[5 Tips] On How To Teach A Dog To Like Water

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Owners that enjoy visiting beaches, swimming or boating are likely to have dogs that love the water too.

But what if your dog seems afraid of the water?

Or you just want to start your puppy off on the right paddling foot?

Well, there are certainly some tips and tricks to teaching your dog how to love the water. So, let’s get into it!

By Allison Salonko.

Allison is a Veterinary Technician in the state of Indiana. She graduated from International Business College and Vet Tech Institute of Indianapolis with a degree in Animal Science and Technology in 2011.

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First Things First: Dogs And Water Safety

Before we dive right into the 5 tips for getting your dog comfortable with water, we need to talk about safety first!

Always supervise your dog in the water 

Even a dog that is an experienced swimmer needs to be supervised in the water. It only takes a few seconds for a dog to tire out or for some kind of accident to happen.

Keep the water shallow 

When your dog is not used to swimming, always make sure the water is shallow enough for them to stand up.

Do not let them drink the swimming water 

This goes for pools, lakes, oceans or rivers as they can all harbor nasty bacteria and even chemicals that can cause a host of health issues.

Salty ocean water is especially bad!

Don’t force it! 

If your dog doesn’t want to swim, don’t make them.

Now that we’ve tackled some basic water safety, let’s learn how we can make the water a fun and enjoyable experience.

#1 Use A Kiddie Pool

A shallow kiddie pool is a great first tool for teaching a dog how to like the water.

It’s easy to show them how to step into and out of it.

You can use toys to encourage them to investigate the water by tossing them in.

If your dog still seems reluctant to get closer, then getting in yourself may help.

Always remember to praise them for their bravery if they start trying to experiment with the kiddie pool and the water.

#2 Make Bathtime Fun

If you tried introducing your dog to the water and they were completely afraid or disinterested, then getting them more used to water by giving them baths can help.

Make the experience fun and memorable by using soothing warm water and gentle soaps while also offering plenty of praise and kind verbal cues.

#3 Get In The Water Yourself

If your unsure dog sees you getting into the water, they may find themselves curious about it as well.

When they watch you enjoying yourself and making the experience seem fun and interesting, it is more likely that your pup will want to jump in.

#4 Consider Using A Life Jacket

If your dog seems curious about the water but isn’t yet a strong swimmer then you can look into fitting them with a doggy life jacket.

These come with convenient handles for hoisting your dog out of the water if necessary.

These life jackets can give your dog a stronger sense of confidence, making them likely to attempt more swimming fun!

#5 Bring A Water-Loving Friend

Have a friend whose dog loves being in the water?

Well, having them around to show your pup the ropes is a great resource for making your dog comfortable.

Once they see their four-legged buddy paddling around the water, they will be jumping in to join in the fun soon enough!

Conclusion: How To Get Your Dog To Like The Water

The thing is, not all dogs are going to be avid swimmers or even enjoy the water at all.

This is most likely just their personality and not an indication that they had some traumatic swimming event in their lives.

If your dog doesn’t want to get into the water, then maybe they’d just prefer to stay dry.

Photo by Izabelly.