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My nine month old female is constantly swimming and is a PIA when other people are trying to swim. Unlike a human that can tread water without flailing away a dog has to keep moving the paws to stay afloat. Anyway I'm trying to teach her to swim at my side as opposed to on top of me.
Any advice as to how to train this monster to not swim into people but to approach and keep a safe distance and not paw other swimmers ?
I know this may be asking a lot of a nine month old.
 

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I am very interested in the responses you receive to this question. Payton (3 years) will do the same thing. She LOVES being in the water with people, but gets overly excited and will try to swim on top of you. Her nails will scratch the daylights out of you. I have tried using a leash where I can walk in chest deep ( ie., 3 foot deep water) and she has to swim, but it's a constant battle and doesn't last long before she is clawing again. She walks very nicely on/off leash on land, BTW. We would love to be able to swim with her. Has this been done successfully by others?
 

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This was a huge problem with my dog as well. What has worked for us is putting our hand up in a "stop" position and a firm "no". It's taken two summers to actually train him well enough to swim with others. I am in the process of teaching him to swim laps and he is a great motivator... he never wants to stop! I used the same concept and just doggy paddled back and forth beside him, saying "no" as needed. Then I had him watch me swim from the side. I invited him in and he is finally understanding what I am doing. The biggest tip I can give is to stay calm when you are in the pool with him and if he gets rowdy, have him exit the pool to calm down some.
 

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Do you have a command for when your dog jumps on people/objects/etc? For example we use the word "off" when Dozer jumps on us and he gets down immediately. Anyway, I'd try using the same word in the water. Your dog would already know the command it would just be taking it to a different application.
 

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This was a big problem with our first lab, Annie. But none of our labs now really enjoy swimming with me all that much. Sally does some, but Spud won't come anywhere near me in the water, and Hoppy is only mildly interested.

Here's Sally and me at the lake one day last year.

 

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Erns used to do this. I taught him move away verbal and hand signal and he is quite good now. I kayak with him so he has learned getting too close to people in the water often isn't nice with an accidental whack with a paddle.

I have also found the life vest works well for this.
 

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Bruno and Judy ignore me if I swim with them. Mitzi, on the other hand, tries to "save" me by pulling me into shore.
Bruno is very good at treading water. Whenever he wants me to throw something to retrieve, he comes to the dock where I am standing and gives me the "throw it" look while remaining in one place in deep water, no flailing.

 

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ha Funny I have been thinking about posting this.

Oakley is pretty good and not scratching me.
I bought her a lifejacket in the hopes the I could teach her to swim beside me when I do some open water swimming. If she follows me, she scratches my legs.
She hasn't yet got the concept that the lifejacket will help her. When I make her come out too far with me, she gets a bit anxious BUT if I have a ball with me I throw it and then get it from her on her way back to shore then throw it again. But doesn't really get a good swim going for me.

I basically learned that Oakley loves balls more than she loves me. Throw a ball and she will jump off a dock like nuthin. I, on the other hand, really have to coax her to jump off the dock to come in with me!
 

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I always say that my last lab would drown me first and then drag me to shore! Haven't been in the pool with Gutherie yet.

Wish I had some advise.
 

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We use off too. Although both girls have been taught that when tired, they can seek us to hold them for a break, and they will both float still when we hold them lightly so they can catch a breath or whatever, and then swim off when ready. Probably not ideal, but they also know if we say off when they ask this, they listen.
 

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ha Funny I have been thinking about posting this.

Oakley is pretty good and not scratching me.
I bought her a lifejacket in the hopes the I could teach her to swim beside me when I do some open water swimming. If she follows me, she scratches my legs.
She hasn't yet got the concept that the lifejacket will help her. When I make her come out too far with me, she gets a bit anxious BUT if I have a ball with me I throw it and then get it from her on her way back to shore then throw it again. But doesn't really get a good swim going for me.

I basically learned that Oakley loves balls more than she loves me. Throw a ball and she will jump off a dock like nuthin. I, on the other hand, really have to coax her to jump off the dock to come in with me!
I basically learned that Hershey Kisses loves balls more than she loves ....
<<- Just fill in with anything that comes to mind that is not food.
 

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I swim with my boys, they are only allowed in at certain times, and are not allowed to swim when there are kids in the pool. They don't swim on top of me...I throw a bumper and we race to it, so they are next to me. I've also taught them to climb up the ladder to get out of the pool. And when I want to float and tan, they are not allowed in the pool, they will lay on the deck next to it though begging to come in. I do keep a kiddie pool full next to the pool for those occaisions when I just want to float, and they can cool off.
 

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Bauer is horrible about this too. He does respond to "off", but keeps coming back. My MIL lives on a lake, and the whole family visits almost every Sunday. When we go swimming in the deep water (off the boat) he wears a life jacket and responds to "off" if he tries to climb on us; he also knows "back" and responds to this if we catch him in time. I always thought he was just bored and wanted to play. He is a velcro dog, and always wants to be touching a person . . . he is the same in the water.

When we are on MIL's beach or dock and he is retrieving, I try to keep him away from other people. He is so focused on retrieving that he doesn't notice what is in his way. My neice (3) and nephew (2) like to race him in the water. I throw the ball way out, and they all take off after it. Bauer always gets to the ball first, but when he gets it they all turn around and come back (whoever makes it to the shore first wins). This keeps them pretty spread out, and if he gets too close I use "back" or his name and point in the direction I want him to go.
 

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When Paddy was my only lab we used to swim at a friend's pool on the weekends. The way I looked at it, the swim was more for him than for me so I gave him first rights. Yes, there was sometimes the ouchie from his nails, but he enjoyed being in there with me so much it was a small price to pay.

I guess if you want to enjoy the pool by yourself (or other people, of course), put your lab in an off-limits place until you're ready to engage in the water with him/her.
 
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