That's what I did, too With my small dogs, I picked them up and took them with me until the water was up to my knees and let them swim back. Then took them a bit farther out each time until I was up to my shoulders in water. It was like classic backchaining...if they learned the last part (swimming TO shore), the first part (swimming FROM shore) kind of fell into placego in with them. We were told our GSD probably wouldn't like swimming - I waded in and called her in, played with her, fetch etc in the shallows.... now we can't get her out of the water.
We are lucky to live 20m from a nice lake and 10mins drive from a dog beach though - might be harder for landlubbers.
lucky country indeed