Swimming is a great form of exercise. Using many different muscle groups and not putting any pressure on the joints, swimming is a rare form of working out that keeps us fit and healthy without causing any wear and tear to our bodies. Therefore, teaching your four-legged friend to swim can be equally beneficial. It has been stated that 60% of pets in the United States are now overweight; swimming is a great way to keep your pupper fit and ensure that they lead longer, healthier lives. Not only does teaching your pooch to swim have all of these health benefits, but it can also be extremely enjoyable for your pooch and a great way to bond if you’re a keen swimmer, as your pooch can come on swimming adventures with you.
Teaching a dog to swim can be an extremely fun and rewarding activity, however, there are factors that need to be taken into consideration. Thinking that all pooches love water and will take straight to it is a common misconception; some pooches will need a lot of time and encouragement, whereas others will love the water and jump right in. Therefore, the time it takes your pooch to learn can be variable--try not to get upset with them if it takes a little longer and understand that some pooches are scared of the water and may not be able to learn. Certain breeds of dog are better suited to swimming than others, for example, retrievers and spaniels are generally quite keen swimmers, however, deep-chested breeds such as bulldogs aren’t naturally buoyant and will require a lot more help in order to swim successfully. Your pup should have some time to grow and get bigger and stronger, so this command is recommended for pups above 6 months old.
To begin teaching your pup to swim, you’ll need to have an area of shallow water that both you and your pup can get in safely and some doggy floatation aids. Your dog will need to be fully vaccinated, against leptospirosis in particular as there is a risk of catching this from the water. The shallow end of a swimming pool would be the ideal, as here there won’t be any naturally occurring hazards such as sharp rocks, reeds, and currents as you would find in a river. You’ll also want an area free from distractions, so if it was just you and your pooch this would be ideal. After your pup has been swimming, make sure you have some special doggy shampoo to wash him with, as you’ll want to make sure his skin doesn’t get infected or sore from any chemicals or bugs he picks up during his swim.