It is essential to teach your dog to swim, as not all dog breeds are natural swimmers. Some breeds, such as spaniels, setters, and retrievers, will take to the water straight away, while other breeds, such as bulldogs and pugs, may experience breathing problems in the water and could easily drown if left unsupervised. Some dogs may even be afraid of water areas and refuse to go anywhere near them.

Understand Your Dog

Before you introduce your dog to water, it is essential to understand its personality and capabilities. If your dog has a muscular build, short muzzle, or short legs, it may not be able to swim effectively. Your dog may also lack confidence if it has had a bad experience with water in the past. These issues will impact on your pet’s ability to enjoy the water, but with plenty of patience and understanding, most dogs can be taught to swim eventually.

Start Small

It is always best to start small when teaching your dog to swim. If possible, fill a child’s paddling pool with water and then slowly encourage your dog to get in and splash around. This will provide a safe and shallow environment for your dog to begin getting used to the water. It is also best to check the temperature of the water first to ensure that it is not too cold for your dog. Never be tempted to throw your dog into the water, however shallow it is, as this could put your pet off water for life.

Make Water Experiences Fun

Making your dog’s time in the water as enjoyable as possible will encourage it to stay in the water for longer. Consider using suitable dog toys in the water for your dog to play with and retrieve. You could even invite a friend over with their dog, and then let the dogs play in the water together to make it a more fun experience for your pet.

Join Your Dog in the Water

If your dog is reluctant to get in the water, it may be keener to go in if it sees you, and possibly other members of the family, in there having a good time. You may need to hold onto your dog when it first enters the water until it gains a bit of confidence and feels able to move around freely on its own. A family outing may be just what your pet needs to see how much fun it can have in the water.

Consider a Life Vest

A dog life vest is crucial if your dog is new to swimming. If your dog is not a good swimmer, then it may be necessary for it to wear a life vest every time it goes in the water. It is also sensible to put a life vest on your dog if you are taking it on a boat or holidaying near a large water area.

Supervision is Crucial

Supervising your dog while it is in the water is crucial, as you can never be too careful where water areas are concerned. It is also worth remembering that swimming is quite a tiring activity, so you shouldn’t allow your pet to stay in the water for too long. Take care not to throw anything too far out for your dog to retrieve, as it may struggle to reach the object and end up getting out of its depth. When your dog comes out of the water, always bathe it in clean water and dry it thoroughly with a towel.


When teaching your dog to swim, remember to offer plenty of praise and some regular treats. Always assess all water areas carefully before allowing your dog to enter them. It is a good idea to train your dog to come to you whenever it hears a whistle, as this will enable you to call it back more quickly when it is out in the water. Swimming should be a fun activity for dogs, so ensure that your dog stays safe and learns how to enjoy itself in the water!

We hope you have enjoyed reading, “The Dog Blog: 6 Tips, Teaching Your Dog to Swim”. The team at Atlantic Pool & Spa enjoys writing and providing helpful blog articles about swimming and pools and the summer in general. If you live in NJ and are in need of pool supplies, a new custom inground swimming pool, pool remodeling, equipment, lighting, pool service and so much more we are here to help you. Our store location is in Lake Hopatcong NJ, RT 15 South. Get in touch with us today!