How to Teach a Dog to Swim: The Only Guide You Need

by | Mar 2, 2020 | Exercise and Play, Training

If your dog doesn’t know how to swim, then this can cause reason for anxiety in both you and your pup. This is especially true if your home has a pool or if you live near water. You don’t want your pup to end up fighting for his or her life in the water because he or she doesn’t know how to swim.

This is why you need to learn how to teach a dog to swim right now! Before you jump right into swimming lessons yourself, there are a few things that you should know about teaching a dog to swim. Knowing a few good tips and tricks will ensure that you and your dog have the best experience possible.

Are you ready to keep your dog safe while playing near water and keep your mind at ease? If so, then continue reading below for our full guide on how to teach your pup to swim!

1. Use Safe Practices

As when learning anything new, be sure to practice safety first! Using safe practices will keep you and your pup safe during the swim lessons. Even if you’ve given your dog a few lessons, you should never leave your dog unattended while he or she is in the water.

You should also invest in a pool gate to place around the pool when not in use if your home has a pool. When practicing swimming in a natural body of water, be sure to speak with your pup’s vet about appropriate vaccinations to keep them healthy. You should also be on the lookout for strong currents and rocks!

A great tool to help you keep control of your pup while teaching him or her to swim is a leash. Keep a leash attached to your dog while he or she gets used to the water and swimming.

2. Show Them Steps and Use Shallow Water

When practicing in a pool, be sure to show your pup where the stairs are. Say the word, “stairs” or the word, “steps” when guiding your dog up and down them. Take your pup into the water but not too far in. 

Once you’re a little distance away from the stairs, let your pup swim back to them. Be sure to only do this for about 10 minutes or so. Remember, your dog can’t reach the ground with their legs like you can and will get tired. 

When practicing in a natural body of water, stay in the shallow end while training with your pup. This will help your dog get used to the water and swimming in it without the fear of not reaching the bottom. 

3. Make It an Enjoyable Experience

You want to make this experience as enjoyable as possible. You want your pup to have fun while learning how to swim. Keep in mind that not all dogs enjoy swimming just as not all people enjoy swimming. 

Be sure to keep an eye on your pup while he or she is learning how to swim and see what the reaction is. It might be a bit scary at first so give it time, but after a few tries if your dog doesn’t seem to have any interest in getting in the water, then it’s best not to force it. 

Rather than swimming in large bodies of deep water, your pup might be more relaxed hanging out in a kid’s swimming pool filled up in the yard. 

4. Take Breaks When Needed

Another way to prevent a negative association with swimming is to give your dog breaks when needed. If you force your pup to keep trying and practicing even when he or she is tired or has had enough, then he or she might begin to see swimming as a chore or punishment. 

You don’t want to do this, so be sure to take frequent breaks. If you notice your dog breathing heavily or notice his or her back sinking in the water, then it’s time to give them a break!

5. Purchase a Doggy Life Jacket

There are life jackets made specifically for dogs and if you’re teaching your dog how to swim, then you should be using a doggy life jacket. Doggy life jackets are just one of the many essential dog items

Dogs who need life jackets the most are dogs with bigger chests that weigh them down, short legs, and dogs who will be spending a lot of time out on a boat. 

Remember to keep a leash attached to the life jacket as well. The leash will help you assist your pup while swimming and the life jacket will keep his or her head above water without preventing the ability to swim. 

6. Start Teaching at a Young Age

If you have a puppy, the best thing to do is to start teaching him or her how to swim as soon as possible. The earlier you start your swim lessons, the easier it’ll be for your pup to pick up on it. If your pup is used to being in and around water at a young age, then he or she will be more comfortable with it as well. 

There will also be a more established routine and safety procedures embedded in your pup’s memory. 


Learn How to Teach a Dog to Swim Today!

If your dog doesn’t know how to swim quite yet, then it’s time to learn how to teach a dog to swim! Put your mind at ease and give your dog the confidence he or she needs by showing him or her how to swim with ease!

Once your pup learns to swim, you both can engage in regular swimming exercises when wanted! 

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