We were installing an Out of Sight Dog Fence in Greenacres last week and it was really a scorcher. As I was installing the fence, the thought of just jumping in their pool crossed my mind several times. As we were finishing up the project and began training the client’s dog not to approach the perimeter, he had another question for us. “I know that this isn’t part of today’s project, but is there any way I can teach my dog to swim? I would love him to go in the pool.”
We had previously discussed that we are also Master Dog Trainers having trained over 2,500 dogs, so this was a valid question to ask us. We responded that it is not up to us to train a dog to swim. What we can do is to give them the opportunity to experience the ability to swim and see what they think.
Some dogs are Olympic swimmers and some can just do the “dog paddle”. Whether a dog wants to swim or not is completely up to them. What we can do, as good dog owners, is to make sure that they are safe around the pool. Here are some tips to make sure your dog is safe when they are around the pool.
- Make sure that your pool environment is calm with few or no people/other animals in the area.
- Do not make the assumption that your dog “wants to swim”. Some water dogs hate the water and others can’t wait to jump in. If you physically dump your dog into the pool, you will create a negative, physical experience that could harm your dog as well as his trust and respect for you.
- Put a leash on your dog. Calmly coax and direct him onto the first step in the shallow end. Hold him next to you and keep him calm. But if he doesn’t want to go, don’t force him. Try another time or sit on the step with one of his toys of a goodie.
- Calmly hold your dog and slide him off the step. Slowly move him around the pool. Praise his calm behavior with “good puppy”. Take him back to the step and praise him again.
- Repeat the above process several times.
- Next, when you are in the water with him, gently let him go so that he can swim under his own power. Start by only having him swim a foot or two. Slowly increase the length of his swim.
- Gently guide him back to the steps and have him exit the pool. Praise him.
- Repeat this process four or five times.
- Continue this for several days until he naturally goes to the steps without your assistance.
- Once he has shown he can swim back to the steps, have him jump in the pool (away from the steps).
- If he has a problem in getting back to the steps, guide him back.
- Repeat this process until he can jump in the pool and go back without guidance.
- Keep it slow!
Once you have successfully accomplished the above steps, your dog should be safe around the pool. As always, we never encourage leaving your dog unattended around the pool.
Now you will see if your dog really wants to swim. Since he has been shown that the pool is not a scary or bad thing, he will decide if he wants to actively participate with you in the pool or jump in on his own. Again, do not force him. If he wants to, he will. If he doesn’t want to, he won’t. In any event, you have accomplished making him feel safe around the pool and have taught him the needed steps to take if he falls (or jumps) in.
For more information about dog pool safety or out of sight dog fencing, please contact The Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers and Dog Obedience Trainers in Green Acres and South Florida.