Do you want your dog to accompany you in pools and other water activities?
Summer in the pool with a dog can be great fun but not all dogs enjoy pools. Some of them are downright afraid to dip in a paw. If you want your dog to be more comfortable in the pool, this article is for you!
You can train your dog to like and enjoy the pool. It’s better to start introducing your fur buddy to the pool at a young age. During puppy hood, they are usually bursting with curiosity and excitement.
Why Do Some Dogs go Crazy After Getting Wet?
Not all dogs enjoy getting wet, even if they were bred to be water dogs. Some of them need to be trained to get comfortable in the water.
Here are some reasons your dog might go a little crazy around water:
● Lack of exposure: Some indoor dogs are just not frequently exposed to water. If your dog has never been in a pool or in rain, they may become a little frightened after getting wet.
● Negative association with water: Some dogs develop an anti-water attitude because they might have had a bad experience with water. Maybe your dog’s only experience with water is when they take a bath. If that’s unpleasant for them, they won’t like getting wet in other scenarios as well.
● Personality: Some dogs have a fear of the unknown. They get more anxious, stressed, and are not inclined to get wet.
● Sense your distaste for water: Dogs can sense your energy and pick up on human cues. When you feel anxious or frustrated, your dog will sense it immediately. Dogs may also pick up the distaste for water from their owners.
How Do I Get My Dog To Not Be Afraid Of The Pool?
A dog pool is a safe introduction to water play. To teach your dog not to be afraid of the pool, here’s what you can do:
● Get a dog pool: Swimming in shallow water in the comfort of your backyard is a great way to teach your dog not to be afraid of the pool. It will also help them to cool off and learn that water is fun. As your dog becomes comfortable with the water, try a large pool for your dog.
● Ease your dog’s fear of water with shallow water: First, you want to build your dog’s trust in the water. Start with a small amount of water in a dog pool. Fill a dog pool with an inch or two of water. Also, make the water temperature comfortably tepid, not hot, or too cold. If your fur buddy remains calm, praise continuously.
● Make pool time fun: Keep the experience positive so that your dog does not become afraid of water. When training your dog to swim, bring with you some familiar toys or a ball to soothe them. Use treats, toys, and positive reinforcement to make it a good experience.
● Take baby steps: If your dog has a fear of water, start with extremely small exposures. Go at your dog’s pace to avoid any setbacks. It will help to make each pool session a success. Encourage your dog onto the first step of the pool. Take breaks and never overdo it. Keep pool sessions short for your dog.
● Be patient and never rush: Let your dog dip their paws in the water and get comfortable. Allow your fur buddy to stay in the pool for a couple of minutes and let them out. Forcing them before they’re ready can make them more afraid.
● Have fun: If your dog sees you having a great time near the water, they will be more inclined to join in. Get in the pool with your dog and have fun alongside. Keep in mind that the calmer you are, the calmer your dog will be.
● Bring a buddy. A confident, water-loving dog can teach a water-shy dog that being near the water is safe and fun.
● Use high-value treats: Remember that praises, petting, and kind words combined with a yummy treat become a powerful tool. Make your pool day a really positive experience by bringing some delicious treats that your dog loves.
Quick note: If your pool is chlorinated, it is recommended to rinse off your dog after swimming in a pool. Chlorine is a chemical that shouldn’t stay on your dog’s skin. It can be very drying to your dog’s skin and coat. Also, dry your dog’s ears from the inside to prevent an infection. You can use a canine ear cleaner with a drying agent in it.
Remember, the goal is that your dog likes the pool – not that you force your dog into the pool. Using fear or negative reinforcement will not help your dog like something! It can be more harmful to their personality, and it may put them off the pool altogether.
Water Safety Tips For Your Dog
If your dog can’t be a champion swimmer, just make sure he’s safe near water. There are certain steps that you can take to keep your dog safe in and around any body of water.
It’s worth investing in a dog life jacket. For dogs who aren’t natural swimmers or for senior dogs, it gives them a little extra stability in the water. This will help your pooch stay afloat if it accidentally ends up in the water and can’t swim.
● Watch closely and hang on:
Never leave your furry child unattended when in the water. You can’t predict what might happen when they are in the water. Stay close to your fur buddy and watch them all the time to avoid accidents. Novice dog swimmers can sink very quickly. It’s better to swim alongside your dog in the water.
● Don’t push them in water:
Don’t push your dog into the water. Remember that not every dog is a natural swimmer. Pushing your fur buddy in the water can cause them to panic or become scared of water. You can teach your dog to swim, but don’t force them in water.
● Provide fresh drinking water:
Don’t let your dog drink pool, pond, lake, or sea water. They can get really sick. Always bring along fresh water for your dog to keep them cool and hydrated.
● Avoid currents and waves:
Don’t let your dog swim in a river or ocean with currents. These waves and currents are dangerous for your furry child.
● Practice how to exit the water:
Have your dog get in and out of the pool on the first step and repeat the process a couple of times. This gets your dog accustomed to the pool. The more you practice, the more comfortable your dog will be when you head out for a beach day. It is important to teach your dog how to get out of the pool. Practice exiting the water a few times to show them the way out. Make sure there are steps or a ramp that your dog can use to climb out.
● Take breaks:
Swimming is a great exercise, but it can be tiring for your dog. Always take breaks to preserve their energy and to keep them safe. Your furry pal should be removed from the water if he becomes exhausted.
● A protective fence around the pool:
No matter what, never leave your dog unattended around a pool. Add a protective fence around your pool. This is a great way to keep your fur buddy away from the dangers.
● Don’t let your dog swim on a full tummy:
Don’t let your fur buddy swim right after having his meal. If your dog swims on a full stomach, it may cause bloating. Give some time to your dog to digest his meal before swimming in the pool.
Just go-slow, control the environment, and make it a positive experience for your dog!
Which Dog Breed Cannot Swim?
The popular assumption ‘all dogs can swim’ is not always correct. Though all dogs can easily paddle in the water, certain breeds can’t swim well at all. This is due to their anatomy and facial structure. These breeds prefer to stay on the land. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t teach them how to swim.
Breeds who find swimming to be hard include:
● Dog breeds with large, heavy chests in relation to hindquarters
● Dog breeds with short legs in proportion to their bodies
● Dog breeds with heavy heads
● Dog breeds with short muzzles
Here are few breeds that are not good swimmers, or they struggle hard to swim:
● Scottish Terriers
● English Bulldogs
● Chow Chows
● French Bulldogs
● Shih Tzus
● Basset Hounds
● English Mastiff
Quick note: A dog’s personality and temperament is also a significant factor in his ability to swim. Some pooches don’t even like to go out on a rainy day.
Just like us, each dog has its own personality. At times, your furry companion can be stubborn and mischievous too. This makes it even more difficult to train them to like the pool. Training usually takes time and commitment, so don’t lose patience. You will have to reshape your dog’s behavior with encouragement, praise, and reward.
If your dog is unable to accompany you in pools, you can go for other activities with your four-legged friend. For a cool binding time, there are a variety of land activities like hunting, burrowing, fly ball, or fetch games. You can enjoy such activities that keep them on the go.
Does your dog like his pool? Share your experience with us. We would be happy to hear from you!
As always “May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair”
Founder of Our Dogs World 101