How to Teach a Dog to Swim?

Most of the dogs belong to the water with a great love and awe. Many four-legged friends in the warm season can not be pulled out of the reservoir. But there are Pets who categorically refuse to swim. The problem may be not only physiological, but also psychological. How to overcome the fear of water in a dog – read the article.

Can all dogs swim?

Any animal, finding itself in the water, instinctively begins to move its paws and try to swim. But some dogs, due to their physiological capabilities, are unable to stay afloat for a long time.

Before you start water activities with your pet, pay attention to the features of its body structure. For example, some breeds of dogs have short legs, a wide chest, a narrow pelvis – all this worsens the quality of swimming. For such dogs, pet stores sell life jackets. And if your beloved friend gets tired quickly while swimming, the vest will be a good support for him on the water.

To determine how your pet feels about water, organize a walk near the reservoir. Carefully monitor the reaction of the dog, try to throw a toy into the water, but do not let go of the leash. If the dog does not hesitate to rush for the ball, raise a column of spray and easily get the toy, it is likely that there will be no problems with swimming.

In some cases, the animal looks at the water with fear, begins to whine and get nervous, feels fear and can not decide to go into the water. The owner needs to understand that in addition to physiological features, there are psychological problems. Perhaps the dog had an unsuccessful swim at an early age and developed a fear of water from the stress it suffered. In this situation, no vests will help. Systematic, patient work is necessary to get rid of the phobia of the animal. If you can’t teach your pet to swim, ask for help from professional dog handlers.they will tell you how to instill a love of water in your dog without any forced action.

How to build swimming training correctly?

The best time to train puppies is from the age of four and five months. Start training according to the following scheme:

  1. The first lesson involves just a walk by the reservoir. Let the pet run along the shore, soak its paws, try to catch the rolling wave. Most dogs are naturally great at water. However, positive emotions can be fixed by giving the dog a treat.If the pet is placed in the bath, you can start training at home. During swimming, the dog should be kept under the chest. Do not combine bathing a puppy and swimming in the bathroom, the dog will not understand your manipulations and will perceive water procedures with caution.If the dog has a panic fear of water, do not force it to go into the water. And even more so, in no case can you forcibly drag a puppy into a pond. So the negative Association with water can become even stronger.The ideal solution is to sit with your pet by the pond and watch other dogs swim. After a couple of such training sessions, the puppy will show curiosity and begin to slowly enter the water. The host’s task at this point is to apply positive reinforcement.
  2. The second stage is joint bathing. Few dogs will sit on the shore, seeing how the owner frolics in the water. During water games, you can not take off your clothes, because the dog will try to jump on you in the water. In this case, a long-sleeve shirt or sweater will protect you from scratches and abrasions.When you are in the water, call your dog. You can entice her with your favorite toy. After the dog has reached you on the water, you do not need to go with it to the depth. Fix the achieved result. The most important thing is to act gradually and methodically, without haste. Go with the dog to the shore and re-enter the water. Repeat this several times.Small dogs can be carefully brought into the water on their hands, but this is provided that the pet has safely walked on the water before. The main rule when training a dog is not to force it! After a few training sessions, the pet will get used to water procedures and will behave more calmly.
  3. Build learning in the form of a game. Take familiar toys, balls, and dog treats to the pond. You can ask friends to come with Pets that can stay on the water. Looking at other animals frolicking in the water and on the shore, your shaggy friend will feel much more confident. Do not forget to praise him during training and encourage him with affectionate words. Praise from the host is the best reward. As soon as you see that the dog can confidently stay on the water, go to the depth.
  4. Moving away from the shore, watch your pet. If he feels fear, he should be helped. Hold your stomach with one hand and show a familiar toy with the other. As soon as you feel that the dog has become more confident, remove your hand and let the animal swim on its own. Hold a toy in front of the dog’s nose – this is a great motivation for swimming.During training, the dog’s head is above the water, and the body is parallel to the water level. If the back of the body sinks, it is best to wear a vest on the animal during the first training sessions. During swimming, the dog should work all the limbs.Always stay close to the dog in the first swims to the depth.if you are not sure, support your pet and direct it directly to the shallow water. Behave confidently, do not panic – the dog feels your mood.After several joint sessions, you can move on to single training sessions. Throw the ball into the pond and ask to bring it. Gradually increase the distance from the shore, taking the dog to the depth.

Swimming area and water safety measures

An important criterion for starting water training is to determine the place for swimming. It is advisable to train in warm or cool weather. Under the bright scorching sun, the dog’s wet coat quickly heats up, and the animal gets tired faster.

Choose reservoirs for water activities with a non-slip and sloping, smooth entrance to the water. You need to make sure that the current is moderate and the depth is even. Be sure to study the shore and bottom before swimming, make sure that there are no broken bottles, metal objects and snags. In some cities, there are special beaches for walking and bathing dogs.

It is not necessary to conduct training in wild untested reservoirs, choose famous places and beaches. It is also best not to start swimming in fast-flowing rivers. Spring streams are also not suitable for training, because the water in them is very cold.

For the first classes, it is better to choose quiet places without a large crowd of people. Extra noise will distract the dog and will not allow you to focus on the training process. If the pet is small, swimming and training can be done at home or in a small pool in the country. Do not force your pet to swim too far, as the floating animal may incorrectly calculate its strength. Keep in mind that old four-legged friends, pregnant dogs and puppies get tired faster.

Also, do not allow the dog to drink from the reservoir, this may lead to food poisoning. Going to nature, it is correct to take drinking water not only for yourself, but also for your shaggy friend.


If your dog does not like water – this is not a reason for frustration. There are a lot of activities and games that the dog will be happy to perform on the water, if it is properly involved in the process. It will take some time, and the pet will not be pulled out of the reservoir! The main thing to remember that in any training process is important planned and methodical. Be careful and patient, and then everything will work out.