NOVADog Magazine Summer 2014

Page 10

EXPERT ADVICE

An s w e rs to y ou r be h a v i o r a n d tra i n i n g q u e s ti o n s

Water Fun for All Levels By Li s a Tu d or, C P D T- K A

Need a local

watering hole?

These pools welcome swimming dogs: n

orthern Virginia Animal Swim N Center: www.animalswimcenter.com/ about_nvasc.html

n

Gunny’s Rainbow: www.gunnys rainbow.com

n

Liberty Hill Pet Resort: www.lhpaws.com

n

Olde Towne Pet Resort: www.oldetownepetresort.com/ activities-services/swimming

8 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2014

One of my dogs loves to swim in any kind of water, while the other QUESTION one hesitantly swims a little at the lake, but hates all pools. What can I do to keep both dogs happy and safe in the water this summer? The good news is that all dogs ANSWER know a little about swimming—at least they can do the doggy-paddle. Now whether they are good at it and enjoy it is another question entirely. Enjoy water fun this summer with your dogs by remembering these two main points: be a great swimming coach and stay safe.

Be your dog’s best swimming coach Stay positive about your dogs’ water experiences. Novice water dogs may need a lot of cheering, coaxing, toys or other dogs to help them understand how to handle the new water adventure. It’s common that different water sources require a different coaching method from you. That’s because the two water sources are completely different to your dog. Not being able to see where a paw lands versus having a gradual entrance is a big deal for dogs. No, this does not mean you should toss your fur-friend into the pool. When

introducing dogs to pools, encourage them to step into the pool’s first landing and then encourage them to jump out. Also of importance: every dog should be very familiar with how to exit any water source, pool or beach. A good swimming coach knows the balance between getting your dog out to play in the water and knowing when your dog needs a break. Dogs new to water may need a break after 5-10 minutes, while the expert swimmer needs rest after 20-30 minutes.

Master of the dog paddle What does a good swimmer look like? Good swimmers move smoothly in the water, keep their snouts just above the water’s surface, and have all legs paddling under the surface of the water. If your dog causes a big splash with both front paws, it means that the body isn’t parallel to the water’s surface. This is where a canine lifejacket really helps. Use the jacket’s handle to bring the dog’s top-line


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