Best Ways to Introduce Swimming to Your Dogs

by Jacklyn Krol
teach introduce Dogs Swimming

Since it’s summertime, now is the best time to teach dogs how to swim or even dock dive. Dogs and swimming will go hand and hand once your dog experiences water.

Dogs and Swimming

Depending on your dog’s breed, they may be natural swimmers who enjoy the water. Retrievers and spaniels are known for loving the water. Other breeds like Chihuahuas and bulldogs do not have the natural predisposition for swimming.

The AKC recommends that dogs wear a life vest for their first time learning to swim. It’s easiest to have a life vest with a handle to guide your dog in different directions. Additionally, it is also helpful to have a D-ring on the vest to attach to their leash.

Prior to your day at the beach or in the water, you’ll want to have your dog wear the life vest. Be sure to give them treats or feed them while they wear it.

You’ll want to start with shallow water while your dog is wearing a life vest and leash. If you can enter the water a few steps and entice them to come in using soothing words or treats, that is ideal. Even if they get just their toes wet, be sure to reward them. Gradually step backward each time until they have to swim to reach you.

If your dog enjoys games, throw a ball or toy for them to retrieve and progressively throw it farther in each time. Be sure to not overwhelm your dog, it typically takes multiple lessons for them to get comfortable with swimming and water.

Life Vests

Depending on your dog’s experience level, size, and athletic ability, a life vest may be a great option for you.

This life vest is reflective and also rolls up into a small carry size. It retails for $19-22 depending on the size you select.

If you want your pupper to look like a shark while wading in the water, consider this fin life vest. It comes in XS-XL sizes and retails for $24 -32 depending on the size you choose.

For a cheaper option, check out this life vest. It comes in a variety of colors and is only $15.

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