Our annual dog swim day in Dubuque was awesome. From the first tenuous steps to paddling with ease, all the dogs who joined us for the day made great progress.
Thanks to the Dubuque Ski Club for letting us use their property. We had perfect weather and the perfect location on the back waters of the Mississippi River.
A few tips to help your dog get comfortable in the water:
Wade in with your pet starting at a shallow entry. Reward and encourage each step toward the deeper water.
Toss a treat or toy in front of your dog to lure them forward.
It may be helpful to use a leash with forward pressure to help encourage the dog to keep moving.
A life jacket can help a beginner or anxious dog to feel more secure the first few times in the water.
Many dogs need assistance in learning to keep their back end up. Place a hand under the belly to help teach the dog how to level out in the water.
Avoid the sink or swim approach of just pushing your dog off the dock. It may take a few practice sessions but the goal is to get your dog comfortable and enjoying the swim rather than feeling a panic to escape the water.
Most of all, have fun!