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So I have always held the belief that all dogs can swim. Sure, some are better swimmers than others, some eschew the water whilst others seek it out ... but at the end of the day, if swimming is required, that all dogs can do it.

 

Yesterday, I swam the dogs (one by one) in my friend's pool. The protocol was that I was in the pool, and the dogs were placed in the pool with me. Some of the dogs struggled a bit, but then paddled nicely around. Others paddled around like little ferries, snapping at the mini-waves that they made. Bear took a slow, leisurely lap around the pool with a tennis ball in his mouth. Then we tried Wick.

 

She struggled a bit, I pointed her towards the ladder (about 2 metres away) and let her go. She turned upside down onto her back and sank like a stone. Hmm. Tried it again, had her in the correct swimming position, pointed her towards ladder ... same thing. It seemed cruel to keep trying so I swam her over to the ladder and helped her out.

 

Has anyone ever heard of a dog who can*not*swim*at*all? Or do I have a very unique dog? :rolleyes:

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Fascinating! I always assumed that they'd naturally start paddling and stay upright. The fact that she flipped onto her back is curious.

 

I took my dog out to learn to swim once. Carried chicken in my pockets, and waded out into the lake. He would not come. I carried him out to where he'd have to paddle... and he clung to me like he was made of velcro. Would not let go and find himself in that place where his feet didn't touch the ground.

 

Like you, I felt cruel continuing on with a panicked dog, so I've never tried again. He will wade, but I have no idea (now) if he really could swim or not!

 

Mary

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Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha -- sorry -- I know it is mean to laugh at Wick but the mental image was priceless.

 

The first time I tried to get Fly into a pool it went kind of like that. All four of her legs went straight out and she looked like a Christmas ornament, sort of like what a daddy longlegs does when you pick it up. She floundered back to the steps somehow and ran away and would not come anywhere near the pool after that.

 

About a year later, I was hiking with the dogs on a very hot day and we came to a pond. Fly jumped in and paddled around like she'd been swimming all her life.

 

That is the only time she has ever gone for a swim. She'll wade, but that's it.

 

Solo is the world's shittiest swimmer. He sinks and all you can see is the top of his head, like an alligator. Needless to say, he does not swim except under duress.

 

Jett's been swimming since she was four months old and she's like a fish. I think some of them are born with it, some of them can learn, and some are hopeless. Jett's a natural. Wick sounds pretty hopeless!

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Our sheltie Jake, who we miss dearly, hated all things water. If it rained - he could not believe that we expected him to go out to do his business. One time he fell in the river behind our house and could not make it out because of the seawalls. It was an aweful scare for us-luckily my dad was home and heard him crying. After that he stayed even further away from water. One time we brought him boating with us to a lazy sandbar. He walked in the sandbar with my husband with about 2 inches of water. My niece and I started snorkling. Heard my husband yelling. Looked up - Jake was swimming for us - I would quess concerned about the state of affairs. He swam a pretty good distance to us then tried to climb on my head. Thank goodness I am a really good swimmer - he insisted on being in my arms for the return trip to the sandbar. That, in total, is the most Jake swam. He was a bigger sheltie - but water was not his cup of tea. If a dog does not like to swim - I would not make them.

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Ohhhh, poor Wick - I laughed reading this, but I do feel sorry for her :rolleyes: Ouzo swam at 4 or 5 months for the first time, after seeing a big black lab retrieve balls from a big reservoir. There hasn't been any looking back since. But my first dog, Blackie, was terrified of water - true, the only place where she was in a position of swimming was at the Black Sea side, every summer, and I had to carry her in the water and she'd desperately swim back to shore then stay as far back on the beach as she could from the scarry waves. She definetely prefered laying in the shadow and flirting with the local dogs while I was playing in the sand and water.

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I don't know about can't, but I have one who won't. She loves water, as long as it's shallow: she'll chase balls in the creeks, even lay down in them to cool off. This year she's started wading into the lake after her tennis balls, but only up to her chest - then she stretches her neck as far as possible, and if she still can't get them just gives me a dirty look.

 

My old dog was the same way for years, and would stand on the beach whining while I'd swim. She eventually overcame her fear when I went out with a snorkel: guess she figured I was drowning, and swam out to rescue me. After that she was fine, and enjoyed swimming along beside me, though she never would go in on her own.

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Alex has the benefit of 2 lab brothers. She was not thrilled the 1st time she saw the river, but the boys were having so much fun she had to try. Now she's the last one out of the water.

 

Esox & Alex

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:rolleyes::D:D Poor Wick!!

 

My dogs will only swim if there is a purpose behind it. It isn't Kipp's favorite thing to do but he'll do it to try and grab the frisbee before Missy gets it. We lost a frisbee that got stuck on a branch just under the water the other day. Missy kept swimming around to the opposite side of the river looking for it, but once it was out of sight, Kipp would only go out to where his feet could still reach bottom.

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I think I mentioned before that Meg is very slow to take to the water. She is happy to go in up to her tummy and has no problem keeping her head under water. She did swim a few strokes but I think with a softly, softly approach she will eventually improve.

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Nope. Not all dogs instinctively know how to swim and some of them never learn. Forcing them can be deadly. I have a co-worker who owns a Mastiff and lives on a large river. She almost lost him when he was younger because he can’t swim.

 

Another co-worker was boating with some friends whose Bull Terrier pup drown because he fell off the dock as they were tying up their boat. They'd removed his PFD just a tad too soon.

 

I assume the misconception that all dogs can swim comes from the term “dog-paddle”.

 

 

Glad Wick was none the worse for wear.

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Poor Wick! (though the image is pretty entertaining...at her expense. Sorry!)

 

I suspect this is NOT Wick's problem - though it might have been the Mastiff and/or the bull terrier's problem. I have a friend who does SAR with her cattle dog. Dog was great, but did NOT want to do anything in water. Same problem, she just sank (though apparently right-side up....). She put a lifejacket on the dog - and voila! Swimming was no longer a problem! She did get a jacket which was great for her - I've seen them a few places - they're white, and sort of cartoon-bone-shaped. The dog's front legs go through the holes, and the foam part is UNDERNEATH the dog - with long sides and straps up over the back. I see lots of "dog life jackets" with all the floatation on the back. Makes no sense to me, and I suspect wouldn't to a dog either. Having the floatation under the belly makes much more sense - and probably is way more comfortable.

 

I wonder if something like that would help Wick just be more comfortable in water??

 

I have another friend with a BC/Aussie mix - who refuses to swim. I dunno if he actually can - but wades, and loves to play in shallow water - but no swimming for him either.

 

diane

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Our friends had a finnish spitz who didn't understand the concept of swimming. If you put him in deep water, it was like he was trying to climb up ontop of it so he'd end up straight up and down, splashing all over and not going anywhere. We put a kiddie lifejacket on him (we were probably 14 or so at the time) and then made him swim and with that, he was able to paddle and go in a straight line to shore even though he still splashed a lot. I guess it gave him enough bouyancy that his back end didn't sink when he tried to "climb" ontop of the water. We tried later with no lifejacket and same thing as the first time. I think after that we just made him wade in midway up his chest and cool him off that way.

Another friend had a golden retriever who couldn't swim and they owned a sailboat. Her father had to jump off the boat to save the dog once because they were comming in to dock and the dog got too excited and jumped off the boat thinking she was close enough to shore (after that they got her a lifejacket). A few years later, they moved to Singapore and took the dog and it was so hot there they were at the beach a lot and in time, the dog learned how to swim (she was probably about 6 or 7 by the time she learned to swim). When they moved back to Canada and I saw the dog again, she could swim no problem at all. So I guess some dogs can learn.

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Wick and I watched the World Swimming champs today. She says she needs one of those fancy suits that helps swimmers set world records!

 

And as for all of you who laughed, don't worry, we did too. To see a dog capsize and sink (in a swimming pool, and she wasn't under water for more than a second) was quite something. She was so mad, she crawled under the barbecue and kept her back to me for over an hour.

 

I do have a life jacket for her, but I've never had her on a boat or float plane so I haven't put it on her. She did once have to cross a small channel of water at the beach. IIRC, she ran/splashed on the water like a Jesus Lizard.

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She did get a jacket which was great for her - I've seen them a few places - they're white, and sort of cartoon-bone-shaped. The dog's front legs go through the holes, and the foam part is UNDERNEATH the dog - with long sides and straps up over the back. I see lots of "dog life jackets" with all the floatation on the back. Makes no sense to me, and I suspect wouldn't to a dog either. Having the floatation under the belly makes much more sense - and probably is way more comfortable.

I don't like to disagree but having the flotation on the bottom could prove deadly to a dog that "capsizes" and goes bottoms-up. Having the flotation in the position that keeps the head out of water is, IMO, the safest option. Sometimes, what appears to be most comfy is not necessarily the best option.

 

Having no experience with this sort of flotation device, I shouldn't be commenting, but I think the conventional devices make more sense. I could easily be proven wrong, though.

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We thought for the longest time that our oldest dog could not swim. We would take him fly fishing and he would only go in water that was up to his belly. We took him to a pond and tried to teach him but he would seem to freeze up and not want to swim. We gave up and one day I was fishing on the opposite side of a river from my wife. The river was about 20 yards wide and waist deep. As I was fishing my wife yelled turn around. I did and there was Mac paddling like a pro to get to me. He could swim and does frequently but always on his own terms. He does not like to be touched when he is swimming, he likes to be in control.

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Perhaps its a matter of age that the dog is introduced to the water? At four months, Robin loves our little frog pond, thinking of it as a big mudpuddle :rolleyes:. He's like a child, zooming around the edge then launching himself in with a big splash. I actually have to give him time outs because he won't stop. He is a somewhat inelegant swimmer, thumping around but he's getting more natural with practice. Brodie will go in and is a very smooth swimmer, but he's not particularly drawn to swimming. Ladybug would have made a great goose dog. She paddles around the shore, patrolling for frogs. Our late Scotty Bear, who came to us from a city home at four years old, wouldn't go past putting his front paws into the water but then he had a heavy rough coat.

 

A swimming pool may not be the best place for an introduction to the water...for some reason our dogs that like to swim are reluctant to enter the pool, though Ladybug will lay on the top step for a quick cool down. Robin shies away from it (not muddy enough perhaps:) and Brodie won't the pool a second look.

 

I"m taking the pups out to the big lake this week to play on the shore and see how they react.

 

Liz

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It may have to do with age, like Liz said. My Zoey was introduced to water that wasn't bath water at 4 years old - I have never had any desire to have a water dog. She will wade into it, when she wants to, and for as long as she wants to.

 

Bella was introduced to water (that wasn't from a hose) at around 1 1/2 years old, and she loves to wade, and when I tried swimming with her, she hated it. (But swam from out 4 feet in the lake back to the sand) Now, however, that I've given it a rest, she's starting to go out deeper and deeper into the pond, on her own accord.

 

Now, Psyche was my youngest to get introduced to water - at 5 months she met the pond, and because Bella loved it, she did too. She likes water, likes the bath tub, and is even warming up to the hose. The other day I took her to the river, and because it's a river and I'm scared to death of leeches, I didn't go in, so I just threw a stick (she loves sticks) into the water, and by the end of the 15mins of play in the water, she was wading out VERY deep to near swimming. I'm itching to get her to the lake so I can go in with her and see if she'll come out to me.

 

I never thought about dogs not knowing how to swim. I think even if I took Zoey out into deeper water she could swim out - she just doesn't enjoy it.

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While Annie can swim, when we go boating she has a flotation vest. The flotation material is on the top, and the vest fastens with Velcro on the underside. The vest is of good quality, but was reasonably priced; this is the specific one Annie has, and is currently on sale: Hunter K9. Perhaps you might think about using a vest of this type to get your dog used to swimming (top side up) without doubling as an ad hoc boat anchor.

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Aww poor Wick! Well thats why they make life jackets for dogs :rolleyes: Not all dogs are natural swimmers. I have yet to throw my dog into some water to see if he will swim, I'm really not sure as he doesn't seem to like to get his feet wet if there are puddles on our walk. We'll find out soon enough!

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