Dog Swimming Games
Face it dogs love swimming. Its very rare to find a dog that wont enjoy a plunge in your pool, river or the local pond (sometimes to the detriment of the back seat in your car). But owners often forget to include simple training ideas when playing with your dog in the water.
- Commands work. Don’t forget to make the occasion one also of training by including commands inside your play. Make sure you dog hears the correct “command word” when he is in the middle of his swim and returns to your side. Utilizing your reward toy and employing positive praise when they behave to your expectation is the key to ensure your dog understands your requests and has fun and learns at the same time.
- Toys make Dog Swimming games work. Don’t forget a throw toy like a tennis ball, stick or a tug of war rope for playing in the water and even a long leash in case your not quite leash free yet. All these simple toys all make the playtime work for training and fun. With the right toys it can be the difference to your over excited dog romping all over the place causing havoc and your well controlled behaved dog being the envy of other bystanders.
- You are getting in the water right? I used to have to wear a wetsuit with my Labrador as he would scratch my chest trying to sit on my lap in the water. You participating with your dog will be what makes the moment special. Sure it wont always be warm enough for you but romping in the water with your dog renews the bond between yourself and him. You can keep a closer eye on them from in the water than on the side. You can also direct and control the fun making it more useful for training. Shouting out words from the side of a pond is probably not going to reinforce any training benefits for you.
- Safety comes first. If its somewhere with a strong current like a river or the surf make sure you consider your pets safety. If its too rough find somewhere else like a side lake or pond to play. Utilize the long leash mentioned above to keep your dog safe and safe but more importantly yourself as well. As a fellow dog owner I know in a crisis I would probably go in after my dog if he was in trouble and may likely put myself in jeopardy too.
Dog Swimming Games are for owners too.
I am a big fan of including my dog in everything I do but perhaps we should also remember to include ourselves in their games as well. I see so many dog owners sitting down while their dogs play like its all just too hard. Everything our dogs do can include training as well as fun but if your not active how can you change simply play into learning time?
***Photo thanks to dionhinchcliffe and his dog Champ***