Teach your dog to swim underwater with this comprehensive guide containing some kick-start steps, important safety tips, and mistakes to avoid during the training sessions.
Does your dog accompany you to the pool or the ocean often? You may have trained your dog to paddle into the water and swim around with you. Have you ever wondered, how to teach a dog to swim underwater?
After all, swimming is a fun activity that not works as an amazing exercise but also helps you spend more quality time with your pooch and bond with them better.
If your dog has been a swimmer for some time and hovers over the water without any supervision, then it may be time to teach them another trick.
Train your dog how to take dips into the water with you with this simple guide and make underwater swimming plain sailing.
Steps for Training Your Dog to Swim Underwater
We took the initiative to minimize your effort by compiling and curating a whole guide on how to train your dog to swim underwater.
This guide contains all the basics to get your water-loving pooch started. Keep in mind that this journey can be rocky (yeah!) and not all canines will be ready to take their swimming into another level.
The idea is to do make sure your dog is comfortable, and having fun. This is not a punishment and if they are unable to grasp on the technique then remember to go slow. Be patient and let them take their time. You are doing this for them.
Breaststroke through this article and get ready to make your furry baby splash around in the water with you within the next 10 minutes.
How to Start?
Before you start your water routine, make sure you make a mental checklist of the below-mentioned steps. The whole experience will be less stress for you and your dog.
Select the Spot
Find a safe and trusted area of water for the training sessions. Do not go all-in with deep waters, opt for shallow waters or ponds.
Try to avoid fast-flowing rivers or rivers in general unless you have found a good spot. Skip murky or dirty water bodies with a lot of ingrown plants when you do not have a clear path toward your pooch.
There are several things you will have to be equipped with before you start! The primary tools for a safe and happy training session underwater will be lots of doggy treats, some heavy weighted canine toys, and some clean water for your pooch to drink when they get tired.
Know your Dog
Swimming does not come naturally to all types of dog breeds. Understand your dog’s lineage and remember how difficult it was to train them to swim in the first place.
If you have housed a hunting or retriever breed then you may have things easier for you to manage.
Methods for Underwater Dog Training
There is only so much information on how to help your dog to swim underwater. Since this is a level ahead of swimming and can be a little tricky, make sure to have an organized and gradual approach to it.
Below are some methods you can put into use to teach your dog how to swim underwater:
Get the Treat!
You will be using their favorite treats in this method. Make sure to pack loads of them! Follow all the steps below to have a safe and tasty swimming training session:
Step one: Dogs largely mirror their owners and they also feel safe doing anything you ask them to do. Use this to the training’s advantage and get into the water with one of their most favorite treats.
Always remember to not try to submerge your down into deep waters too soon. Go to shallow and steep waters for at least a couple of weeks.
Step two: Get his or her greatest guilty pleasure treat in your hands and call onto their names in a high-pitched voice.
This can alert them to knowing that there is a big game coming their way. Make sure your pooch is excited and in a great mood before getting down to real business.
Step three: Make sure you are in proximity to your canine. Going underwater may not trigger anxiety for you but that may not be the case with your canine. Be around them and check up on them often.
Step four: It is time for you to go all-in now. Get your goggles and submerge into the water. Put his favorite treat under his nose on the surface and drag it down to a safe level.
Do this a couple of times and keep making sure your pooch is fine. If this method works, train them through it for a couple of weeks in a row before you head on to the deep and wavy water.
Toy in the Water
Your dog’s favorite toys will help you with training your pooch here. Check out these steps below into knowing how:
Step one: Start by picking a toy that is capable of sinking into the water. Now you need to get your pooch all riled-up about the toy. You can do this by playing tug-of-war or even a quick fetch outside.
Step two: Once your pooch is all excited about their toy, the next step is to head toward a shallow body of water. You can opt for a pool or a pond for this job.
Play a couple of sessions of fetch with it and reward them with treats every time they retrieve the toy while hovering above the water.
Step three: Now it’s your down to dive into the water and take the toy along with yourself.
The idea is to encourage your pooch to take a dip and come to you underwater. You can take some of their favorite treats along with you to lure them in.
Step four: Gradually lower the toy under the water and let him or her get the toy. Do not go too deep, too fast. After every time they get the toy, offer them praise and a treat!
Step five: Practice, practice, and practice! This is something you are going to have to engage in a lot if you wish to train your dog into almost anything that does not come to them easily.
If you want your dog to start diving deep into the water, and be safe while doing so, then you have to keep training them with this method till you reach a secure perfection.
Mistakes to Avoid While Underwater Dog Training
These are some basic mistakes you will have to avoid making to prevent your dog from carrying any injuries during the training session. The safety of your pooch is of the utmost concern and priority during these swimming lessons.
- Pushing or Forcing into the Water
If there is one piece of advice you take from this guide is to never force any kind of training on your pooch. Do not forget about your dog’s comfort in the whole excitement of teaching them a new trick.
Never push or force your dog underwater, let them willingly learn to take a dip.
- Scolding or Screaming at your Dog
Never scold your yell at your dog when they fail to follow your instructions or calling. New experiences can be overwhelming and may put your pooch in a vulnerable situation.
By yelling at your dog during these times can only going to affect both their confidence and your relationship.
- Choosing an Unsafe Place for Training
Swimming is only going to be a fun activity if you and your canine are both in a safe and clean pool water. Do not go for water bodies you are not familiar with, and get up and going on the first sign of algae or scummy water.
If you choose to put your canine into unsafe water, you expose them to many infections and contamination which can be really bad for their health.
- Giving Too Many Instructions at the Same Time
As mentioned above, new experiences can, in general, be really overwhelming for our furry friends. In this time, if you lose your patience and start piling up one instruction after another on them then they will probably get really anxious.
Go slow and take gradual steps into training them. Do not do anything which is going to strain your canine and turn the activity into something to abhor.
The Final Note
Swimming underwater can be a really great thing to learn for your pooch. While diving deep can be really fun in general, this ability can also help keep themselves afloat and safe during the regular swim times in the pool or sea.
While training your dog to swim underwater, keep their safety and comfort at the topmost priority. You can make these sessions easier by adding treats, toys, praises, and a lot of love.
Follow this guideline carefully and have great summers with your new diver!
- Summer safety tips. (2022, February 24). Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/canine-health-center/health-info/summer-safety-tips
- M. (2022, May 19). Keep It Cool This Summer: Tips For Taking Dogs Swimming. CVMBS News. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/taking-dogs-swimming
James Wilkinson joined DogLovesBest as a full-time writer with the objective of offering his insights on how to rear pets better. He shares the information through the experience he has gained over a span of 15 years working as a dog trainer. James also used to contribute regularly to several pet publications during his career as a trainer before joining this website. He also donates a portion of his own personal wealth to shelter abandoned animals in Gainesville, Florida and helps in finding a new home for them.