Summer is a time to relax, play, and have fun. Here in Arkansas, summer fun has to include water play. Your Goldendoodle will enjoy being included in water fun, too. Goldendoodles are known to love the water, but there are a few precautions to consider before allowing your puppy to swim.
Choosing a place to swim
When your Goldendoodle is learning how to swim, they should only be allowed in areas that are shallow, free of strong tides, and relatively clean. Find a place that has clear entry and exit points, so your puppy can easily navigate him or herself out of the water when they’re tired. Provide fresh drinking water during your swimming lessons and discourage them from drinking out of foreign water sources. There are many invisible waterborne diseases that can make your puppy extremely ill. On that note, talk to your veterinarian about preventative measures that can keep your Goldendoodle from ingesting harmful bacteria.
Let your puppy set the pace.
Introduce your puppy to the water slowly and never force your Goldendoodle to swim when they aren’t ready. Forcing your puppy to swim can lead to a life-long water aversion! If they’re nervous, coax them to get just their paws wet and let them set the pace. Praise your puppy and encourage them to follow you around in the water with a toy or treat. Reward them every step of the way to grow their swimming confidence. This tactic also works in conjunction with any training efforts by strengthening their bond to you, making YOU the most fun part of playing anywhere.
Better yet, bring a friendly dog along with you! This allows the puppy to learn from an experienced swimmer. Keep in mind, swim practices should be kept short to avoid fatigue. When your puppy is comfortable, you can experiment with throwing toys farther into the water, but always with a life jacket!
Life jackets for dogs? Yes! When your Goldendoodle is exploring what they can and cannot do in the water, it is vital they have support while swimming. A lot of times, dogs will run into the water, throwing caution to the wind! They can become surprised when there is suddenly no ground beneath their feet and it only takes a few moments for them to become overwhelmed. Panic can lead to stress on their respiratory system that increases the risk of drowning. Much like supervising a child while swimming, your puppy needs constant, undivided attention to remain safe in the water. Take your puppy to a local pet store and try on life vests until you find the perfect fit. If you’re still unsure, check with your veterinarian.
If you’re still feeling nervous about your Goldendoodle’s first swim, consult an expert. Swimming lessons for dogs are wildly available and a great resource for any new pup. They can provide hands on lessons that can familiarize your puppy with swimming and build their endurance.
Even the most experienced swimmers can be caught off guard in the water. Whether you choose a pool, lake, or creek for your Goldendoodle’s first swimming experience, make sure you take precautions to keep them safe. Most importantly though, have lots of fun making memories with your Goldendoodle puppy!