DoggySwim is a new concept in canine hydrotherapy - a sturdy, insulated, portable jetted pool designed for water based exercise and restorative care for dogs.

Perfect for restorative hydrotherapy, general exercise and fun for dogs and their owners at home, DoggySwim pools are also designed to satisfy the professional demands of canine hydrotherapists, breeders and trainers.

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How to Teach a Dog to Swim in a Pool

How to Teach a Dog to Swim in a Pool

It is a common misconception that all dogs instinctively know how to swim. In the event they were to jump or fall into the water, yes, they may paddle, but being able to stay afloat and actually, swim are two very different things. Here we delve into the various aspects of canine swimming with helpful tips, tricks, guidance, and advice on how to teach your dog to swim.

Is Your Dog Physically Able to Swim?

Another thing that most people aren’t necessarily aware of is that just like all dogs aren’t able to swim instinctively, certain types and breeds can struggle a lot more than others. This includes;

  • Heavy, muscular dogs with large builds and big heads such as bulldog and Staffordshire bull terrier breeds.
  • Dogs with short muzzles such as pugs and boxers can find it difficult to keep their noses above water.
  • Due to their short limbs, breeds such as the dachshund or basset hound can struggle to swim effectively.

If your dog falls into one of the categories then always start with a safe, shallow pool, paddling pool or area with a slope to introduce them gradually. Even if your dog cannot ‘swim’ properly, it doesn’t rule out beneficial hydrotherapy-type exercises that can be tailored to their needs in shallow water.

Being Your Dog's Swim Teacher

Here are some helpful steps for teaching your dog to swim:

  • Ensure that the pool is safe and suitable for your dog, ideally with a slope or easy way for them to exit the pool. Even better use a special canine swimming pool such as the ones provided at DoggySwim which are expertly designed for dogs.
  • Rather than ‘throwing them in at the deep end’ start them in shallow water or even a paddling pool beforehand to allow them to build up their confidence and get used to the water.
  • The first few times they go in the pool, gently encourage them to enter the water but don’t force them. Walk-in a little yourself, offer them a treat, use praise or put a dog toy in the water, whatever helps them.
  • Once they are comfortable in the water and their paws are just touching the bottom of the pool, support them around the middle whilst they get used to the sensation.
  • They should naturally begin paddling their front legs to help keep their head above the water, but if they need encouragement with their hind legs then lift their back end slightly and they should move these also.
  • Once they are more confident allow them to move around and explore the water, gradually removing your supporting hands until they are able to swim on their own.
  • Remember that swimming can be extremely tiring so try to take it easy and not overexert your dog.
  • When you are finished in the swimming pool, show your dog where and how to exit the pool and give them plenty of praise. Afterward, wash or shower them and dry their fur and ears thoroughly to remove chemicals and help prevent ear infections.