Do you know how to teach a dog pool safety skills? Believe it or not, your pup may be in dire need of training. We’ve covered some water safety tips for dogs before on the blog. Today, we’ll take a deeper dive into keeping your dog safe by the water.
How to Teach a Dog Pool Safety Skills
Dogs Are Not Natural Swimmers
First things first, let’s address the myth that dogs are natural swimmers. They definitely are not. Many dogs just adore splashing around in the water… but that doesn’t mean that they are naturally built to swim.
Usually, when a dog hops into a pool or lake, the animal will instinctively begin to kick their paws to tread the water. Appropriately, we call this “dog paddling.” This is a really helpful natural instinct and it can help your pup to stay afloat. That said, it’s not technically “swimming.” In a dangerous scenario, it’s easy for your pet to become overwhelmed, tire out and drown.
Sadly, this happens far too often. It is estimated that each year, roughly 5,000 family pets drown in their own pool.
Swimming Lessons for Dogs?
That’s where swimming lessons come in handy! You’ve heard of obedience training, but swimming lessons are an important learning experience for a well-trained dog.
Giving your dog an exit strategy is a big part of how to teach a dog pool safety. You can bring your dog to a professional trainer, but here are some tips and tricks to help your pup learn to properly enter and exit the pool:
Stair Lessons: Carry And Reward
First, try carrying your dog into the pool in your arms. Then set him or her down in the water and gently guide the animal toward the steps. The trick here is to reward the good behavior and repeat the process.
Hit the Ramp
For many families, a “dog ramp” is a lifesaver. If you don’t have built-in steps in your pool, consider adding a dog ramp. It could really help to keep your pet safer in the water. Pool dog ramps are helpful for any dog that may find themselves struggling in the water. In other words, it’s an extra layer of protection.
Active Supervision to the Rescue!
In the past, we’ve talked a lot about active supervision on this blog. It’s just as helpful for dogs as it is for children! When your dog is in the pool, be sure to keep a close eye on them and stay close at hand. You want to be able to spring into action as quickly as possible.
Another important safety tip is to try to limit the length of time you let your dog spend in the water. Even a great swimmer will get tired, and dogs tend to get pretty overexcited. Keep swim time as short as possible to cut down on unnecessary risk.
Hose ‘Em Down!
After a nice relaxing swim, be sure to rinse your pooch down with the garden hose. A quick post-pool “shower” will get any nasty pool chemicals out of your dog’s skin and fur.
Speaking of pool chemicals, don’t worry too much about letting your dog swim in a chlorine or salt pool. This tends to be fine in mild and normal doses. Of course, both people and pets should avoid swimming in water with a high level of chlorine.
Install a Pool Fence
At Life Saver Pool Fence, we’re pretty into fences. While we typically recommend installing a pool fence to keep children safer, it also helps dogs! In fact, Life Saver Pool Fence specifically designs fences to prevent pets from reaching the water. A 30-inch pool fence is perfect for anyone with small to medium-sized pets. If you’d like to learn more about protecting your dog with a pool fence, read this handy blog post.
There you have it! These are only the basics for how to teach your dog pool safety skills, plus a few tips on making your pool safer. Hopefully you can use these tips to keep your furry friends feeling wet and wild!