You may find this surprising, but the answer is a resounding NO!
I have two dogs from the same litter, and one of them fell in our swimming pool as a puppy. Luckily she was heard splashing around and was rescued. Ever since she has been a reluctant swimmer, whilst her sister has embraced the water with gusto.
When it comes to swimming skills, dogs are no different to our children and need to be taught how to get in and out of water safely, and how to swim as well. Even dogs that are well known for loving water, like Labradors can have an experience that turns them off swimming.
Rule No. 1 – never throw your dog into the water to see how he copes. You wouldn’t do that with a child and you shouldn’t do it with a dog. In a strange environment, dogs can panic and drowning is not out of the question.
Rule No 2 – Be gentle with your dog – throw a toy for them to retrieve, and maybe even swim with them. Sometimes having another dog who is already a happy swimmer can make a good role model.
Of course, if you have a swimming pool that your dog can access, it’s important to make sure that they can easily get out if they happen to fall or wander into the pool when you are not around. But best of all is to make sure they cant get in there in the first place.
It’s great fun to watch dogs enjoying water and it’s also great exercise as they can exercise without the strain on their joints. It’s particularly valuable if your dog gets arthritic and gets slow on his or her feet, so it’s definitely worth the effort.
Luckily for us in Australia there are many dog friendly parks on the water that pets can enjoy the joys of summer, like the rest of us! Check out the web or doggo to find swimming places near you.