You made a conscious decision to move to the seaside. You have beautiful beaches to walk your small canine companion along and you always envisaged him leaping through the waves and enjoying a good swim. It hasn’t quite turned out like that though. You’re not sure if he’s scared of the water but he certainly won’t swim in it. On the other hand, maybe you don’t have a sea on your doorstep, but you do have ponds and lakes nearby. All of which he doesn’t like going for a dip in.
Training your little dog to swim will alleviate any concerns or nerves he might have. You’ll then get precisely what you’ve always wanted; a little dog that smells like the dirty pond water when he returns home from a walk! Jokes aside, teaching him to swim is more than worthwhile. It’s fantastic exercise for him and a great way to tire him out, so he naps peacefully in the evenings.
Fortunately, training a small dog to swim isn’t as difficult as many people think. He simply needs support and guidance from his loyal owner. You also need to find something to incentivize him to take the plunge. As you can probably imagine, food and toys do the job very well. Once you’ve taught him to swim you just need to encourage him and he’ll take care of the rest. If he’s young, he should be brimming with energy and full of confidence. You may need just a week to see consistent results. If he’s older and always been wary of the water, you may need up to three weeks before he’s fully comfortable.
Training him to swim isn’t just great exercise, it’s also good for his health. Swimming helps to strengthen muscles and joints, which may stave off arthritis and other conditions when he’s older.
Before you dive in you’ll need a few things. Somewhere to practice is the first essential. A local pond or lake is a good place to start. A sea will do, but it’s best if you can build his confidence up in calmer waters first. Because he’s small, a bathtub may also be a good starting point.
You’ll need plenty of treats and food, plus a waterproof toy. You’ll also need to dig out your bathing suit. Don’t think you can stay warm and dry while he does all the hard work!
Once you have those things, just bring patience and an optimistic attitude and you’re ready to hit the deep end.