July 1, 2010
You have been waiting for months, and it’s finally time to dive in! Beach and pool season is upon us, and chances are you’ll be enjoying one of these cooling-off options this summer.
But remember, there’s no need to leave the dog at home! DogWatch Hidden Fences has compiled another batch of summer tips, this time focusing on water safety for dogs. While the issue of water safety for dogs is very serious, we know that with careful planning, training and attention, you and your dog can stay cool and have a blast this summer. Let’s start with the basics…
All dogs can swim, right? Not exactly. Some dogs, like Portuguese water dogs and retrievers, are terrific natural swimmers, while others, especially short and/or stout dogs like bulldogs, basset hounds, corgis and pugs, have a much harder time than others. Regardless of breed, all dogs should be gradually introduced to water rather than simply being tossed in unattended.
According to the ASPCA, swim lessons should start as early as possible, preferably when the dog is a still a puppy. Even if this is not possible, proper training is still key to ensuring that your dog is safe and reacts positively to water.
This video of Ruby the Dogue de Bordeaux learning to swim provides a great lesson plan for dogs. Dog trainers suggest that you get in the water first, and slowly encourage your dog to follow you in, one step at a time. Take your time and give the dog lots of praise and encouragement. Having a dog friend around can also help: your dog may follow her friend into the water if she sees her go in safely.