Activities For Dogs With Owners Who Like Swimming

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Introduction

Love to swim? Many dogs do, too. Why not let your canine buddy join you for a dip? Not only will your dog have fun, but you will both get some exercise. Plus, what better way to cool off when it's hot outside? Some of you may have a pool in the back yard or live near a lake where you and your dog can swim. Many dogs are natural swimmers and will jump right in, others may take a little coaxing but love it once they get the hang of it. These water-based activities let both you and your fur baby work off some steam; so come on in, the water's fine.

Water Introduction

Popular
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Hot Day
Cheap
Normal
45 Minutes
Items needed
Doggy Life Vest
Toys
Treats
Activity description
Some dogs take to water naturally and you can hardly keep them out of it. Others aren't so fond of it. Never force your dog to get in the water. In fact, if you have a brachycephalic breed like a Pug or Boston Terrier, swimming could be harmful due to complications like aspiration pneumonia. Other dogs will be fine, they may just need some encouragement. A life vest is always a good idea when you take animals around the water. They may be good swimmers but could still experience a problem in the water. One with a handle on top so you can grab your dog and pull him out of the water is best.
Step
1
Encourage the experience
If your dog isn't used to the water you'll need to lure them closer. Call them over and lavish them with praise and a couple of nutritional treats. Then step into the pool and try to get your pal to join you. When they do, let them know what a champ they are and how proud you are of them. Your happy attitude will let your dog know that it's okay to be in the water, especially with you.
Step
2
Teach your dog to leave the pool
One of the most important things for a dog in a pool to know is how to get out. When your dog is comfortable in the water, take your place next to the steps or other exit. Call your dog to come to you. At first, call them when they are close to the steps. Reward them for coming to you. As they improve at exiting the pool wait until they are further away to call them in. Again, always praise your dog for coming when called.
Step
3
Keep fresh water available
Playing in the pool can let a dog work up quite a thirst, but you don't want them drinking the pool water. Chemicals that are put in the pool water to balance the PH can be harmful if ingested. Keep a bowl of cool, fresh water close by where your dog can easily get a drink. A bath is in order after a swim in the pool as well so your dog won't ingest the chemical residue left on their fur after they return to dry land and start grooming.
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Raft Riding

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Hot Day
Cheap
Normal
45 Minutes
Items needed
Raft
Treats
Activity description
Raft riding is great fun, especially for dogs who don't really like swimming but love being in the water with you. Your dog will ride on the raft sometimes for long periods of time because they find it just as relaxing as you do. They might even curl up a take a nap while drifting along on the surface of the pool. Or other dogs will bark at the water or splash their feet in it. Small dogs seem to especially enjoy raft riding and can do it with or without you. Once they get the hang of it, its hard to get some dogs to stop riding the raft.
Step
1
Acquaint them with the raft
Pick a nice solid, flat raft that will be easy for the dog to get off of and back on again. Place it on the floor and toss a treat on its surface. When the dog climbs on to get the treat, praise them warmly. Much like teaching them to 'go to bed' teach your dog to 'go to raft.' Rewards should be served for good results.
Step
2
Move the raft to the pool
Now it's time to get the dog on the raft while it is floating in the pool. Some dogs respond best if you are already on the raft when you maneuver to the edge of the pool and call your dog. When they finally get up the courage to step on the raft with you, let the praises begin. Now float around the pool with your dog snuggled next to you and enjoy the day.
Step
3
Time to solo
If your dog is too big to share the raft with you or you prefer they float on their own, you need to teach your dog to get on the raft while it is in the water. Hold the raft next to the steps or the side of the pool Toss a treat on the raft and tell your dog to go to raft. When they step onto the raft to retrieve the treat, let the raft go and watch your dog floating around all by themselves. Cool, right?
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Pirate Games

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Hot Day
Cheap
Normal
45 Minutes
Items needed
A ball or toy
Activity description
Aye, matey, you'll have a jolly good time playing pirate with your canine pal. The only item you need is a ball or another toy your dog is fond of and they will soon be diving for buried treasure. This game is fun for all involved. Your dog will feel a great sense of accomplishment because they have pleased you, and you in turn, will enjoy making your dog's tail wag.
Step
1
Baby steps first
Take the toy you've chosen to use for this game and place it in very shallow water. On the first submerged step of the pool is a good place to start. Tell your dog to get it or fetch, whichever command you use for retrieving. When they get the toy (and return it to you) praise your dog immediately and give them some extra pats and praise.
Step
2
Go a little deeper
Now it's time to move the toy deeper into the water. Not so deep that your dog cannot keep their feet on the ground but deep enough that they have to put their whole head under the water to get the toy. Give the order and have the dog bring you the item. Yeah, good dog!
Step
3
Dive for it
Before you know it your dog will be ready to really get in over their heads. Toss the toy into even deeper water and tell them to get it. If you feel comfortable you can remove the dog's life vest in order to allow them to dive deep enough to get the toy. Don't make it too deep. About five or six feet, depending on the size of your dog, is deep enough.
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More Fun Ideas...

Play in the Sprinklers

Remember how much fun it was to play in the sprinklers as a child? Why stop now? Turn on the hose and let the games begin. You're dog will love the chance to cool off as they chase you, and you'll feel like a kid again!

No Pool? Add a Baby Pool

If you don't have a pool, add a children's wading pool to your back yard. It makes a great place for your dog to cool off and even gives you a place to soak your feet and refresh yourself on those sizzling hot summer days.

Conclusion

Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise for humans and canines alike. It's the perfect way to keep arthritic dogs - and their owners -active and more flexible. Floating on the water is a good stress reliever for both you and your dog. What could be better than spending a sunny afternoon in the water with your dog - and no one will be happier about it than your fur baby.