Just like us, humans, our dogs have to be taught to swim. Many people have this misconception that dogs have the ability and instinct to swim on their own without learning. The truth is that some of them actually have a phobia of water and dislike the thought of touching it. In fact, some breeds such as basset hounds, bulldogs, pugs, Boston/Scottish terriers, toys and large barrel-chested breeds even require a life vest and aid from humans to learn the doggie paddle. Then again, there are also those that can adapt to water easily like the Portuguese water dogs, English water spaniels and retrievers.

Nonetheless, before simply putting your dog into the water, it would be a wiser choice to introduce them slowly and safely. Just like humans, if we force our dogs into the water without guidance, they could end up having a lifelong phobia of it. Here are some steps that can aid you in teaching your dog to swim. Always remember to give them time and not to force them. They have feelings just like we do.


Firstly, try to find a quiet and peaceful spot, so that they will be able to focus better on the swimming lesson. A shallow pool like that of a baby pool would be more advisable. If they are fearful of entering the water, gently encourage them with a favorite toy or treat. Try to make it as much of a fun experience for them as possible. If you are practicing in a swimming pool, start from the steps area to familiarise them with the exit point. If you are at the beach, train them in returning to shore. Once you are approaching a deeper end, support your dog’s weight with your hands till they start to paddle.

Remember to always use a life vest until they are comfortable in the water. Do take note that they should be paddling with all four of their feet. It will also be useful to have another dog, who is already capable of swimming, in the water with them. Dogs tend to mimic one another. Before removing the leash, always ensure that your dog knows the basic commands. Lastly, do not over-exert your dog. Swimming can be physically demanding and if dogs swim for too long periods, they could end up suffering from exhaustion. For the full article, check it out here.

Although Happy Fish Swim School doesn’t offer any swimming lessons for dogs, we do offer classes for humans! In order to teach your dog to swim, you would need to know how to first right? For more information on our available classes, check out our website!