Teaching your dog how to swim

Some dogs are very eager to jump into a lake and swim for hours on end, and others? They just aren’t water dogs. But it’s important to teach them the basics of swimming.

We don’t own a pool, or know anyone who owns a pool. But I wanted to take this water adventure course with my co-worker (the CEO of our company) and her two boxer dogs out in Brantford, Ontario so Alfie would eventually know how to swim if the opportunity ever occurs.  Or, just chill out on a surf board with five other dogs.how many dogs fiton a surfboard

I didn’t bring my camera because I was almost waist-deep in the water with Alfie the entire time. So the photos are from the other dog owners. 

Did you know that there’s an improper way for dogs to swim? And guess what? The doggy paddle is the incorrect way. Huh. I never knew that either.

Alfie most definitely put the brakes on when I was dragging him into the water to get his belly wet. He was so very hesitant and cried quietly at me the entire afternoon that we were there. He probably hated me for it. But I know it was good for him to learn the proper technique in swimming. No one wants our poor lil’ puppa’s to drown!alfie and white dogs

I had to take him into the water and let him chill out. It took a good few minutes (which seemed like hours) to get him to calm down and stop pulling on the leash towards shore. But soon enough he was standing still with the leash loose, not panicking. 6 dogs on a surf board

How did I teach Alfie how to swim properly? I had his leash in one hand and I had my hand under his belly with the other hand. 

Some dogs do not know how to swim. They forget to use their back legs and the swim upright, hence the doggy paddle. They use their front legs to propel them, when that uses way too much energy. Holding their underbelly teaches them the use of their back legs and keeps them flat on the water, and not upright.

There was use of a canoe that we borrowed from the trainers to get the dogs comfortable being on something wobbly on the water (like the surf boards weren’t enough). But Alfie seemed to really enjoy the canoe. He jumped in, and sat down immediately waiting for commands from me. It was pretty funny. alfie surfing

The first (and last) time I was in a canoe was in 1996 on a wilderness canoe trip I did as a teenager. There was a small currant in the lake we were in over the weekend, and I said I’d be fine but clearly I forgot how to paddle. Slowly but surly I was drifting towards the other side of the pond with just Alfie and myself in the canoe. Thankfully there was a long ass rope attached to the canoe and I got pulled back by the other attendees.alfie and the two dogs

Any guesses as to what Alfie’s nick name was when he was soaking wet? Chewbacca.

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