Swimming with a dog from A to Z– Canis Lab

Swimming With Your Dog From A to Z | How to teach your dog to swim

Swimming With Your Dog From A to Z | How to teach your dog to swim

Who doesn't swim with their dog in the summer, as if they weren't there! In the summer, due to the high temperatures, most canine canicross athletes take a summer break from pulling. Instead, they prefer to swim with their mistresses.

Read 10 steps to teach your dog to swim so you can do a triathlon together with your dog at the end of the summer!

Why teach a dog to swim? Dog physiotherapist Jana: Swimming is a great form of training!

Owners of canine athletes regularly come to Aqua-Dog to work on their fitness through aquatherapy (walking in the tub). Swimming and wading in nature will nicely replace classic aquatherapy. Swimming is not only fun, but effective training for the upcoming season.

How to teach a dog to swim: Give him the ideal conditions and time!

Many inexperienced dog walkers think that every dog ​​can swim automatically. But that is not true. There are dogs who are natural swimmers by nature , who master the correct swimming style immediately after their first experience with water.

However, you will also find dogs that are not very good at swimming . Either they are afraid of water or their swimming style resembles the sinking Titanic (and there are also breeds whose very body constitution makes it practically impossible to swim well). It will simply take some time for such dogs to gain courage, get into the water and start swimming.

It is up to you to make their first experience with water and swimming as pleasant as possible. Forget about throwing the dog in the water and other similar nonsense that you sometimes see on social networks!

10 steps to teach your dog to swim

  1. Swimming is as demanding a physical activity for a dog as any other. Therefore, go swimming with it at least 2 hours after a meal , ideally on an empty stomach . Take dog training treats with you as a reward, but do not overdo it with their dosage. Try Turbogule functional treats for dogs , they are the canine version of energy bars for athletes.
  2. Find a body of water with a gradual entry into the water . A pond, sandpit or lake is ideal - choose a calmer body of water , as swimming in waves is much more challenging for a dog and some dogs can be nervous from the waves themselves.
  3. Go to the water rather early in the morning or late in the evening - both because of the lower temperature (yes, there is also a risk of overheating in the water ) and also because of the lower probability that you will meet all your neighbors by the water. The less surrounding stimuli (other dogs, people, screaming children, etc.), the better .
  4. Don't forget to bring along a favorite toy that floats in the water - it will serve as motivation for the dog to be brave and go into the water. Once your dog becomes bolder, try to limit the use of the toy. If you plan to use swimming as a form of fitness training, you should swim together with the dog (ie without throwing the toy into the water).
  5. Swimwear with you ! When you are alone in the water, the dog will be more confident - he will see that the water does not harm you either.
  6. You can also arrange with a friend who already has an experienced dog swimmer . As in canicross, the dog learns swimming from the more experienced . Just be careful that the dogs don't drown each other and compete for the toy.
  7. Beware of drinking too much and grabbing water while swimming - if your dog drinks a lot of water, it can be life-threatening with water intoxication.
  8. Always keep in mind that swimming is just as physically demanding training for a dog as canicross . If your dog is just starting to swim, have him swim for shorter periods of time. For starters, just 5 minutes of swimming is enough . Don't worry, you have all summer to build him into a good swimmer.
  9. If you are really serious about swimming with your dog and you are not one of the junior swimming champions of the Czech Republic, invest in a paddleboard or kayak . Or buy snorkel fins and a swimming board - you can swim longer and feel more confident in the water.
  10. Do you plan to swim with your dog regularly 2 or more times a week? Also focus on nutrition, specifically on extra fat and vitamins . You can easily add fats using oils for dogs . Vitamin for dogs Vit&Min contains a balanced combination of vitamins and minerals. In the event of increased performance, we also give our dogs protein for dogs Recovery or Protein Mush in the evening for better regeneration .

TIP: We detailed the consistent nutrition of a dog athlete in the article Nutrition of a dog athlete, or a dog under stress needs more than a dog on the couch .

What the correct swimming style should look like for a dog or a vest for a dog for swimming is really useful!

If a dog has good swimming technique, it should:

  • have the snout just above the water surface
  • kick (swim) with all 4 paws
  • the back should follow the surface of the water and the tail should serve as a rudder

  • Incorrect swimming technique in a dog usually looks like his back legs drop below the surface and he only kicks with his front legs. The dog must really swim with its back parallel to the surface, otherwise it will unnecessarily overload its front legs, neck and back . If you see that your dog is not able to swim technically well, try taking a dog life jacket to help.

    The swimming vest for dogs divides the world of dog owners into its supporters and die-hard opponents. We are among the supporters. You will hear nothing but praise from us for the life jacket for dogs. You can use a life jacket for dogs:

    • to improve the dog's swimming style
    • for greater security to a dog that is not yet very fond of swimming
    • for greater safety of the dog in the water - an ideal tool for a holiday by the sea
    • during active swimming training, it also serves as a training aid - the vest increases resistance and enables swimming training to be extended

    TIP: Some vests have loops, so you can harness your dog to the paddleboard and let it actively pull the paddleboard (again, pay attention to your dog's fitness).

    Keep in mind that even a swimming vest should really fit the dog . Therefore, always try to choose it in a store that has several different types of life vests from several brands.

    Canine physiotherapist Jana advises: Swimming is great, but!

    Swimming is a great way to get your canine companion in shape . Pay attention to the correct swimming technique, which is mentioned above .

    If your dog has a movement problem, always consult your veterinarian and dog physiotherapist about swimming (and other sports activities) . Because the water floats nicely, but when swimming, dogs use the full range of joints, which is not suitable for dogs fresh from surgery.

    Be careful of overheating, the dog also performs physical activity in the water = the body heats up and produces heat, but at the same time the surrounding water does not cool it down. Always monitor your partner and appropriately dose any activity according to their health, condition and weather .

    During autumn training, you will see an improvement in your condition and strength, at the same time you do not have to run so many kilometers in a sled. Include swimming and wading in the water at least 2 times a week as part of the training and don't forget to always measure the time spent so you know exactly how your dog is doing during the weeks.

    TIP: Include walking in different water levels as well as swimming. You can strengthen the dog's body very easily, comprehensively and in a fun way.

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