How to teach your Protection Dog how to swim

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Personal protection dogs enjoy summer because there is an abundance of water games, parks, and lakes! If you have dog friendly beaches or lakes nearby, your dog would undoubtedly love to be in the water, even if they don’t know how to swim yet. Some dogs even love to dive into the backyard pool on an especially hot day! Be sure that you set your pup up for success with some quick lessons.

Be Safe!

Some breeds of personal protection dogs cannot swim without some instruction first. Pitbulls specifically will sink if they are not briefed with a quick lesson or two before your pool party! Lots of spaniels and retrievers don’t need much encouragement to get in the water. After a few quick tips your of any breed pup will be a natural swimmer and will be pulling you out to the lake.

Any dog that has extremely short legs, is lightweight, or will be out on the boat above very deep water should be wearing its own jacket or life vest. Your dog would probably appreciate trying the life jacket on at home prior to putting it on at the lake or on the boat. It might even be a little scary to them at first, so it’s wise to warm them up slowly.

It is important that a dog is never unattended in the water. Even a few seconds can be harmful to your forever friend. Also, please do not throw your dog into the water! Their very first swim will likely be very scary as it is, and this could terrify them to the point where they never will want to enter the water again.

Plan the Training

Dogs don’t appreciate a lot of distraction once they are in the water – in fact, it can cause them to panic and forget what they were doing. It’s a good idea to start in an area that is as quiet as possible. Ensure your dog is leashed at all times while beginning this new adventure, your pup might get into a lot of trouble in a new area or might just get too far away from you in the water. Only remove the leash after your dog has shown you that he/she can swim without help. Also make sure they are returning to you every time when you call them back before removing the leash.

Personal protection dogs for sale especially love water. If your dog is wary of going close to big bodies of water, small pools can be a training step. Most dogs would not pass up a drink from a kiddie pool on a hot summer’s day, and they might realize they want a little more of that fresh, cold water.

Begin Slowly

Your protection dog will feel much more comfortable if they can walk next to you while they are in the water. First, get your pup used to getting their feet wet. Take a few steps, watching how your dog reacts to the sensations. If everything goes well, fasten the life vest around your dog and walk further into the water.

Some dogs get reluctant their first couple times around water. It is a huge body of water and it makes them feel extra small. Try bringing a couple toys or treats to see if those will help. Make sure to keep your voice high and praise your pup when they touch the water. Be sure you are praising the hard work your pup is doing. It’s okay to enter the water gradually, you know the water is far enough when your pup begins to paddle to float. Feel free to use your arm to support your pup under their belly if they look like they could benefit from a little more help. The extra support will give your dog encouragement and incentive to start paddling both her back and front legs.

Encourage your pup to use their back legs too, because they will become worn out quickly if they only rely on their front legs to move around in the water. Make sure you keep supporting your dog until it’s clear they’re happy and comfortable in the water. If they’re using all four legs to swim, this is a very good sign that your dog is happy and enjoying the experience. If your pup begins to struggle or panic, move backward and try the shallow water again. Dogs also need to gain composure and calm down when they are in a state of panic.

During Swim

After your pup is warmed up to the change, they will likely be so immersed in the water that they can only focus on splashing or chasing their toy. For retrievers, they will naturally love to chase a toy or ball into the water – this can be helpful for teaching protection dogs to swim, simply tossing their ball a little further will help them to swim without your dog even realizing it. Always pay attention to how your dog reacts to the environment. Don’t forget to check the leash laws near you! During swim especially is a time to reward and praise your dog for their hard work. Personal protection dogs for sale cannot get enough of the water.

After Swim

It’s important to teach your protection dog the proper way to exit the boat or pool. Lakes are much easier, but once a dog knows the right way to exit the water they will be better equipped for next time. It would be a good idea to rinse your pup with fresh water to remove algae, dirt, or chemicals that might be holding on tight to their hair. Lastly, be sure to reward your dog for their hard work. Physical and verbal praise will keep her tail waggin’ for days and she’ll have fond memories of her time in the water. A treat might help with positive association.

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