendly with other dogs, I'd just bring him to the pool and see what he does. I live in Arlington, so I know what you're talking about. My dog totally ignored the pool, lol.

Just be prepared to haul him out if he runs into trouble.
 

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I would try it out and see how it goes. You probably don't need a life vest at this point - I mostly like them if we'll be boating and I want to be able to haul the dog back in if he jumps out. Most dogs are natural enough swimmers that a controlled situation at a pool won't be a big deal.

I probably wouldn't put him in. If he really can't figure out how to get in but it seems like he wants to I might try it, but I've never put a dog in the water and had them say "Oh, that was great actually!" They've only enjoyed the process when they went in on their own. But every dog is different.
 

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If it is his first swim, he might not go in by himself, but I wouldn't force him. Only one of my dogs willingly ran straight into the river for a swim. Out of the others, only one followed me when I was wading in and discovered then that he liked the water. He wouldn't have gone in by himself - at least, it probably would have taken him forever to do so. But he followed me in hesitantly and then discovered the joys of swimming. If he doesn't go in, maybe hike up your pants and try to show him it's alright and maybe that will work.

But, if he is an outgoing type of dog and likes other dogs, he may see the others swimming and dive right in. Don't be surprised if he jumps in and sinks right to the bottom for that split second - it's a learning curve. I would recommend a life vest if you are going to bodies of water with currents (I am a worry wart and make my dogs wear them in case they get caught in a current, at least I have a chance of pulling them out) but for a pool I wouldn't worry too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the advice. So I should just let him walk around the pool off leash to see if he jumps in. I read in another post that they recommend keeping the dog on leash for the first time in case you have to pull them out. Do you agree?
 

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Thanks for the advice. So I should just let him walk around the pool off leash to see if he jumps in. I read in another post that they recommend keeping the dog on leash for the first time in case you have to pull them out. Do you agree?
There shouldn't be any type of current. Its just a regular pool. Should I keep the leash on or take it off?
id keep on leash.
 

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I would keep the leash on, but I would use a harness. If you do have to pull him up, yanking on his neck could really hurt him.

If you want to go off-leash but are wary, I'd just spend the money on a life jacket and that way it will keep him up while allowing him to get the hang of things.
As others have said - don't force anything, just see what he does on his own.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much for the advice. He wears a harness now so we will probably just keep him leashed on that! I'll make sure not to force him and let him decide on his own.
 

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Thanks so much for the advice. He wears a harness now so we will probably just keep him leashed on that! I'll make sure not to force him and let him decide on his own.
I tried getting in the pool and coaxing Kabota in, but he was just not interested. He was happy to play with the dogs outside the pool, he just wasn't going in.

Alexandria is lovely! If the blue line weren't such a PITA, I'd live there. (I work on the Red Line.)
 

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Two common things to watch for:
1. He panics and can't figure out how to get out.
2. Someone or some dog is nearby and he tries to crawl on top of them, annoying the dog or clawing the person (including you).

Try to keep him on leash and try to guide him in using the steps, then let him swim a little, and guide him back to steps. You might repeat a few times to help him get the idea.
 

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You might want to check with the organizers to see if dogs are allowed to be leashed during the dog swim. At least the ones I have seen around here, it is basically like going to the dog park only instead of running around the field, the dogs run around and swim. Leashes at dog parks are usually a big no-no as they can be dangerous as both trip/tangle hazards and the risk of leash aggression when there is a mix of off-leash and on-leash dogs.

I'd probably go with a harness and a traffic loop/tab leash. Something to grab but nothing that creates a hazard or barrier.
 

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If it's an option for you, I'd wear some shorts or a bathing suit and wade out a few feet into the shallow end. Far enough away from him so that he can't reach you without swimming. And then just call him to see if he will get in the water with you.

I introduced all of my dogs to swimming by being in the water with them :)
 

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At one of the Agility trials my sister went to, they had a swimming pool that the dogs could go in. They told them to wear something they could get into the pool with their dog the first time. Her Golden Retriever pup loves to swim and went right in and swam around. Some people were surprised because usually the dogs tried climbing out over the sides but her dog just kept swimming around.

We had them at the lake a couple of times, her, Susie and Kris and even though Susie loves to swim and goes right in along with the Golden, Kris only waded in up to her belly the first time, then did not want to go in again the next few times. I am sure if I had waded right in she would have followed me but the lake water was pretty cold even though it was hot out.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Good point. I definitely don't want any leash aggression. I'm hoping we get there right when they open the pool and there are not a lot of other dogs there. I don't want him to get overwhelmed with the pool, other dogs, being on the leash. so many unknowns is making me nervous.

I would love to be able to get in the pool and guide him down the steps but I'm not sure how it will work. I will be dressed to get in just in case!
 

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I've had some great water dogs and none of them would go into a pool. They also would not jump out of a boat or off a dock.

They are beach dogs and I suppose they want to have an obvious means of exit. Pools are problematic that way.

I used to teach swimming and SCUBA and my Irish setter attended all my classes, beach trips and boats trips. When I had pool classes, she would track me from the side of the pool, but would not jump in - which is probably just as well. At the beach, though, she would follow me in and swim around on the surface, waiting for me to emerge. It was kind of comical because, in full gear, we all looked pretty much the same, so she would swim up to each of us for a very close look before she'd get too excited.
 
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