Are you dealing with a dog that hates or is afraid of water? There is a myth that cats hate water, but dogs love it. Sometimes this is true, but some dogs are also scared of water. Fear of water can show in many forms in dogs; you might notice your dog does not like baths or is scared and gets startled by the sound of loud splashing water or waves.
There are also dogs with extreme anxiety whenever they are near big bowls of water or liquids. This fear might be a manifestation of their negative past experiences.
Just like humans your dog can grow negative associations and negative experiences in the past can cause current exiting fears in them to intensify.
The good news is that many dogs can eventually be taught how to overcome this fear of water. Bathing your dog will ultimately help support healthy skin. Taking your dog swimming is also a good idea it helps your dog have fun, even those that suffer from pain and arthritis.
If you notice that your pet is scared of water, start by introducing him to the water slowly. Being a caring and compassionate dog parent is the key to overcoming this unfortunate experience.
Below are some tips:
Start with slow exposure
If your dog suffers from the fear of water, you can start by slowly introducing them to smaller poodles of water. You can try pouring a glass of water into a small basin and placing your dog next to it. Please do not put him inside the basin.
Ensure that the dog is in a calm mood before trying this out. When he does this, praise him and give him a treat.
Next, you can put your hand inside the water and let him sniff if he remains calm praise him some more.
Now, try running the wet hand over his fur and praise him if you notice the remaining calm throughout this process. But if you see that he is terrified and runs off, stop and repeat this when he is calm. Always ensure that you give him a treat when he displays the desired behavior.
Repeat this for a few days until he is comfortable around water.
Place your dog in a small pool
Once you notice that your dog is comfortable with being close to water, you can start shallow wading.
This is where you take a small pool or a more prominent basin and fill it with water then slowly put him inside. Also, put his favorite toys in the pool.
Make sure the water is not too cold or too warm. If he remains calm, praise, and rewards him with his favorite delights. Please make this a frequent exercise until he starts to play in the water slowly.
Always stay relaxed when in close proximity to water
As a dog parent, your dog will always look up to you to see your reaction to several situations. When you are frustrated or anxious, you tend to make the dog anxious, too, as they sense it immediately.
Make swimming easier by getting some floating devices
Getting your dog, a floating device will help them not sink, especially if they are to panic in the water. If a dog is wearing, it helps ease breathing, which keeps him calm.
Always hold the back of the floating device so that you can guide your dog when they are swimming. Please do not force them into the water, as this may result in resistance.
If you notice they are panicking, get them off the water and give them a treat. This will help them to slowly positive associate water and swimming.
Take your dog swimming
Once you notice that your dog has overcome their initial fear of water, take them swimming. Specialists recommend that you always teach your dog how to get into the pool and how to get out.
It would be best if you also showed him where they could safely rest, especially when they get tired of swimming. When your dog knows how to get in and out of a pool, they will feel much safer in the water.
If you are unable to train your dog how to swim at home, you can check out a qualified hydro-therapist in your area
They will always have a solution at hand, especially since they are less emotional than dog parents.
They will often make you a part of the learning and overcoming water fear process and come up with techniques that will help your dog quickly build confidence and start swimming.
Dogs are afraid of water due to some bad experiences they had in the past, maybe when they were younger, and it still haunts them. Some are also scared of water because they do not know what it is.
More youthful dogs that have never been introduced to water may be scared because they don’t know what it is. Some dogs example those who hardly go out and experience wet grass on their paws may be scared of water too.
You can train your dog to accept water by being compassionate about the situation and being patient and using treats to reward them. It may take a few days or even weeks do not become frustrated and impatient.
You can also use rain to train them not to be scared of water. Take your dog outside when it is raining and play with their favorite toys.
During snow, you can play catch to introduce them to the snow. Ensure you are using bright colored toys that are visible in the snow.
If you find out you’re your dog has a problem with dew grass, take them out in the morning primarily to a dog park and let him play with other dogs; he will forget the wet grass under his feet and start running around playing with his friends.
Another genius idea is to take your dog to a lake or the beach if you live near a beach. Let them walk on the shores, and the water touches their feet. Plan this outing when the weather is calm, and the winds are not strong.
While some breeds’ anatomical and facial build prevent them from swimming properly, others merely avoid risky situations. It could be that your dog has an inkling of the danger water presents to them. Perhaps they haven’t learned to swim and suspect they could drown. If the only exposure they have had with water is bathing, massive amounts can freak them out. But you just never can know, as your pup could also have had a previous negative encounter with water. At this point, there could be bucketful reasons, and knowing is the first step in helping your dog embrace swimming. Several tips can also help you teach your dog to love swimming. For example;
Accompany Your Dog Straight Into the Water
You need to take precautions, especially if it is your dog’s first time in a large water mass like an ocean. Any carelessness can make your dog drown. It is why you have to be ready to get wet in the early days as you acquaint the animal with water. Depending on the obedience commands you use, your dog will be looking to you for leadership. Maybe the reason your dog hates water is that you avoid it as much as you can while at the beach? Now is time to change all that and demonstrate that water is excellent and safe. The hound also feels safe and reassured, knowing you are right by their side to hold and protect them in case of danger.
Avoid Any Forceful Means to Get Your Dog Into the Water
An already water averse dog can begin to stress and become anxious as you approach the water. The biggest mistake you can make is to use any forceful actions to get them in. You would be amplifying the stress levels such that your dog either tries to escape or become overly aggressive to the point of biting. It means no pulling, pushing, or dragging your pup. Also, never shove, however lightly, or trick your dog into jumping in the water. Any of these mischievous actions can backfire so badly, making your pup avoid swimming even more. Even an accidental slip into the water can be counterproductive, so plan well to eliminate any misjudgments that would cause your dog to detest water forever.
Practice More with Shallower Waters
The only way your dog can begin to acclimatize to water is to make it easy and gradual. It is why you should begin with shallower waters. Always head straight out into the shallow water, and make each swim a few feet deeper than previously. Mostly make every encounter as fun and playful as you can. In this case, a game of throw and fetch or water splashing can eliminate any lingering fear, making your dog relax. You can then top up any successful stroke or two with adorable treats as you swim back to solid ground. Remember, the more repetitive and consistent you practice, the quicker your dog begins to love swimming.
Why an Optimal Swimming Situation Can Melt the Fear
You may not know what makes your dog hate swimming. But by creating a few favorable situations, the animal can yield. For example, even if a warm day may be exciting, accompanying the same with a great location might do the trick. Also, ensure the water is nicely warm for your dog to relax in it. Experts advise that a sloppiest water entry area helps the dog comfortably slide right into the water.
Reassure Your Dog Every Step of the Way
Of course, your pup will be quite apprehensive in the early stages of reintroducing them to the water. For example, taking the plunge could be challenging because of the stranger element that affects most dogs. But your presence is almost enough to comfort them. You can also gently place your arm around them, calling out their name and generally encouraging them as you lower them into the water. Likewise, support their head and back and not let go if they are first-time swimmers. The drowning risk is ever-present for most dogs, as they are not natural swimmers. Finally, using a life jacket can offer that extra safety feature and make your dog less afraid in the water.