04-19-2009, 07:53 PM
i have a 3 year olkd labradoodle with energy to spare.likes water but never has swimed. how do i get him started.live in napa valley
04-20-2009, 12:20 AM
I'm no expert and I'm sure others on this board can give you good tips also, however I can tell you what worked for our dogs. Find out what really motivates your dog and gets him excited. Could be retrieving sticks, or a favorite toy that floats what ever. In our case our Aussie couldn't stand watching us having fun in a pool without her being a part of it. So we took it very slowly at first basically carrying her around in the pool getting her confidence up which is important in swimming. If you rush it, or even worse they accidentally fall in and panic it's a lot harder and the negative experience can really stick with them. So you have to keep it a very positive and fun experience for them and you will likely have better and faster results. After ours figured out she could swim herself, and try to catch us in the pool there was no going back. Then we taught her to jump into the water after us, and now we can't keep her out of anyones pool!
It can work the same way in a pond or lake. Sometimes that's even easier. Let them run around the shore and throw sticks or toys out just a little for them to get. But again keep it fun and don't try for too much too soon. If there is another dog around thats a swimmer, they can learn from them also. Once they gain their confidence in the water you can move on from there. If their apprehensive or seem to be struggling in the water, sometimes a life vest can help keep them floating better until they learn to relax and gain better swimming skills. The best thing to do is take your cue from them, and make it a fun experience. Good luck with your labradoodle, let us know how it turns out. I'm sure others here may have more suggestions for you as well.
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