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Koda's mommy
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!

My puppy is now 3 months old and I feel like it's time for her to start learning to swim (as soon as it warms up of course). I'm going to purchase a life jacket and take her to a very still body of water, but I was wondering if anyone had any tips/experience teaching puppies to swim? Does it help for her to be around other dogs who are comfortable swimming or would it be best for her to be in a calm and quiet environment the first time? Thanks in advance!
 

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Pearl, Lila, Betty's mom
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Yes, it really helps if there are other dogs around, so they can see what to do and be drawn to it.

I would skip the lifejacket for a while, it is going to be a bother and distract her. Let her wade in to her comfort, don't push her and don't even try to coax her in. After you have let her test it out on her own a few times then go in yourself and coax her in.
 

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Koda's mommy
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Discussion Starter #3
thanks

Yes, it really helps if there are other dogs around, so they can see what to do and be drawn to it.

I would skip the lifejacket for a while, it is going to be a bother and distract her. Let her wade in to her comfort, don't push her and don't even try to coax her in. After you have let her test it out on her own a few times then go in yourself and coax her in.
Great advice, thanks! Love that photo of your pup by the way!
 

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Me personally, I want to get my dog comfortable in water BEFORE moving on to swimming. It took Bear a bit to get comfortable with water, but once he was, it helps to have other dogs around to show him the ropes.
 

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Koda's mommy
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Discussion Starter #5
Me personally, I want to get my dog comfortable in water BEFORE moving on to swimming. It took Bear a bit to get comfortable with water, but once he was, it helps to have other dogs around to show him the ropes.
Bear looks like he LOVES the water now, fantastic! So would you recommend letting her explore a pool on her own first before moving on to a bigger body of water?
 

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Bear looks like he LOVES the water now, fantastic! So would you recommend letting her explore a pool on her own first before moving on to a bigger body of water?
We took him down to the dog beach here in San Diego. It's bordered by the ocean on one side, and the San Diego River on the other side. The river is much calmer, so I went in the water and called him to me. His desire to be with me was more than his fear of the water. He came out, than had a moment of panic and ran from the water. So we kept practicing. I recommend treats, or something to make it a positive experience. At the time of his first beach adventure, he was 7 or 8 months old, though. I think a young pup would take to it much easier and faster. We went back a few weeks later and while he wouldn't get in the deep water, he was much more comfortable being in the water.

Some health problems prevented us from taking him back until this month. He is now 17 months old, and we had a friend's dog show him the ropes. Now I cannot get him OUT of the water. lol!!
 

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Koda's mommy
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Discussion Starter #8
I put both my boys in the pool and coaxed them to swim to steps the day we brought them home at 9 weeks. They got it that day. Have never used a jacket and never will.
WOW you've got great little swimmers! I'm definitely rethinking the lifejacket now.. maybe just some super encouragement and yummy treats will help get her comfortable with the water.
 

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I believe Outwest (member here) puts a life jacket on her Bella. However Bella is a grown adult, and can be fearful/anxious. I believe the life jacket is to help make her more comfortable in the water.

I'm sure your pup will do fine. I hope you take pictures and/or video. Puppies in water just make me heart explode in happiness.
 

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Koda's mommy
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Discussion Starter #10
We took him down to the dog beach here in San Diego. It's bordered by the ocean on one side, and the San Diego River on the other side. The river is much calmer, so I went in the water and called him to me. His desire to be with me was more than his fear of the water. He came out, than had a moment of panic and ran from the water. So we kept practicing. I recommend treats, or something to make it a positive experience. At the time of his first beach adventure, he was 7 or 8 months old, though. I think a young pup would take to it much easier and faster. We went back a few weeks later and while he wouldn't get in the deep water, he was much more comfortable being in the water.

Some health problems prevented us from taking him back until this month. He is now 17 months old, and we had a friend's dog show him the ropes. Now I cannot get him OUT of the water. lol!!
Oh I hope that he's feeling all better! It breaks my heart when my fur babies are ill. What a trooper Bear is! I think I'm going to take Koda up to some north Georgia rivers to introduce her to water. Hopefully she'll take to it well because we're going on a family beach trip in August and I'd love for her to be able to swim without any fear by then :) Thanks again!
 

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Koda's mommy
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Discussion Starter #12
I believe Outwest (member here) puts a life jacket on her Bella. However Bella is a grown adult, and can be fearful/anxious. I believe the life jacket is to help make her more comfortable in the water.

I'm sure your pup will do fine. I hope you take pictures and/or video. Puppies in water just make me heart explode in happiness.
My phone and camera are filled with photos and videos of her doing everything (first bath, first snow, first hike, etc.) I'll be sure to share some photos and videos of her first swim as well!! :)
 

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KCGold
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All of my Golden's are bird hunters and run in hunt tests for fun. We also have all 3 of our dogs in the house as pets, so bath after swimming is always in order.

Golden's are "Water Dogs" they love the water. They do not have to be taught to swim, they instinctively are great swimmers. But as others said, do not force them and wait until you have warm water, no waves please (can hurt young dogs, and the noise of the waves can scare them when young) .

Just taking them for walks down to the water where you wade in and try and get them to follow. At first they will act funny, play and fuss around, but usually after a few minutes they will venture into deeper water and start swimming. If not try again the next day, very soon they will swim like a fish, then you can throw a toy and the fun begins!
 

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Koda's mommy
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Discussion Starter #14
All of my Golden's are bird hunters and run in hunt tests for fun. We also have all 3 of our dogs in the house as pets, so bath after swimming is always in order.

Golden's are "Water Dogs" they love the water. They do not have to be taught to swim, they instinctively are great swimmers. But as others said, do not force them and wait until you have warm water, no waves please (can hurt young dogs, and the noise of the waves can scare them when young) .

Just taking them for walks down to the water where you wade in and try and get them to follow. At first they will act funny, play and fuss around, but usually after a few minutes they will venture into deeper water and start swimming. If not try again the next day, very soon they will swim like a fish, then you can throw a toy and the fun begins!
You must have such a great time with your swimmers! Sounds like a blast for them as well! Thanks so much for the advice :)
 

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Cooper & Brady
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286 Posts
Cooper's first exposure to water was a little pool we bought at the pet store. Not more than a foot deep. But I took him down for walks by the water pretty often and one day I took him by the water edge and he just stepped foot into into..he was very cautious, but by the next week, I was throwing toys into the shallow part and he would retrieve them. The first couple times he couldn't feel something under his feet, he was a bit unsure…he he quickly figured out how to swim. Expose them to the water slowly and they will go in when they are ready.
 

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Koda's mommy
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Discussion Starter #16
Cooper's first exposure to water was a little pool we bought at the pet store. Not more than a foot deep. But I took him down for walks by the water pretty often and one day I took him by the water edge and he just stepped foot into into..he was very cautious, but by the next week, I was throwing toys into the shallow part and he would retrieve them. The first couple times he couldn't feel something under his feet, he was a bit unsure…he he quickly figured out how to swim. Expose them to the water slowly and they will go in when they are ready.
A kiddie pool is a great idea for introducing them to the water! Thanks for the advice!!
 

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We have a small lake in our development that has some streams and waterfalls along one side. When Max was around 3 months old, we let him explore the streams while on a long lead. Eventually, he worked his way into the lake and began to swim without the lead. He became a strong swimmer very quickly.

We tried a kiddie pool in the backyard later on, and he will not set foot in it. He sees it as a big water dish. :)
 

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Yes, it really helps if there are other dogs around, so they can see what to do and be drawn to it.

I would skip the lifejacket for a while, it is going to be a bother and distract her. Let her wade in to her comfort, don't push her and don't even try to coax her in. After you have let her test it out on her own a few times then go in yourself and coax her in.
This us what we did with Fuzzy. The first time he was around water, he wades a bit and jumped around excitedly as he watched Steve hurtle himself in over and over while fetching a stick. He didn't get it that day, but a couple weeks later (the next time he was at a lake) he just ran right in and swam! Guess he needed time to think it over?


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This is my dork of a dog, when we started taking her swimming at the local lake. She did not realize that she needed to use her back legs to swim and would instead stand on them

After going a couple of times and my husband and I nail-biting, while anxiously waiting to jump in after her, she played with a black lab who was swimming. She caught on pretty quickly after that. One thing that I noticed helped:If we threw a stick in the water and she would retrieve it, she swam a lot better with something in her mouth. It all fell into place when she was retrieving something.

Good luck. I thought I was going to have to get her a life vest or get in the water with her to teach her to swim, but another dog did the job in 20 minutes.
 
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