Can I Train My Dog To Like The Pool?

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:

Dog In Shallow Pool with a ladyGet 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.

Dog with life jacket swimmingLife jacket:

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.Dog swimming at the beach

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

● Corgis

● Dachshunds

● Chow Chows

● French Bulldogs

● Boxers

● Maltese

● Pekingese

● Shih Tzus

● Basset Hounds

● Pugs

● 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.

Final Thoughts

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”

Mark

Founder of Our Dogs World 101

 

16 thoughts on “Can I Train My Dog To Like The Pool?”

  1. This article was very informative with being a new dog owner myself for the first time this question has poped into my head like me and my family are big swimmers in the summer and have a pool of our own I was hoping to find a way that I could introduce the water into my dog’s life in hopes of him feeling more comfortable around water.  I think your article shares a lot of points I will take with me and use in my own life so I’m very appreciative of your article. 

    Reply
    • Hi Page,

      I am glad you found the article on Can I Train My Dog To Like The Pool informative and I hope it helps to get your dog loving the water!

      Mark

      Reply
  2. Interesting tips here, and it is definitely important to keep the energy light and fun. I imagine some dogs could be quite stubborn and reluctant to get wet, so any negative reinforcement would be very counter-productive. And I never really thought about how the anatomical and facial structure of some breeds could limit their ability to swim.

    My last dog had absolutely no problem getting in the water (mostly lakes), splashing around, and barking away, haha! Very rambunctious!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comments Dbrae and yes it is very important not to push your dog when training them to like the pool as you dont want any negative reinforcement.

      Them playing in a pool should all be about having fun.

      Reply
  3. Thanks for this article. I have a basset hound, lab mix and yes, he is not good in the water. In fact, he really does not like the water. Unfortunately, when he was a puppy my daughter decided to give him a bath, but the water was much too hot for the poor thing and his paws got scorched. I think this forever made him afraid of the water. He is a great dog, but will absolutely not get close to water, I cant blame him. 

    Reply
  4. I found with my dog, Zeus is he’s very impressionable.  Dogs, like kids, will react according to what’s been exposed to them and how it was done.  Trying to force any animal to do something that’s not originally in its nature will have consequences that may not be so easily repairable.  I find with my Zeus, the best route is simply being patient and showing the water is not his enemy.  At one point, I purposely went outside to play in the rain and encourage my dog to join me.  When he realized becoming soaking wet wasn’t always an evil experience, he actually behaved more favorably towards baths, beach visits, and the swimming pool.

    Reply
    • Hi Millie,

      What a great idea playing in the rain with Zeus was!

      You are so right with everything you have said here, if dogs see their owners having fun when getting wet they will normally join in.

      Mark

      Reply
  5. Hi Mark, this is a very helpful article for anybody that would like to have their dog share their pool with them. Personally I prefer my dogs not to come in the swimming.pool, purely because of the hairs that clog up the filter of the pool. We have a big tub that the dogs can use when it is very hot. 

    But if you are going to let your dog share your pool, then it is essential that they know where the stairs are to get out, and if it is only steps, you need to be in the water with your dog to help them to get out. Thanks for some great tips. 

    Reply
    • Hi Line,

      I agree with the hair in the filters however I am a bit of a softy with my two so they get to swim in my pool and I just spend longer cleaning the filters LOL..

      Mark

      Reply
  6. HI Mark. This is very interesting article. I had in my life several dogs and any of them liked water. We have pool in house, but my don’t want even came close to it. But looking on your post, its partially matter of character but also proper training is important. For sure I will use your advices and recommendations and check if my dog will be willing to change his habits. Also life jacket is great idea to make sure nothing wrong will happen.

    Reply
  7. Good Morning!

    This is a great article. I have had both dogs that LOVE the water.. and dogs that would rather pretend it doesn’t exist. With the ones that don’t like it I used a lot of your same tips to try and get them to enjoy it a bit more. Its always sad when you’re at a dog park and the other dogs are always going into the water and yours is having all this fun and then suddenly is depressed because all her friends have gone into the water and she doesn’t want to.

    My biggest success was the dog pool in the backyard. I started by sitting in it first without water. I would run around the yard and then jump in and sit and my dog would come running up and jump in too. After a few times I decided to put a little bit of water in (like you said, “baby steps”). The first time she jumped in and her feet were wet was the most hilarious thing ever. She jumped back out really quick! Then after a few times the water didn’t bother her feet.. so we filled it up more. 

    Within the month she wasn’t afraid to jump into the water with the rest of the dogs at the park 🙂

    Talk soon!

    -B

    Reply
    • Hey B,

      That’s the secret, baby steps!

      Some great work B in getting your dog to also like the pool so he can join all his doggy friends at the dog park!

      Mark

      Reply
  8. Hi Mark, before reading your article, I thought that every dog is natural to swim. I know that not all dogs love the water, but I always thought that a dog can swim easily. And, I was wrong. I learn a lot reading your article. You describe here all the steps how to train and how to take care and be prudent in this process.  

    I’m going to share your article with my sister. She has a Pomeranian, but he does not like the water at all. He never likes to outdoor when is raining or the ground is wet. So, learning step by step how to swim can be helpful for him to enjoy the water and does not be afraid anymore. 

    Thank you for sharing

    Alketa

    Reply

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