How To Teach Your Dog To Swim


HOW TO TEACH YOUR DOG TO SWIM


After having my latest 'adventure' at the lake with Griffin the Malamute, I decided that I needed to step back and figure out what we could improve upon in terms of how to teach my dog to swim.

On doing some research on the subject, I think we did some good things, but then we could have done some better things. Stay tuned and read more about how to teach your dog to swim!


TIPS ON HOW TO TEACH YOUR DOG TO SWIM


Contrary to popular opinion, all dogs are not natural born swimmers! Molly, the puggle shown in the photos with Griffin is a 'natural' but even she learned the ropes so to speak carefully and repeatedly to become the Olympic swimmer that she now is!

Griffin was totally speechless when he saw her in action. Unfortunately, I think that Griffin got off to a rather shaky start and we will have to revisit swimming 101 with the following knowledge now under our belts!


I really, really want to learn to swim! Why am I such a chicken? (pics by audrey kirchner)
I really, really want to learn to swim! Why am I such a chicken? (pics by audrey kirchner)
Two friends going for a swim (the dogs)
Two friends going for a swim (the dogs)
I don't know about this!
I don't know about this!
Let's take it nice and slow, Griffin
Let's take it nice and slow, Griffin
Nobody said anything about fish! Or was that a snake?
Nobody said anything about fish! Or was that a snake?
Show off! Oh yeah - Ms. "I know a little swimming" - You could have mentioned that you were THIS good!
Show off! Oh yeah - Ms. "I know a little swimming" - You could have mentioned that you were THIS good!
I'm outta here!
I'm outta here!
I need to dry my hair! Where is my blow dryer?
I need to dry my hair! Where is my blow dryer?

How To Teach Your Dog To Swim


THE WAY TO TEACH YOUR DOG TO SWIM


  • Teaching your dog to swim is really no different whether you teach them in the ocean, a pool, a lake or a river - the concepts are pretty much the same.
  • It is wise (as my daughter reminded me) to use a life jacket at first - especially if the dog is showing fear of the water or the state of having its paws leave 'earth'. There are various and sundry brands available in all sizes! (see below)
  • Make sure your dog can touch bottom at first - this would definitely not be a good time to 'sink or swim' and throw your dog into the water! Many dogs (as you can see) panic when their feet start to leave ground (or rocks in this case).
  • Try to start out in a shallow area as Bob is demonstrating and walk the dog back and forth, back and forth so that they can get the 'feel' of the water and how it is moving around them, the different textures of the bottom, etc.
  • It may take a while before a dog is actually comfortable paddling and the walk-about may have to occur many times in the water first.
  • It is better for the dog to actually make the decision to walk out further to become buoyant rather than being pushed, shoved, or dragged to such a state. If you do that, they will remember and probably develop a fear of the water.
  • Use a treat as a lure if the dog does not seem to want to venture out further in the water. Some dogs also will swim out after a squeaking toy or ball - or a tennis ball. (Malamutes are not known for their retrieving side so this would not work - at least not in water)
  • Stay beside the new swimmer as you guide him or her into deeper water - and put a hand beneath the belly or at the base of the tail. It can give a bit of reassurance that you are there and nothing bad will happen. Of course in Griffin's case, once his legs pumped a couple of times, he was in an upright position or running for all he was worth so this may take some time!
  • Do not let your dog drink from pools, rivers, lakes, oceans, etc. If you do, this encourages them to drink any time that they are in water and that is not good!
  • If you have had your dog out for a long period of time in the water, watch for signs of fatigue such as wheezing, pale or purple gums, shivering, etc. It is best to do less multiple times than to do too much at one time.
  • Super important point to make - a dog should not do heavy exercise or exertion (such as swimming) 1-1/2 to 2 hours after eating or before eating because doing so puts your dog at high risk for developing bloat, which can be deadly. So good rule of thumb - no exercise several hours before or after swimming!


Hmmm - How did I get in there last time?  It seems bigger somehow!
Hmmm - How did I get in there last time? It seems bigger somehow!
I think you have my toy!
I think you have my toy!
I don't think those are fish! By the way, does this pool make my butt look big?
I don't think those are fish! By the way, does this pool make my butt look big?
Oh yeah - I can make waves too!
Oh yeah - I can make waves too!
Wooo-Wooo - Come back here, Molly! How do I get out? Where's the ladder?
Wooo-Wooo - Come back here, Molly! How do I get out? Where's the ladder?
Doggie Pool - Photo Credit below
Doggie Pool - Photo Credit below
Dog swim therapy - Public Domain Photo
Dog swim therapy - Public Domain Photo

Photo Credit:  WikiCommons GeographBot

More on How to Teach Your Dog to Swim

One very effective way to introduce your dog to water is to have a small pool available. If you have any sort of pool available for your dog though that is deeper than the dog is high, you should be with the dog AT ALL TIMES. Dogs can drown just like people and should always be supervised. If you have a very large pool, just like for children, make sure the pool has an alarm to designate someone going into the pool, canine or human!

Likewise, never let a dog swim out in a river, an ocean or a lake unless you are 100% positive that the dog can handle it without a life jacket. Life jackets for dogs do save lives and again, dogs can drown just as easily as people so would err on the side of caution and make sure the dog is protected.

We bought Griffin the largest size plastic kiddie pool this year (last year he had a smaller one but no longer fit in it this year!) and set it up as soon as the temperatures started to soar. He actually loves the water - in his little safe pool - and will happily go down there when he gets too hot and get in all by himself and splash about. He usually takes his toys in as well and throws them around and plays in the water.

Having a wading pool is a great way to teach a dog that water is 'safe' and also is great for keeping them cool on hot, hot days. As you can see from the pictures, he and Molly had a good time playing poolside in our backyard the day or so before we went to the lake although that was not enough of a prerequisite to make him feel at ease in a big lake!

If you have a pool that is large and your dog needs to climb up to get in, have a safe set of stairs that a DOG can climb for the dog to feel confident. Some ladders or ramps are made specifically for access by dogs and are great ways for the dog to build confidence on entering and exiting the pool. Again, never force, push, or pull a dog into swimming situations - it is far better that they decide on their own that it is a good thing!

Once a dog has mastered swimming basics and feels confident about the water, that is the time to remove life jackets or advance water sport - like diving off diving boards or fetching toys in the water, etc.

Some towns actually have pools that are designed only for dogs - amazing! However, it can be a little pricey sometimes - one Manhattan Tribeca dog pool charges $50-65 for a 1/2 hour of dog swim! It is called Water 4 Dogs and boasts an 8000 gallon pool kept at a balmy 92 degrees!

REASONS TO TEACH YOUR DOG TO SWIM

  • Pure fun!
  • Overweight - just like people, if a dog is overweight and needs to exercise and lose weight, this is a great way for a dog to drop pounds and inches!
  • Rehab after an injury. Much like people, if a dog has been injured and is having trouble with mobility, swimming is a great form of exercise that is almost totally painless.
  • Hip or joint replacement. We had a black lab who had grade IV hip dysplasia. She had a hip replacement and had a very prolonged recovery time - 4 months required for no weight bearing. When she was allowed to weight bear on the leg, I took her to the local lake and had her swim every day for exercise. Swimming after joint surgery is the recommended canine exercise (human as well).
  • Ligament repair. Same thing - we had a dog who tore a ligament in his knee running and swimming was the recommended form of exercise. Too bad he hated the water so it was not very effective!
  • Arthritis. This is a low impact form of exercise that helps dogs with arthritis regain mobility and decreases pain.
  • If a dog has had a stroke and has impaired motor function, swimming is extremely therapeutic and again, low impact - an excellent way to rehab - just like with humans!
  • General aerobic exercise - if you have a high energy pet with no way to exercise, swimming is a great way to get in exercise and keep the dog fit at the same time. It is great cardiovascular exercise just like for humans.


Experienced Swimmer
Experienced Swimmer
Really Experienced Swimmer
Really Experienced Swimmer

Photo Credit: Flickr AMagill
Photo Credit: Flickr PMarkham

Once Your Dog Has Learned to Swim

Once your dog has mastered the fine art of swimming, there are all kinds of possibilities!

I regularly see folks floating on the Deschutes River near where we live with their dogs (usually in life jackets) paddling alongside in the water while they river raft. I've also seen folks paddle surfing while their dogs swim along.

You can teach your dog to jump off diving boards or do water tricks.

You can also provide your dog with a snood which is a garment that fits over the dog's head and neck and prevents water from going into their ears - sometimes a problem as in the case of my black lab and her very long ears!

Remember to always rinse your dog with warm water after a swim - no need to shampoo but rinsing is recommended due to chlorine, salt water, lake water, etc. so as to not create bacterial growth or dryness of the skin.


Summing It Up

Teaching your dog to swim is a great thing to do as it is a wonderful form of exercise for a dog.

Teaching them to be unafraid is the most important part of swimming. I think I had forgotten this important fact when I tried to coax Griffin into the water a week ago. I assumed that because he played in his wading pool, he would be a natural at the lake. Alas, I forgot that it was a totally different terrain, a moving one at that, and that he needed a slow, steady introduction to this new experience rather than a quick dip.

Start out slow as I plan to do on the redo - work up to a level that you and your dog feel comfortable with.

As in any other endeavor with your dog, have a good time at it and enjoy the time that you have together with your good friend! Praise, praise, praise and within no time, he or she will be swimming like Mark Spitz!

Note: The second video I disagree with the fellow being out of the water but get his theory I guess on getting the dog to swim at first! I especially liked this video though because it addresses the dangers of dogs drowning in pools.

How to Teach Your Dog to Swim

Teaching Your Dog to Swim

For the Advanced Swimming Dog - Griffin's On It!

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Comments 54 comments

akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for stopping by, Faith--yes indeed--food is the way to a dog's heart usually~~


Faith A Mullen profile image

Faith A Mullen 3 years ago

Great hub. Too cute to see your little puggle teaching your Malamute how it's done! I especially loved your tip on using treats to lure dogs farther into the water rather than physically forcing them in. Voted up :)


LockinRead profile image

LockinRead 4 years ago

I had a lot of fun reading this hub!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for dropping in Jason - yeah - they are WAY smart....my Griffin is one of a kind but all my guys and girls keep us hopping!


JasonPLittleton profile image

JasonPLittleton 5 years ago

ha ha.. Such an awesome hub! I really had fun while reading this especially the pictures. Dogs are smart, aren't they?


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Good idea to take it slow - they usually get it if you let them have their head so to speak!


Horsegirl1996 6 years ago

Ya I think i'm just going to take it slow and let her go in if she wants to in the shallow water. She still loves floating with me in my tube! Its adorable! Everyone check out my hubs!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Laurel! I enjoyed that part most of all!! Yes - they are all there and I am behind the camera as always. I just love it though!

The pool is one of Griff's favorite things - though swimming is obviously NOT. If we do not put up the pool, he fishes in his water dish which is quite large although with his big feet in it, the water is gone in 2 seconds so we put up the pool!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

I absolutely love your 'subtitles,' akirchner! And Griffin! And Molly! And Bob! And...where are you??? Behind the camera, I presume? :)

What a fabulous hub, m'dear-never thought of getting Ranger a kiddy pool, but hey-I just might invest.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

That is hilarious! We actually have a dog swim this week in town but I'm thinking at 15 months, Griff doesn't need too much more trauma where water is concerned....I think going at it slowly and patiently is the best way - and if they don't like it - just not meant to be.....but he still loves his wading pool! Thanks so much for stopping by.


Horsegirl1996 6 years ago

My Dog absolutly HATES the water!She is a year and a half havanese and i put her in and she swims for dear life to the edge of the pool. She likes at the beach when the water is up to her paws but as soon as it gets deep she freaks out! Any tips on how to make her like swimming? Its funny i got her a life jacket and she now likes to sit in my pool on my lap while im sitting on a tube LOL. She is pretty funny but i wish she would like swimming!!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Tommy2000 - Thanks so much for stopping by - labs are 'naturals' as far as I know as I had 2 of them, although these 2 even though they were sisters were as different as night and day. One lab (Mariah) was a ball dog to the end and super strong swimmer. Never had to teach her a lick - but then Molly, her sister was just not that 'into it'.

We 'taught' Molly to swim though by throwing the ball out repeatedly for Mariah because she jumped in from day 1 and never quit - and Molly would swim out to meet Mariah every time and try to at least act like she was chasing after her! It was pretty funny actually.

Malamutes are not 'famous' for swimming but all that said, they do like the water so I'm hopeful Griffin will get the hang of it! If not, that's okay I guess. I mainly do it to cool them off as it gets pretty hot here in summer.

Great story and love the 'lurking under the water'. Some dogs are just natural born swimmers obviously!


Tommy2000 6 years ago

I really love the videos and the photos because it took a while for my black labrador puppy to ger brave enough to take the jump....literally :-). now she is just obsessed with the water and actually picks up huge rocks etc...seems to be able to hold her breath for quite a while...the vet said it's just her breed and her genes as her dad is a working dog. Always seem to draw a crowd whenever she is lurking under the water ha!.

Really wish there was a doggy pool near me.

Really love all the posts here!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

RS - Thanks so much for stopping by and hope it helps! I think taking it slow and easy will end up being a successful outing for all concerned. Griffin is getting better and better at it!


Richard Stephen 6 years ago

I've gotta show this hub to my wife. She has been trying to get our Sheltie in the water for a long time now. Thanks for the help.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Great information - I can see that being a necessity especially after watching my daughter's little Molly swimming! She is great on the swimming but would have a terrible time I think getting OUT of the pool with her little legs! I think my Griffin would probably launch himself into flight to get out to be honest and would worry about injuries rather than him getting OUT of the pool! Thanks for the great advice and adding to my hub.


Kenny Montgomery 6 years ago

If you have a small dog, they may have a hard time getting out of the swimming pool. It is a good idea to put in an animal escape ramp on your pool. This allows the dog to get out of the swimming pool with ease. Thanks for the hub!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Griffin the Malamute!


justin 6 years ago

cute dog in your pic wat is him or her name:)


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for commenting, Chardee42. You are right - labs are GREAT swimmers although we had 2 sisters from the same litter and one was an enthusiast while the other was a 'watcher' for the most part but it's all good! I figure dogs are like people - we all have things we are good at and other things we just have to learn over time....hoping that Griffin enjoys it more along the way!


chardee42 profile image

chardee42 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

Very thorough hub. We're very fortunate that our lab takes to the water with a passion. Its easy for us to take his gift at swimming for granted.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thank you for your kind comments as always Prasetio. I do try to have a positive attitude no matter how many foibles I run across - it beats the alternative. If you get a dog, hopefully this will help you teach him or her to swim. I, like you, even with my 'vast' knowledge of dogs (ha ha) did not realize that it would take an act of the almighty to get Griffin to swim! Who knew? Now I do! Happy weekend to you!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Good information from you. I never know about dog's training. Especially to teach dog to swim. I though dog can swim naturally like I say in the movie. But you gave us useful information. Thank you very much. I learn something new here. You always come us with happiness, my friend. Vote this us as usual. Have a good day!

Prasetio


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Ken - I try and hide the fact that I love animals so much because I truly do get in too deep sometimes with my heart but oh well. There are worse things in life, eh? When you are a passionate Lucille Ball, you have to go with what tools you got!

Thanks for all the kudos - Griffin has become such a treasure to me I fear I should perish without his humor in my life! I felt so badly that I 'assumed' he would take to the swimming because he is so laid back but it proves you can teach an old dog (me) new tricks!

Denaya just gives me 'the look' - and I know not to mess with her! She after all was an abused dog near death's door literally when they rescued her and these 7 years of turning her around have been my pleasure. It is nice to see a dog 'bloom' where they are planted but it has taken a lot of love and a lot of understanding. I figure teaching her to swim is superfluous and she needs to be the grand damme - if she shows me that she 'needs to learn swimming to fit in' though - I'm on it!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Loved this Hub and the way you took the reader through every phase from beginning to end on how to teach ones dog to swim. Some as you know take to water and swimming naturally, yet some are petrified of water at first.

Until of course the owner takes their loving and caring time with their pet to teach them the ropes. A lot of tender care and patience is no doubt needed, however look at the wonderful results you get.

Great Hub I rate this UP and thanks for being such a wonderful animal lover we need more people like you in our world. Peace and hugs


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

CJ - Thanks for stopping by - I miss Griffin being a few months old already - except for the chewing! Many years ago now we had 2 lab pups we rescued at 6 weeks old. One was a valiant swimmer and ball dog, the other a Ferdinand. She was the one with the hip replacement. Both from the same litter and it was really strange how one loved to swim and the other just not so much! I think though if I had known all these tips, I probably would have done better with it- and many of other dogs after the labs! Good luck with your lab and you should do a hub on her so that we can all get a peek!


climberjames profile image

climberjames 6 years ago from Steel City

Seriously awesome Hub, I have a 14 week old Lab puppy and I was stood knee seep in a lake at the weekend trying to get her to swim out, she likes to splash around but not swim yet, gonna give it another go tomorrow though :D


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Then my job is accomplished although this wasn't supposed to be funny....I somehow go that way though don't I? I started with the pics and I couldn't stop!

Yes, that is my Bob - didn't he look TOTALLY happy? I think he was worried since Griff had already had me body surfing over rocks and Pat was drenched when Griffin jumped into his arms (literally)...so Bob was going slow.

You definitely need to write the hub about Hamlet - and I will have Griffin read it - maybe then he won't feel so bad....he was REALLY pissed at Molly. He adores her and they had such a good time at home in the kiddie pool - then when he saw her out there doing honest-to-goodness laps around the lake, he was just in shock. His doggie mouth was hanging open and he was ticked! He didn't 'talk' to her all the way home....my daughter also had the brilliant idea to throw her in the back with Griffin (Naya thankfully was in her crate - but that meant literally NO room for Griff). He got a little ticked off at her because she was literally 'walking all over him'. We had to stop the car and make her get out and leave Griff to his misery! I know he was thinking 'wasn't that QUITE ENOUGH for one day folks?' If he could drink beer, I think he would have come home and grabbed one and hit the lounge chair (where he usually sleeps during the day!)


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I'm sorry, Buckie, but I'm laughing my butt off! Is that Bob in the pics? I need to write a hub about the ONLY time I decided to get Hamlet in our pool. It wasn't pretty!

I clicked your buttons!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

You know BJ, you just might be onto something - we could make a video of it and make millions! Of course you'd be no help at all while you laughed hysterically while I got pawed and clawed to death! It definitely bears thinking about though...and I mean BEARS - as in he is definitely one big teddy bear!

Donna - Now that is one good side to it. Isn't it just a shame that they have to age? I've been so lucky - the lab I had the hip replacement on, we also had her OTHER hip fixed that was out of the socket. She was supposed to be put down at 6 or so months because the dysplasia was so bad but she lived to be almost 14 to the day. I've had some great dogs - still do.

I just lost my beautiful Kodi (part mal) last May and thought I was gonna die of a broken heart. Denaya is our resident 'bitch queen' - she is regal - she does NOT play, she does not do much of anything unless she is in harness and even then, she is 'along for the ride.' She is a wonderful dog - and was abused until she nearly died and we got a treasure! She does have her 'issues' however!

Funny thing though is since Kodi died, she became very un-regal - a whimpering sissy whereas she had totally ruled the roost with Kodi. We decided to take the plunge (literally) and got Griffy - a 35-40 pound puppy at the time! They have been fast friends ever since. Although Denaya does not 'play' and turns him upside down and goes for his throat if he displays his man parts to her....she tolerates him like nobody's business. Griffin regularly climbs onto our bed where Denaya has 'dibs' and literally sprawls all over her. He takes his toys and squeaks them in her face - nothing! The occasional toy she DOES pick up she has not a clue what to do with and just walks around with it for about 10 minutes!

What would do without my babies I wonder? I'd be pretty lonesome I guess - Bob and I do have the best dang time with Griffin - he was like a breath of fresh air blowing into our lives. Naya is about 8-9 now so the fact that she tolerates this little mister is incredible! Can't wait til fall so I can crank up the scootering and with my HP money - I'm buying a SLED! Stay tuned for more adventures!! Keep in touch- love hearing about other folks' dogs and lives!


Donna Ferrier 6 years ago

I used to have two dogs, too...my 15-year-old Pekingese died in April of natural causes. But when Shogun and Ashley were still in their "toy-playing" days, with fifty million toys for them to choose from, Shogun always wanted the only toy that Ashley had in her mouth...LOL. Is it that way with your two? --- Peace, Donna


Donna Ferrier 6 years ago

BTW I have another reason to teach your dog to swim. "When your dog gets old, teach him to swim so that when he has an accident, you don't have to wash the pee off him." LOL A lighthearted way to kill two birds with one stone...lol --- Peace, Donna (the owner) and Shogun (the old pup)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Audrey - I swear I would crawl on my hands and knees from Florida to Portland just to watch, in person, your attempt at dressing Griffin in a Speedo! :)


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Oh - bless his heart - love the name! That is kinda sorta what Griffin did. He stepped off into nothing and then he DID paddle bless his heart - but then he totally freaked and towed me up to shore over rocks, etc.

We did try it again - my adult son who is 31 and has extreme low visual/legal blindness went out with him next as they get along quite well - and Griff lasted 2 paddles again but this time launched his huge self onto my son as if to say 'get me OUTTA here - NOW'. My son thankfully is 6 feet and change and was able to withstand the blow - I would have been in the soup again and soaked again from head to toe.

We shall try it again soon and see if it goes a bit better....but I'm not counting on him being in the doggie olympics as a swimmer - maybe as a scooter or sled dog as he's awesome, but thinking swimming might be an acquired skill!


Donna Ferrier 6 years ago

When my Akita was about 6 months old, one of his obedience trainers tried to teach him to swim...lol. It was comical. He put my dog in a pond in a park, and Shogun doggie paddled for about 15 seconds before he started to sink...lol. We got him out, but he definitely was not a swimming dog. He's 12 years old now, and these days, keeping him from peeing on himself is enough of a challenge. :) --- Peace, Donna


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

HH - Yes - this was supposed to be serious but you caught on - somehow I always have to throw my humor in there somewhere along the way because after all, what is the point if you can't just laugh about it all? God, the people and things in my life just give me all this great material so I must use it!!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you all for a good laugh. Just what I needed. Great hub as always, Audrey.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

You definitely should! Not often you see a parrot (cork) swimming! I can only imagine him bobbing around - I might even show it to Griffin and tell him 'see - if a parrot can do it - what the heck?'


ralwus 6 years ago

One day I might do a video of Jado swimming and share it.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

GLS - That is hilarious as well! Yes, they somehow do train us whether we want to be or not~ I wish you great success with trying it. I actually think some dogs are pretty comfortable with water and some are not. I have mixed feelings on it - when I look at Griffin's fur I think of course he needs to swim to cool off - but then their fur is so clean and cat-like that maybe not so much! Thanks so much for reading!


G L Strout profile image

G L Strout 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

Interesting! I may try this although, when our dog came to live with us 8 years ago, I bought a dog trianig manual and she never read it but she has done a good job of taining us anyway.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Yes it is - what made me think of a rhinoceros? He is a very lovable, sweet malamute and has the personality to die for; but they are extremely strong animals and pulling is what they are built for/trained to do. I guess that is what made me think of a rhino! When he decides he wants to DO something or NOT do something and puts a little muscle into it - holy cow! I am not a spring chicken and it is like having a tank on the end of your leash I guess - hence the rhino! Good luck with Xena (cute name) - I hope she gets better with time and I'm hoping my little Griffey gets better, too - that ride up to the shore from the rocks a week or so back was NOT my idea of body surfing! My toenail and my leg are still killing me - not to mention my poor old lady pride.


kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

Haha, well it makes me feel a little hopeful about Xena's future swimming skills since Griffin isn't a fan of the bath either. I have to laugh at your comment about having a rhinoceros at the end of the leash. That's hilarious. I can't imagine that either but it's an interesting thought.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Charlie - now THAT is hilarious! Bassets are hunters though right, or trackers - maybe you need to have something go through the water they need to track - like food! I love the floating parrot - for real it swims? I guess why not?

CM - my lab Mariah jumped in with both paws as well and even my recalcitrant Molly 'did it' when she needed to but she was a lab as well. I don't think that mals per se are water dogs though I have seen many loving the water. We shall see with Griffin how he progresses I guess - Denaya is much like a cat and turns up her royal nose at the thought of getting her fur wet!

MPG - isnt' that funny how she did and now she doesn't! I would try it again - maybe she developed a phobia like Griffin apparently did when he stepped off the rock and realized that he was 'without feet'. He just freaked! I'm hoping if we go at it again, it'll work out better!

Kaltopsyd - Griffin is not a huge fan of 'the bath' either! He howled the entire time a few months ago and it was not a pretty thing. Since he is a long-hair mal, it took roughly 4 hours to bathe, dry him with a blower, and then comb him out a bit. We were exhausted to say the least and my ears were throbbing! Thanks for the compliment - we think they are adorable of course - I only wish they were not quite so strong! Holy cow - it is like having a rhinoceros on the end of the leash! Although I can't really imagine what that would be like come to think of it! Thanks so much for stopping in.


kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

Great tips! My puppy only focuses on drinking the water while in the tub and really shows no interest in swimming. Once she's tired of drinking the water, her goal becomes getting out of the tub!

Your dogs are so cute. I hope you have lots more fun with them... and swimming. :)


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Oh I wish Sassie would swim but she is just a chicken! When she was a pup (about 6mths) she went into the river and just swam, not far, but she swam. For some reason she has never done it since. She will wade into the water, jump around a bit then get out. She never goes in deep and watches other dogs in wonder at how they do it.

Might have to give some of your tips a try, thanks Audrey.

Great photos too.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

My dog thinks he's a fish, but I never taught him -- he kinda jumped in with both paws! LOL


ralwus 6 years ago

My poor Bassets just hate water, and they have webbed toes. Not good swimmers at all. They have been baptized in my pool, along with my parrot. haha the parrot is an excellent swimmer and floats like a cork. Unbelievable.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

BJ - I have a better idea - how about I bring Griffin, lots of life jackets and a batch of watermelon margaritas and you sit at the pool sipping them and video taping me teaching my little Griffin how to swim? That sounds like a very good plan!

I would love a pool - unfortunately our property in the back is mostly on a slant - I guess we could have a downhill pool - and then there would be the pesky business of paying for it and letting Bob know I needed him to start selling his body to pay for it! Probably a messy idea.

I shall just have to settle for taking my wee little one to the lakes and such and trying to keep him safe from rattlesnakes and trying to get him to swim. I thought it was a given too - I've truly never seen such panic in the eyes of a dog - nor felt the yank out of the water as I body surfed behind him - as great in a dog. I guess he is built for ice and snow - not water!

I know malamutes swim though and some actually love it so we will keep at it! He is so blasted hot these days that you would think he would love it but guess he needs water wings or something to boost his confidence. I refuse to buy him one of those lounge floats - that is just going too darned far! Next he'll be wanting sunglasses and some SPF lotion! And if he wants a Speedo - I'm just saying NO!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Wanderlust - Thanks so much for stopping in! I think Spaniels are natural water dogs so that is probably why she is so good at it. Malamutes are not notorious for loving water though I know a lot of them do! The dirty water thing is why I think it is a good idea to rinse them but most of the time I don't think we even think of that.

PaulaK - Nice to see you! Maybe you do have a city dog! I think Griffin is on the fence as of yet!

Pamela - You are totally right - labs are born swimmers. Even my Molly was not the Olympic swimmer her sister was but she could not stand to be left on the shore. How to get her in the water though with the hip for rehab? I threw the ball out for her sister Mariah who was a wonderful swimmer and Molly would just follow her because she could not stand to be left behind! At least it worked! Thanks so much for commenting!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

This was an education, Audrey, I always thought dogs were natural swimmers - dog paddling, and such.

I do have a swimming pool where I live but dogs are not allowed in it. I may picket the place.

Then again, I don't own a dog at present, so my picketing power might not be persuasive. Maybe I'll just come over and picket at your place.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Very interesting hub. I never thought about teaching a dog to swim. The last dog I had was a lab and with their webbed feet they are a natural.


PaulaK profile image

PaulaK 6 years ago from Austin. Texas

What a wonderful and informative hub! We never taught our dog to swim - I guess we have a city dog. Ha! Thanks for all of the good information!


Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 6 years ago from New York City

Very joyfull hub! My English Cocker Spaniel was natural born swimmer, she loves to swim everywhere, sometimes in a quite dirty waters :)

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