How to teach a dog to swim?

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geckogirly
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How to teach a dog to swim?

Postby geckogirly » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:00 am

Ok, so Newt loves water, but had never been in any over his head. It was finally warm enough this past weekend for him to have his first experience in the lake.

I threw his toy in, and he went bounding in after it, all excited. I had taken him to the shallow end on purpose. Anyway, the rush to get there pushed the toy just out of his reach where he could touch, and he sunk like a rock!

This happened a couple times, and he just managed to turn himself around and get back where he could touch.

So, my question is...what is the best way to teach a dog to swim? Do I just keep him in the shallow end and hope he eventually ventures a little further...and hope he starts swimming? The sinking thing, although hilarious, was freaking me out a bit.

I really don't think there is any drowning issues, as I have him on a 50 ft lead just in case b/c our lake is not fenced in. So, I can always pull him in if he sinks...

The whole thing just seems silly to me though. Anyone else ever encounter this?

He still loves to play in the water--kept throwing the toy or batting it in himself so he could jump in the water after it. So, the sinking didn't freak him out...

Thanks guys. I tried searching for this topic, but came up empty handed.

-Andrea ;)

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Shoshana
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Postby Shoshana » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:02 pm

I'd get him a life vest for starters. At least he won't drown and he'll figure out that he needs to paddle to get anywhere. The long line won't help to get his head above water if he gets in trouble but the life vest will.

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geckogirly
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Postby geckogirly » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:29 pm

Thanks, I understand what you're saying.

I wasn't talking about the line keeping his head above water...I was talking about being able to pull him 3 feet so he could touch the bottom himself.

I'll check on the life vests now--I didn't think about that making him realize he needs to paddle, so great suggestion. Thanks!

-Andrea ;)

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Siberian
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Postby Siberian » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:19 pm

Yes to live vests. It will keep him afloat and boost his confidence. That's how my dog learned to swim and jump.

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Postby Brian » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:43 pm

Haha its funny I saw this, I took my pups out to the Bluffs by my house yesterday...They know how to swim and will get in the water as long as they can touch bottom. So I took them one at a time over and over again way out in the water (doesnt get more than 4 feet till bout 50yrds out) and hold them by the collar for bout a min or so, them let them go and they would swim for shore....after a few times I started turning around and the pup on the beach would come a ways out following the other then turn around...I was so proud...lol but them the waves started coming in and well....that was a different story roflmao

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Postby geckogirly » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:50 pm

What's a good brand of life vest?

Thanks!

-Andrea ;)

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Siberian
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Postby Siberian » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:17 pm

I think anyone is good. I just saw this one: http://www.fivestarfido.com/p-87653-sea ... zmap=87653

While I have not used it, I think it sounds really good. Price is great too.

http://www.joessports.com/product/index ... =210929010 Ruffwear is good too. This is one of the vests that I have.

The only vest I would not get is Fido Float (or similar is structure): those that have mesh cover for the chest and belly. I have heard too many stories where that mesh cuts into the armpits, really hurting the dog.

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Postby Siberian » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:20 pm

Ha, apperently Seadog is made by ezydog:
http://www.ezydog.com/fxstore/product/7 ... -Vest.aspx

I would trust that brand.

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Postby prettypandme » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:33 pm

Andrea,

I don't know if you know of Tuesday Morning (discount/closeout retail store, I work for corporate in marketing dept) but we are going to be selling dog life vests on Saturday May 9 and the large and xl are only going to be $19.99, they are outward hound brand.

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geckogirly
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Postby geckogirly » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:13 am

prettypandme wrote:Andrea,

I don't know if you know of Tuesday Morning (discount/closeout retail store, I work for corporate in marketing dept) but we are going to be selling dog life vests on Saturday May 9 and the large and xl are only going to be $19.99, they are outward hound brand.


Oh wow, yeah, there is one semi close to me! I'll definately go check it out. So they'll all be selling them on that date?

Lemme know, I'm in Southern Ohio. Thanks so much for the heads up!

-Andrea ;)

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Postby NewOrleansSaint » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:13 am

Ah, yes . . . Saint sinks like a rock too. We started working on teaching how to swim better last summer, but it got cold before we made much progress.

A life jacket is a must for Saint! (aka Sir Sinks-a-Lot). lol




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tiva
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Postby tiva » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:34 pm

A couple tips:
1. Never ever use your recall command to call the dog in the water when she's still learning to swim! This is a great way to poison a recall command and associate it with fear.
2. I like to teach on a long shallow beach, with no waves. I walk out in the water with the dog (off leash) beside me, and another dog who loves to swim. I give both dogs bits of sausage as we walk.
3. when the non-swimming dog gets to where she's a little worried, I ignore her and play with the swimming dog, just out of reach. I give the swimming dog bits of really stinky sausage. The non-swimming dog comes a step closer, she gets a piece of sausage.
4. we run back in and out a lot, going a tiny bit further each time. I don't pull the dog or call it to me. Instead, I just make being next to me seem like sooooo much fun--games! sausage! play time!

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tiva
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Postby tiva » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:36 pm

And for sinking dogs....life vests are a great idea. You can also walk beside them, supporting them under their belly while they practice dog paddling. One of our pit bulls just sinks (she keeps her head above water, but the harder she paddles, the more her bottom goes down). The other two dogs are great swimmers. I have no idea why they differ.

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The Fate
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Postby The Fate » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:09 pm

Whats a good age to start getting them used to the water ?
Blue kinda hates water because he hates taking baths..

Also does your dog have to be registered thru the city to take them to a local beach ?

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Postby aznchipmunk » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:11 pm

i feel so bad saying this - but i'll say it anyway...

first time i took my boy to water we threw him in, its a small reservoir near the house and the ex was 6'2 - so we could easily retrieve him...thats how ronin learned how to swim. but hey, he took to it like a fish after a few minutes.

had a friend who's dog knew that paddling would make him go forward but just kept sinking - without the life vest he was only able to keep his eyes and nose afloat. cutie pie...

in VA theres a place where they have a stream pool - a pool that has a constant stream - they mainly use it for rehab and stuff for injured or recovering dogs, but for a fee they'll let you get in and play with your dog - its probably no deeper than 3 feet and its 6x3ft - ideal for one-on-one water action...anywhere like that for your pup?


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