If you live anywhere near a beach that allows dogs to swim, teaching your dog to swim at the beach is imperative. Most dogs love to swim, and beaches are a great place to learn.
Many dog owners who have dogs living at or near the beach struggle more to get their dogs out of the water than they struggle to get their dogs in the water! However, you will need to spend some time teaching your dog to swim while at the beach. You want your dog to remain safe, and you want to know whether your dog is a swimmer or not before you let him go on his own to fetch a stick you have thrown in the water. Some dogs, such as Bulldogs, are just not swimmers, so be sure you know the strengths of your dog before you expect him to swim at the beach, especially unattended. Imagine the fun days you can have on the beach with your dog once you know he's an excellent swimmer. You can play fetch together, you can swim together, and you can exercise together. So if you are near a beach, start teaching your dog to swim today!
Training your dog to swim at the beach is going to consist of a few things. You will first need to introduce him to the beach. He will need to be comfortable with the sights and smells and the feel of sand between his toes. He will also need to be a dog who will want to swim rather than a dog who will likely automatically sink. Some dogs are just not swimmers. Be very cautious if your dog is a dog who is not prone to swimming. Also, be very careful if your dog is a breed who loves water but your particular dog has not been introduced to swimming just yet. He may be very eager but could get in over his head very quickly. Stay close to your dog while he is in training so you can be his lifeguard in case he gets into any trouble.
You may want to have a few toys on hand when you start to teach your dog to swim. Once he has swimming mastered, he may want to have toys to go fetch in the water and bring back to you. Some dogs learn best starting off with a life vest. Be sure you measure your dog and fit the life jacket before he wears it at the beach, so you know he is safe. Remember, a life jacket does not necessarily mean your dog is 100% safe. It means he has a device on him that will help him float. However, if it is not fit properly it can become more of a danger and a hindrance than a help. So even if your dog is wearing a life jacket, stay close to him. Make sure you also have a yummy treat waiting for him at the beach to celebrate a job well done as he learns to swim at the beach.