If you live near a beach or by a lake then nothing puts a smile on your face more than watching your dog go for a dip. If the weather's great, nothing beats splashing around and swimming with each other. What’s even better is if you can get your canine pal to swim underwater with you. Apart from it being a hugely entertaining spectacle, it’s fantastic exercise for him! While you might need goggles to see beneath you, he’ll be just fine the with the doggie lenses he was born with.
Training him to swim underwater is a great bonding experience. It also means you’re half the way there to training him to hunt fish, lobster, and crabs on the sea floor. If you’re looking for the perfect GoPro shot, it’s you and him swimming in unison underwater!
The good news is training your dog to swim underwater is actually surprisingly straightforward. First, you’ll need to get him comfortable in and around the water. That can be achieved with mouth-watering treats and enticing toys. Then you need to motivate him to take the plunge using more tasty treats. Once he’s got the hang of it you just need to reinforce the behavior. If he’s a puppy he should be brimming with energy and eager to please you. This means training could take just several days. If he’s older and a little bit more cautious than he was in his youth then you may need a couple of weeks before you see consistent results.
Get this training right and you’ll have a brilliant new way to exercise him. You’ll also have great fun riding the waves and exploring the sea bed together.
Before you dive in you’ll need a few things. You’ll need a pool, pond, or a sea to practice in. Some brightly colored toys and a frisbee will also be required. Then you’ll need plenty of treats or his favorite food, kept in a waterproof bag. You will need your bathing suit too, don’t think you can avoid getting wet!
You’ll also need to set aside 20 minutes for training at least 3 times a week. The more frequently you train the quicker he’ll pick it up.
Then just bring patience and a proactive attitude and you’re ready to hit the deep end!
Colt does well retrieving underwater up to 5 feet. Most of the time he has trouble using his back legs underwater. Got any suggestions on how to get him use those back legs so he can go deeper.
Hello Tyler, Try doing long retrieves at the top of the water. With the distance he will be more likely to level off and learn to use his back legs. Once he forms a habit out of using his back legs he should be more likely to use them underwater too. You can also get in the water with him and let him swim in a circle around you at a depth where you can touch and he cannot, and lift him up underneath his abdomen whenever he starts to let his back end sink and depends on his front legs too much. I suggest practicing both the long retrievals and you lifting him. While you are doing all of this continue to practice his underwater retrievals so that he will stay comfortable with those. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My lab LOVES to swim and would be in the pool all day if I let him. On his own, he goes to the side of the pool and completely submerges his face in the water! I would love to train him to dive but I cannot find diving sticks for dogs anywhere! I have a lot of toys that float, just none that sink. Would you please tell me where I can find a diving toy for my Dexter that sinks?
Hello Kimberly, Most dog toys are designed to float so sinking ones can be hard to find. Many regular dog toys will sink, such as the heavy rubber Kong toys. Simply look for one that will not retain a lot of air, is heavy enough to sink, and will not get water logged. Another good option is kid's dive toys. They are not marketed to dogs so I do not recommend letting your dog chew on it while out of the pool, but many of the hard plastic and long heavy rubber ones work well for retrieving. It you want something more light weight look into the plastic ring or stick pool toys that sink. Just be sure to start the retrieving on land and then in the shallow water, gradually working up to greater depths in the pool, so that your pup will get used to grabbing the unusual toy. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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