Why Swimming Lessons For Your Dog?
By Gretchen Staab
Owner of Dawg Swim
Many people believe all dogs can instinctively swim. The truth is, thousands of dogs drown in swimming pools every year. Often times they can not find a way out of the pool. Some do not swim very well, paddling and panicking into exhaustion. Over eager swimmers can disrupt safe and peaceful enjoyment of your pool. These issues can be resolved with swimming lessons for your dog.
Even if your dog is a natural swimmer, he can panic if he falls into the pool. Many dogs scramble around the perimeter frantically searching for an exit. It is important for every dog to know how to get out especially if you are not there to help. Swimming lessons will ensure your dog knows where the stairs are, is comfortable using them and sees them a safe way to get out of the pool.
Not all dogs swim well and need help with their swimming technique. Most dogs will instinctively dog paddle, using only their front legs as their back legs sink. This results in panic and exhaustion which can lead to drowning. A pet floatation device (a life jacket for dogs) will help your dog be comfortable in the water while encouraging and teaching him to use his hind legs. Often times, after just a few lessons, the life jacket is no longer needed. It is a good idea to have one that fits your dog and to make sure your dog is comfortable wearing one. Both of these things can be accomplished with swimming lessons.
Some dogs are fearful of water but should be exposed to it for their safety especially here in Florida where pools, lakes and oceans are common. Never assume your dog won’t follow you, a toy, a duck or some other distraction into the water.
Overeager swimmers who leap into the pool can be dangerous, crashing into or clawing at people enjoying the water. Lessons in polite pool manners will allow you, your family and friends, and your dog to enjoy swimming together.
Once your dog masters swimming he can learn how to surf! Many dogs really enjoy surfing. Teaching dogs to balance on a boogie or surf board in the pool is great preparation for the ocean. It is also a life saving skill if your dog gets fatigued while swimming.
Swimming with your dog should be fun and it is a great way to exercise him without overheating.