Pet Hydrotherapy Boise ID
Teaching your pooch to paddle
By Chris Smith for WebVet
People oftentimes assume all dogs were born to swim and don't need to learn or be taught how to act in the water. Soccer, the Jack Russell terrier who starred as the day-dreaming Wishbone in the PBS series of the same name, hated to swim. Producers of the popular children's show had a dilemma because several scenes called for the dog to swim. He wouldn't. The solution: they found a dog stunt double who did the swimming for him.
"Some dogs are afraid of water,'' said Alison White, a pet hydrotherapist who works in Oceanside, Calif. "Some dogs love water and instinctively jump into it. But don't assume that your dog is naturally able to swim.''
The best way to get dogs to swim is to train them when they are pups, according to White. "Many dogs learn by watching other dogs,'' she said. "I would put them in a life vest and start them on the stairs of a pool, massage them and comfort them, then walk out and let them swim a little and give them lots of praise...let them get used to the water and voila, they are swimming.'' If you take your dog to the beach to swim , make sure you follow some basic safety rules.
Do it yourself
The good news is that training a dog to swim is something that can be done by owners.
"I don't think that a dog needs to be taken to a trainer to be taught how to swim,'' said Melissa Bain, DVM, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis.
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