Swimming Activity for Dogs

image via Wikipedia

Swimming is a most gratifying exercise. But not all dogs, are fond of swimming by nature, but some can be instructed.

Get the pet into shallow water by floating a ball. When you, too, are in the water, he would wade in to get it, and might swim when he reaches out beyond his depth. The dog’s swimming stroke is just like his walking movement—that’s why it’s also known as a dog paddle. He doesn’t have to learn either stroke or timing, but he should have to hold his body fairly upright and his chin above the waterline. If your dog does not begin swimming, do not pressure him; let him fool around the shallow water to get the feel of it. You will be able to guide him beyond his depth later, though with your hand under his chest.

Next, take him out into deeper water, readily turning him toward shore before he starts out to swim. He will go on swimming using paddling strokes till he reaches the bank and clambers up.

When you get your dog ready to swim, make sure there is a graded exit, meaning, a slight rise or bank up which he can scramble. A dog can’t pull himself up out of a straight-sided pool. Unwatched and unaided, he can readily drown in this manner. Even when he tries and fails by his own efforts, he may be so scared or exhausted that he will reject entering the water again. When a dog learns to enjoy the water, he will join in by himself, especially when chasing a stick or ball.

When your dog has finished swimming, dry him well using towels or an electric hair dryer. Be particular about his ears; dry them fully. If he was swimming in salt water, rinse off his coat with fresh water. Salt water (together with sand) dries out the hair, often chafes the skin, and causes itching and scratching.  

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