Pool Time

 

This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Kari Oakley

 


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How to Get Your Dog to Enjoy Spending Time in the Water

Some dogs can’t stay out of the water, while others may need a little coaxing at first. To make sure that your dog will be happy spending time in and around the water, you may need to put in some personalized attention. Here are some ideas to help you get your dog oriented to being in the water.

Get Started at Home

Dogs are somewhat territorial by nature, and they tend to feel most comfortable and secure at home in their own territory. If you want to be spending considerable time with your pet around the water, there’s no better place to start than your own backyard. If you already have a pool, you’ll want to ensure that your pet has a safe way of getting in and out. You may need to consider special stairs or a custom ramp. If you don’t already have a pool for your furry friend and family, you might consider getting an opinion about an affordable pool cost for your home. If you like spending time in the water and you want to share that time with your dog, making the water a feature of their regular territory may be a worthwhile home improvement that you’ll both enjoy.

Be Attentive and Reassuring

If your dog is reluctant about the water, ease their concern by showing them that you’ll be right there with them, and you’re not going to let anything happen to them. When you’re just getting started spending time in the water together, stay within arm’s reach so they’ll know that you’re there if they need you. Speak to them in calm and reassuring tones to let them know that everything is okay. Remember to give them praise so they’ll know that they’re doing great!

Be Patient, Be Calm, and Make it Fun

While you may be eager to have your dog doing doggy-laps, you need to be patient about letting them psych themselves up in their own time. Shouting or forcing may make matters worse and cause your dog to feel more anxious. Rather than using commands, start off with positive reinforcement and show your dog that being in the water is about having fun. You already know that your dog loves to play with you. If you make clear that playing is what’s on the itinerary, your dog will probably be all in. Try incorporating your dog’s favorite toy or ball, and they’ll definitely be more enthusiastic about diving into playtime.

Use Treats to Make New Activities Better

When you’re training your dog about a new behavior or you’re trying to calm your dog in a situation where they are overly excited our anxious, treats can be a very effective tool. Giving your dog treats while you get them oriented to the water will make them feel happy and excited, and it will distract them from any apprehension that they might be feeling about something unfamiliar to them. Rewarding your dog for getting in the water with you will be sure to keep them coming back for more.

Look Out for The Little Guy

Sometimes smaller dogs may be a little more reticent about getting in the water than larger breeds. Traditionally, small breeds weren’t bred to participate in hunting and retrieval in the water like some of their larger canine counterparts. Their bodies may simply not be built well for staying afloat and swimming. In some instances, your dog may need a life vest in order to safely spend time in the water. A life vest may also be helpful for an older dog that has become less active or is beginning to experience joint deterioration. Even if you think that your dog can swim okay, it may be a good idea for them to wear a life vest so that they can stay afloat easily, use less exertion, and stay focused on having fun.

Kari Oakley gained a love for fitness and animals as a young girl in Wisconsin. She spent each summer on some type of adventure, either a day at the lake with her family or just hiking with her friends. She took her love for fitness with her through college to get her degree in Kinesiology (Exercise Science). She has been working as a personal trainer/life coach in the Chicago area for the past 3 years. She has recently decided to share her passions with lower income schools in Chicago to help children develop a knowledge and love for fitness. When Kari started working with the kids in Chicago, she decided she wanted to share her knowledge and passion with as many people as possible. She has been freelance writing alongside ever since.