Once you’ve established that your dog is at least somewhat likely to be water-friendly, it may be time to try venturing out into the pool with them (see Part 1). If you do decide to take the plunge into the pool with your dog, be patient while they get acclimated to the water. Even on a hot day, the feeling of cool water and the sensation of suddenly being wet all over can be quite surprising for your canine companion. Here are some more tips to keep in mind when playing in the pool with your four-footed friend.
Make Sure Your Dog Knows How to Swim
Some people assume that nearly any dog, especially those who are members of water-loving breeds, can instantly swim the moment they step into the water. The truth is that, just like people, dogs often need to be taught how to swim.
Gently take your dog into your arms and lift them into the water. Keep holding onto them while they get used to being in the water. Wait to see what happens as you’re holding your dog. If they begin to move their legs through the water, shower them with plenty of praise. If they seem to be taking to the water with a spirit of confidence, you can start to slowly let go of them in the shallowest part of the pool.
You may want to take just one hand off of her at a time, waiting to see if your dog stays up on top of the water before you let go of them completely. See if they can make it from a few feet away over to the steps. Then gradually move them back further and further into the water before letting go of them and letting them attempt to swim.
Make Sure Your Dog Knows How to Leave the Pool Safely
Guiding your dog back to the pool’s exit from many different points of the water will teach them how to safely get back to dry land. Supervise and hold onto the dog as they reach the steps or ladder. This is a vital step to dog pool safety. The more natural it becomes for the dog to head for the pool exit, the more likely it will be for them to safely leave the water should they ever accidentally fall into it.
Make Sure to Keep Your Eyes on Your Dog
Some people assume that if their dog is a good swimmer, they can let them go out into the yard and enter the pool whenever they want to without someone outside to watch. This is a potentially dangerous practice. Just like people, animals can have unexpected medical emergencies. You’d be devastated to find that your water-loving dog had drowned in the pool due to a freak accident, heat exhaustion, or over-exertion.
With careful supervision and patient instruction, many dogs learn to become virtually just as comfortable in the water as they are on land. In our next article, we’ll take a look at some accessories that may help your dog to have a safer and more enjoyable experience swimming in the pool.
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