Swimming Lessons for Dogs
Meet Baxter and Suki, our two poodles. We thought we could never have dogs because my wife has allergies. One day my wife discovered poodles are hypo-allergenic dogs so to my dismay it wasn’t long before we had not only one, but two poodles. Baxter is a standard poodle and is 13 years old. Suki is a feisty miniature poodle that still acts like a crazy kid at 11 years old. We have always been around pools so naturally the dogs like to join in from time to time.
Turns out that many of the swimming benefits for children and adults also apply to dogs. Relaxation, therapy, exercise, safety, and just plain fun.
Baxter was the first to get swimming lessons as just a puppy. Funny how dogs are born with swimming ability. As we see in our dogs, that swimming ability does vary. Baxter struggles to keep his rear end up. Could be that since he is taller he figured out that in most of the water he has been in it is just easier to stand. When he is in deeper water he plods along just fine.
Suki on the other hand is a little motor boat. Even the thought of entering the water starts her motor right up and she zooms across the pool. We do not have to worry about her around the pool, she knows how to circle swim back to safety and to head to the steps for a quick pool exit. You have to check out this video of her swimming lessons and her excellent form. Too bad there is not a dog Olympics, she would surely be a competitor in the doggie paddle.
It makes us sad to see Baxter getting older. He has some trouble getting around and cannot do some of the physical things he used to. We keep our pool at 90 degrees. We discovered that Baxter likes to hang out in the warm water with us. If we get him to the second step the water covers half of his body and the warm water must help his ageing joints. We then take him on slow swims around the pool while supporting some of his weight. After these sessions he seems to have a renewed energy and less pain.
Suki rarely relaxes. She is always on the move. Baxter on the other hand, loves to just lie on a raft in the pool! Yes, really. We move the raft to the edge and he steps right on. Then he will lay on that raft in the hot sun for as long as we are by the pool with him. We can’t believe with that big black coat on he does not get overheated, but he loves it. Suki gets on, but it just annoys Baxter and as soon as the raft gets near the edge she hops right off.
Make sure to give your dogs a chance to experience swimming this summer. A lake, the ocean, or a pool. Swimming lessons for dogs? I wonder if that is a thing?