Some tips to help your dog overcome his fear of water.
Although dogs are known to love water, this is not the case for all dogs. In fact, there are even some who fear water. Is your dog one of them? If so, we can imagine that you have already wondered if it is possible to eliminate this great fear in your companion. Fortunately for you and for your pup, the answer is yes and we will give you some tips to help you overcome it.
Not all dogs know how to swim instinctively
We often hear that dogs know how to swim from birth or instinctively, but this is not entirely true. There are dog breeds that are rather “clumsy” in the water. For example, the pug, French bulldog or greyhound belong to this category. It is therefore very important to take the necessary measures so that your companion is confident in the water.
Help him see water as his friend
It is normal for your dog to be afraid when faced with the unknown. It is therefore recommended that their first contact in the water be in your company. Enter the water with him gradually and show him that there is no danger. This will make him feel safe and protected. Over time, he will feel more confident and maybe next time he will be the first to jump into the water. This process is much more effective when the animal is still a puppy, because this is the ideal age for learning. Taking him in your arms, wetting his paws and gradually introducing him into the water is the best way to show him that water is not an enemy.
Put him in a life jacket
Although dogs learn quickly, it is not advisable to force them into water or leave them unprotected. If you decide to go into the water with him, do it calmly so he doesn't get nervous. If he sees you worried, you will convey this to him and he will reject the idea of going in the water. To make him calmer and feel confident, put him in a life jacket. When he finds that he is floating alone, he will feel comfortable and safe. At the same time, it will also give you some peace of mind.
You might think that jackets are very uncomfortable for your dog, but the truth is that these jackets are very well made and they offer great freedom of movement. They attach very easily with straps and velcro systems while adapting to your dog's body.
You will see that once he puts on his life jacket and you take him into the water, he will instinctively move his legs. Congratulate him by telling him how well he did. Take him out of the water and give him a reward like a treat. Release him from time to time to see how he reacts, and when you see that he has an interest in learning, reward him again. This way, your dog will associate water with something positive.
Maybe your dog will get used to it quickly, but is still afraid to go into the water alone. So, to solve this problem, use toys that float and that he likes. Throw them in the water and wait for him to find them for himself. It may be difficult at first try, but it certainly won't take long for him to jump into the water to get his toys. However, if all he does is bark at toys and doesn't try to go get them, he will likely need more water education sessions with you to reinforce his trust. Be patient and with time you will succeed.
Remember that a fear can turn into a phobia. Therefore, do not force your dog to bathe. Always try to teach him using positive reinforcement and taking your time. With affection, perseverance and a lot of love, he will succeed!