It’s a common misconception that all dogs are born with an innate love of water and the ability to swim, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
While some dogs can’t get enough of the wet stuff (like Newfoundlands, which are happy enough to leap out of helicopters into the sea!), others (like short-haired dachshunds) hate even stepping one of their tiny toes in a puddle.
Regardless, learning to swim is an essential skill for dogs as it can help keep them safe – and it’s a really fun way for you to bond with your new pup as you help them work it all out.
A big no-no when teaching them to swim is just putting them in water and letting them figure it out. This can be dangerous for them and may even put them off swimming for life. Putting them in a canine life vest before they enter the water can help them find the courage they need and give them time for their paddling instinct to kick in.
Once you’re ready, entice your dog into the water using a toy to encourage them to get in of their own accord. It can also be useful to have another dog in the water that’s already a confident swimmer so your pup can watch and learn how to do it.
Start in the shallow end and stick close to your dog so they can get used to having wet feet while feeling safe and secure next to you. Move into deeper water bit by bit, using lots of positive reinforcement to reward your dog as they go. Whenever your pooch seems to be struggling, move back into the shallows and give them time to regroup.
What is important to check is the water temperature. If it’s too cold, your pup could come down with cold tail (where they’re no longer able to wag or lift it up), or even hypothermia. If you’d like any further help or advice relating to dog training in Battersea, get in touch with Sean Hyden today.