Introducing To Water

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by LeviTheOutlaw, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. LeviTheOutlaw Well-Known Member

    Hey everyone. I was wondering if anyone had some advice about 1. introducing Odie, the puppy, to swimming pools. and 2. Getting Levi over his fear of swimming pools. My good friend has a pool and I will probably be spending a good amount of time there this summer. She has told me many times that the dogs are welcome to swim in the pool, so I'd like to get them interested in it.

    Just so you have a little history about Levi vs. water:
    His first introduction to a pool was when he was about 4 months old. I was taking him by the pool at my old apartment complex to visit with a couple neighbors and he got away from me. He ran right to the pool and dove in. He got pretty freaked out and I got him out of the pool right away, but I think the damage was done. After that he didn't go near it.
    Then, maybe about 4 months later, I was at a friends house and they had a pool there. Levi was at ease near the pool and hanging out, but he got under someone's feet and accidently got knocked into the pool. Again, I fished him out, but he wouldn't go near the pool again. He hasn't been near a pool since and he is 2 years old now. Also, he hates getting a bath but he loves chasing the water coming out of the hose. He also loves pouncing on the waves when we go to the beach in galveston. He won't go deep into the water but he will go in.

    The puppy hasn't been exposed to any pools or the beach yet. With him, I want to make sure I do it the right way so he doesn't get any fear of pools.
    Dice Smith and MaryK like this.

  2. Maura Well-Known Member

    There is chlorine and other chemicals in the pool. After swimming you need to use fresh water to thoroughly rinse the dog off. Personally, I would be happy not to have my dog in a pool. If it was my pool I'd be happy not to have dog fur in the filter.

    If you decide to let the dogs in the pool, first train them to climb a ladder. If the water is too low, they won't be able to get back out again. This pool may always have enough water in, but they will jump into any pool if they learn to jump in this one.
    MaryK likes this.
  3. kcmetric Well-Known Member

    Why does Levi need to go in a pool? If he doesn't want to why force it (n). If there's enjoyment hanging away from it I'd say let him hang away from it.

    To introduce Odie I'd take him either to a dog beach (where you know there will only be well-behaved dogs so as not to have accidents) or just take him out to the water with a friend's dog that likes to swim. The best way for a dog to learn enjoyment of water is by following another dog in that loves it and makes it look fun.

    If Odie has toy drive go ahead and play fetch in the water. Slowly increase the distance. Start super shallow and close and work into it. Put on your bathing suit and jump in. Splash around, enjoy yourself. Play with his favorite toy on your own, bring a friend to play with you. Bring the friend's dog to join in.

    He'll get it =)
    MaryK likes this.
  4. Evie Experienced Member

    Has Odie experienced other large bodies of water? I think an important thing to keep in mind when introducing your dogs to deep water is that they're usually quite uncomfortable with not being able to touch the bottom to begin with so make sure your puppy always has an area where they can touch the bottom, which is not always ease to do in a swimming pool. Perhaps start off by letting Odie play on his own terms near a lake or river or beach?

    Evie learnt to LOVE water because we first took her to the beach we took her best friend (who is also very much a water lover) with her; my brothers Husky (and my parents two small dogs). We have NEVER EVER forced her into water (well ok, except for bath purposes) but we have never forced her into the ocean, horse water troughs, or lakes/dams, she has always gone into them by her own free will, although often it was with us trying to persuade her, but as I said, never forced and I believe it's for this reason that she's not afraid of it even when she gets pulled under by waves lololol.

    Anyway, back to the original story, Evie's first time experiencing water was at the beach with the water loving husky and all of her favourite people. It was a beach with no waves and was very very shallow for the first 30 meters (so maybe a shallow lake would be best?). We all walked into the water and well, she just followed to be with the crowd.

    Pics from her first ever trip to the beach so you can see how shallow and inviting it was :)

    I think it also helped that it was the middle of summer and Evie's always been a very hot dog.... so she's always loved climbing into water to cool off lol


    good luck!
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  5. southerngirl Honored Member

    I got Missy in the water(lake) by using a toy and myself. I had my brother hold her leash and I went into the water about chest deep on me and I called her she got really excited and prancy than I had my brother let go she was a bit hesitant but jumped in and came to me. Another way I did was get her playing with a toy on land than toss it in the water and encouraged her to get it she did. I think one of these would work for Odie make sure that he gets in using the stairs to the pool he should know how to get out himself and if he jumps in it may scare him.
    For Levi
    1. I would get treat and get him comfortable being beside the pool using treats so desensitize him to the pool area.
    Make sure he's completely comfortable being around the pool.
    2. get him on the first step using high value steps. Use engorgement too. Treat him just for the slightest movement toward the step. Treat him a whole bunch if he puts one or two of his paws. Jackpot of treats and tons and tons of praise if he gets completely on the first step. Do this for several days. and continue using the steps.
    3. So once he's at the point where he can't go down the steps use treats and encouragement to get him to swim to you be very very close than have him go back. Keep increasing distance.
    I'm really hoping this pool does have steps because without them it will make it harder to get him okay with the pool.
    I also think Evies suggestions of getting him in a body of water first. It would be easier.
    Adrianna & Calvin, Dogster and MaryK like this.
  6. Dogster Honored Member

    I agree with the others, take Odie to a (shallow) body of water, such as a lake. To get Shivon swimming, I used high-value treats, to make her want to get into the water. I also used toys, but that didn't work as well, lol.:)
    MaryK likes this.
  7. LeviTheOutlaw Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for all your suggestions.

    I live about 15 minutes from galveston (the gulf). Levi loves playing in the waves but he will only go in so far. I am fine with him just getting his enjoyment from that. I frequently take him to the beach and we splash around in the water and if he never gets in a pool thats fine by me. The reason I would like him to, is because a friend of mine has a nice big in ground pool (yes, with steps :)) at her house. She has told me the dogs are more then welcome to come with me and it gets so hot... I just figured he would be cooler if he got into the pool... at least for a few minutes. I would never force him to tho.

    I was also thinking about in addition to taking them to the beach, I could get a little kiddie pool for my back yard to help introduce them to a pool. What do y'all think?
  8. Dice Smith Well-Known Member

    Kodi is a lot like Levi! He loved playing in the hose but didn't like swimming in the pool. As a puppy he swam in our above ground pool a few times and liked it, but as he got older he couldn't safely get in and out on his own and we could no longer lift him into it cause he got big so his swimming days were over. But over time he got fearful of water. :(

    A lot of people told me to just let him be, but I really wanted him to enjoy swimming again like he did when he was a puppy so I decided to try and get him used to it anyways. I got him a kiddy pool and started by putting just an inch of water in it. Then I took a really yummy treat like chopped up hotdogs and floated them in the water and let Kodi decide if he wanted to get them or not. Of course, he couldn't resist! At first he would just reach his head in and grab the hotdog but over time he put one foot in and then another until one day he would happily stand in the water and even take his toys in it. Over a few weeks I slowly I added a little bit more water until eventually the pool was filled full. He did have moments where he would get a little nervous around the water still though.

    Once he was comfortable with the pool I would pick him up and step into the wading pool with him in my arms and then slowly set him down into it. I wanted him to get used to me lifting him in and out of water because our pool is above ground. I can happily say he is a water loving, pool obsessed dog now! He never did get to swim in our pool (my mom didn't want dog hair in our pool :rolleyes::ROFLMAO: ) but we did get him a much larger kiddy pool this last summer which he loved! I'm hoping to be able to find a large enough plastic pool that will be deep enough for him to actually swim in this summer. When my mom's not around he tries to swim in our pool! :LOL:

    I think starting Levi and Odie out with a kiddy pool is a great idea!
    MaryK, Dogster and southerngirl like this.
  9. LeviTheOutlaw Well-Known Member

    Thanks Dice, That is super helpful.
    Dice Smith, MaryK and southerngirl like this.
  10. Dogster Honored Member

    I was going to suggest a kiddie pool, lol.:D I got Shivon one to get her used to the water, and so she could play in it any time on a hot day.:)
    Dice Smith and MaryK like this.

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