- If you’re swimming for the first time with your dog, start in shallow water and coax him in by calling his name. Encourage him with toys or treats. Or let him follow another experienced dog with whom he is friendly.
~Jamie Damato , CPDT-KA, Animalsense Canine Training and Behavior, Inc., Chicago, IL
- Try this when your swimming pool’s temperature is about 70°F (21°C). Attach a long leash or rope to your dog’s collar/harness. Put him in the pool at various entry points. Guide him gently but quickly with tension on the leash (to prevent tangling), using a high-toned “Come” to the stairs or area that he will associate with safe exiting. Praise lavishly! Repeat as often as necessary.
~Lisa Neyer , Advanced Master Bark Busters Behavioral Trainer and Therapist, IACP Professional Member, San Clemente, CA
- Even dogs who know how to swim can drown in the family’s swimming pool because they cannot find the stairs and scratch endlessly and futilely at the walls to get out. To prevent this, teach your dog the following: Select a large target for him, such as an urn, large houseplant, or any other landscaping object at least 6 inches (15 cm) high that you will be comfortable having by your pool steps. Place a fabulous treat in the selected container and tell your dog “Go get it.” Start with the container very close to him. Slowly bring him farther and farther away until he is running happily from a distance that is at least as long as your pool. Now place the container by the pool steps, put on your bathing suit, and put the dog on a leash and harness if he’s never swum before. Bring him into the pool on the top step facing the container. Tell him “Go get it” and let him go. Bring him down to the second step and repeat. Slowly bring him farther and farther into the pool, always facing the container. Once his legs no longer reach the bottom, be sure to swim with him. Practice putting him in the pool in all areas and having him swim to the container. Eventually, a dog who swims a lot will know where the stairs are and not need the container anymore; dogs who hate to swim will need you to keep the container there in case of an accidental submerging.
~Rachel Lachow , CPDT-KA, Positively Obedient, Reisterstown, MD
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Excerpted from Top Tips from Top Trainers – 1001 Practical Tips and Techniques for Successful Dog Care and Training © 2010 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.