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Dogs & Puppies : Exercise Last Updated: Oct 25th, 2006 - 08:57:26

Introducing swimming to your dog
By Chester Duke
Jan 4, 2006, 14:05

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Swimming is an excellent exercise for your dog to take part of.  It works the heart and the lungs as well as stimulates the entire musculature system.  Unlike heavy running and darting through hard ground, swimming will not be hard on the hips and shoulders.  This makes swimming perfect for puppies whom are just developing and adult dogs that have any sort of structural defects.


If properly introduced to swimming, most dogs can learn to swim very well.  Keep in mind that there are a few breeds that are just not built to swim so well.  One example is the bulldog.  The bulldog has a wide torso and such short legs that swimming becomes difficult.  This also makes for tough breathing in the water for dogs with similar physical attributes.  Dachshund and basset hounds also have a hard time in the water but it does not mean that they will not or cannot enjoy to swim. 


Some dogs just plain hate the water and it usually is because of not being properly introduced to swimming.  The absolute worst thing you can do is just throw your dog into water.  This is the biggest mistake that dog owners make when wanting to teach their dog how to swim.  Below are a few simple instructions to help introduce your dog to the water:


1.  Find a very gentle pond or pool where nobody else is around.  Allow your dog to explore the area off of the leash while you discreetly watch, careful not to interfere during his curiosity with the water.  Do not purposefully try to coax him into the water.


2.  When your dog starts to get into the shallow water and splash around, praise him enthusiastically.  You should repeat this about 10-15 times.  By praising him you are letting him know that it is safe to enter the water.


3.  Once he gets comfortable in this area of the water, throw a ball slightly deeper into the pond for him to fetch.  At first, when your dog goes a little bit in over his head and starts to tread water, praise him loudly.  Once he fetches the ball then repeat this process again another 10-15 times.


4.  Take this simple procedure and  simply repeat but throwing the ball a little further out each time.  Be careful not to overdo things though.  Keep it safe.

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