Peaches’ family have decided to install a pool! How exciting for the 9-year-old Golden Retriever who loves to swim. The problem is Peaches does not understand that she can not jump in the pool when the cover is on! While some safety pool covers are designed to be safe for a dog to walk on, most are not. This could be very dangerous if Peaches slips underneath the pool cover and cannot get out. She could drown. Also, pool covers are expensive, and if not designed for a dog to walk on they can easily become damaged and require replacing.
Peaches' pet parents are going to put a fence around their pool, but that is no guarantee that Peaches will never get access to the pool. The family needs to come up with a plan “B” to keep Peaches safe, and their pool cover intact! Teaching their older dog Peaches to stay off the pool cover is going to be necessary, and there are several ways to do that, although all will require some time commitment and ingenuity to be successful.
If you have a floating pool cover or a pool cover that could be dangerous or damaged if your dog ventured out on it, you are going to have to teach your dog that the pool cover is off limits. If you have an older dog that has never been exposed to a pool cover before, or given limits in his yard, this is going to be a bit of a challenge to get your dog to understand that he now has restrictions on where he can and cannot go. You will need to clearly communicate to your dog with consequences, verbal commands or signals where his off-limit area begins. Several options, including teaching your dog a verbal “no go” command, using deterrents, and distracting, can be used to establish the pool cover is off limits. Remember when using deterrents and negative consequences to work with your dog to give him a chance to “get it right” before he triggers an unpleasant consequence. This will help keep things fair for your dog and avoid upsetting and frustrating an older dog who is not familiar with having restrictions in his yard.
Make sure you closely supervise your older dog during training so that he is not put in danger of slipping under the cover into the pool or damaging your pool cover if he accidentally ventures out on the pool cover. Use treats to establish boundaries and distractions or deterrents such as alarms, or loud noises and barriers to mark out “no-go” zones.