Wet and Wild – How To Introduce Your Dog to Swimming

Looking for ways to beat the heat with your pets this summer? Many of your best options involve water – from sipping and splashing, to swimming and soaking. Since not all dogs are natural-born swimmers, make sure your pups are prepared before you paddle out. Unless you already know your dog loves the water, take some time to let him or her get used to it in a quiet, shallow spot before you go off the deep end!

Start out on a warm day and look for a shallow area where you can play together in the water without the need for actual swimming. You can lead the way by getting in first. Most dogs won’t want to be left on the shore and will follow you into the water, which makes your job that much easier. Bring along a favorite toy to play with together and be sure your dog is ready to follow basic commands. If your dog seems hesitant, you may need to repeat this step for a few outings until he gets his feet wet. Keep it fun and take it slowly. The good news is that the learning process itself can be fun and good for trust-building!

Always keep in mind some basic safety precautions to make sure each outing is a positive experience. Never leave your dog unattended in the water, since accidents can happen without warning. Bring plenty of fresh, clean water for your dog to drink, as rivers and lakes are not always safe to drink from. And it’s a good idea to have a life jacket for your dog that fits well and is easy to get on and off. Added safety features to look for include bright colors, reflectors, and handles for helping your dog quickly if the need arises.

Did you know that dogs can learn from each other? If yours is not too sure about the water, watching other dogs and joining in the fun may help them adjust faster.

Spending time in or near the water with your pups is one of the best ways to enjoy those sweltering summer temps. However, you decide to beat the heat, keep it wet and (not too) wild for maximum summer fun!