We have a brand new Black Lab puppy (male), and are trying to introduce him to water. So far I have set up a kiddie pool for him to use at his leisure, and I take him in our swimmung pool with me. In the big pool I just start by sitting on the step with him on my lap, and let him get used to the water. He drinks and paws at the water, so I end up letting him sit on the step by himself next to me and he seems to enjoy it. Last night, I let him "swim" a little bit as I supported him under his belly and chest. I am trying to teach him that the stairs are his entry and exit point in the pool, which is fenced and he cant get into without supervision. Would it be better to teach him at a pond or lake that has a sloping entry? He's only about 8.5 weeks old, so Im not expecting him to be a champion swiimmer yet, and definately dont want to frighten him of water, but I do want him to be a water loving dog as our family does a lot of water based recreational activities. I should add that we have a 5 year old Basset Hound that loves to swim, and the pup has been watching the Basset, almost taking mental notes. Any tips or advice? Thanks!
I would lean towards letting the puppy get used to water on their own (rather than you bringing him into the water). Is he able to get in teh water on his own should we want to? If so I would let him go at his own pace, encourage him gently but no forcing. Even if he didn't like swimming now it doesn't mean he won't later, but if he has a bad experience that could make things worse.
Given his age I would be cautious about where you would let him swim in ponds and rivers and lakes. he hasn't had all his shots and is very suceptible to getting all kidns of things.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
The best teacher is an older dog proficient at the task you want to teach in my opinion. I would suggest you keep everythi g playful and in a positive tone. The pup will sense irritability fairly quickly so by keeping things upbeat its win win. He will grow to love swimming unless something really negative happens. You can swim with him too, great bonding time.
Chester is 15 weeks and likes going in after his rubber chicken toy , he wont go in on his own but has to have a job like saving his chicken buddy. At 8 weeks I would support him a little but he wanted out as soon as he could reach step , now with his toy he stays on step and retrieves for the fun of it.