Everyone into the pool — and for many families that might mean Rover will be joining them as well! The swimming pool contractors from Tipton Pools in Knoxville, TN say if you want to teach your dog to swim this year, you certainly can as long as you’re patient.

There is nothing wrong with your dog being in the swimming pool with you as long as:

  1. He knows how to swim
  2. You have a ramp so she can get out
  3. You rinse her off before she gets in (to remove organic matter) and then after she gets out (to get the chlorine off her delicate skin)

Remember, not every dog knows how to swim. It’s a myth that every dog loves water, loves to swim and knows how to swim. Because of that, you need to take steps to keep your dog safe in the water.

Teach your dog to swim this year

Don’t force your dog into the water. Just because you love it doesn’t mean he will. If he’s curious and/or just jumps right in, then you have your answer. Your dog could be terrified of that big body of water and will be happy watching from the sidelines.

If your dog wants to swim, though here are some tips:

  1. Lead him to the ramp you’ve put in. Teach him to get into the pool and out of the pool via the ramp. Learning that will keep him safe if he ever gets in when you’re not home to rescue home.
  2.  If your dog isn’t too sure about the water, lead him down the ramp (or the beach entry access if you have one) and let him get his paws wet. Don’t let your dog drink the pool water, if at all possible.
  3. You may want to keep your dog on a leash and should definitely have your dog in a safety vest to keep him safe if he gets tired in the pool.
  4. Once your dog is confident on the ramp and seems to be enjoying the water, coax her further down until she has to swim. If she seems to panic, hold onto her and reassure her. You may also need to move her back up the ramp until she’s more comfortable. This could be a long, slow process but your patience will likely be rewarded.
  5. Introduce your dog to the water in short training bursts. Don’t ever force her. Ask yourself: Does Fido really need to be in the pool? The answer may just be “no.” If your dog wants to be near you but not in the family pool, get a plastic wading pool and fill with water so he can play in that small body of water while you swim.

    Bottom line: Install a ramp, teach your dog to use it and make sure he wears a dog safety flotation device. Also, tell your pool contractor if your dog will be in the water because that could change the pool maintenance schedule.