Teaching your dog how to swim may seem like a given, but keep in mind that not all breeds are natural-born swimmers. In fact, there are some—like the Bulldog--that are advised to avoid deep water because there’s a risk of them sinking and drowning.
If you’re looking to expose your dog to a pool or the beach, expert dog trainer Breanne Long suggests starting your pup young. "Get your puppy comfortable with water as soon as you bring him home by filling your bathtub or a baby pool with an inch or two of water," she says. Make sure to reward your dog for getting in and he'll soon be eager to jump in a pool any chance he gets. If you're experimenting at the beach or lake, first let him get acquainted with the water in the shallow end. Stay close by and praise him for having entered the water.
Once your dog seems comfortable enough with the water, guide her in with your arms under her belly until she starts to paddle on her own. Not all dogs are going to adapt to water right away and that’s normal in some circumstances. If she doesn’t seem comfortable swimming on her own, invest in a floatation device that will provide her with some assistance and security. Remember to NEVER leave your dog unattended and iIf you’re uncertain whether or not your dog should be swimming, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian first.
Have a question for Dr. Klein? Email him at CVO@akc.org