In the doodle photo gallery, I posted a picture of Harley (about 19 months of age) during his first (and only) swim lesson at doggie day camp. When I told some friends I’d decided to do this before we left for our beach vacation, they had no shame in their game with their jokes, and torturous hackling.

Well let me tell you, as sure as ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN“all dogs can’t swim!” Placing your pooch in an open body of water, (like a beach or Olympic size swimming pool) without knowing whether or not he/she can handle it could be a date with disaster. Dogs born with the knowledge and ability to “Michael Phelps” it across the water is a myth. Most dogs have the “instinct” to swim when they’re put into water, some dogs will even paddle and attempt to swim even if they’ve never been in the water before. However, not all dogs know how to swim EFFECTIVELY

Very muscular breeds will often sink like a stone. Some dogs will panic if they’re just “thrown” into the water, and the panic can cause them to tire and drown quickly. Now I’ll confess, I too thought you just walked them right in, and they do their thing – until that is, I talked with JC (pool instructor) and she broke it down for me. She explained regardless of the breed – fear of the water with some dogs can override their God given abilities and if not introduced properly, could cause them to reject the water completely…


If you’re going to the beach, you can try putting him on a leash and walking him into the water, but go slow, and don’t force him to venture out any further than he’s comfortable. He may stop right about when he’d “have” to swim, or when the water gets up to his neck. A little coaxing and encouragement might get him to try swimming, but if he doesn’t like it, don’t force him. Some dogs will forever be content to splash around in ankle deep waters.


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