22 August 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Teach Your Small Dog To Like Water

If your dog is hesitant about water, you can help train them. Photo courtesy  B. Herdman, Flickr

If your dog is hesitant about water, you can help train them. Photo courtesy B. Herdman, Flickr

“I don’t want to get wet mom and dad. I’m scared! Woof!”

Not all dogs like going into the water, which can be frustrating for us humans who want to enjoy this experience with them. But the good news is you can teach your small dog to like water. Learn what you can do from a dog behavior expert.

 

 

 

Teach Your Small Dog To Like Water

Q:I would love to take my German Shepherd, Spencer, to the dog beach but he absolutely refuses to go in the water. Does he not know how to swim? Is he scared of the water? I would like to teach him to like the water so he can wear off some energy swimming. Any suggestions?—Landlocked in LA

 

A:Not all dogs love the water, or know how to swim. Some take to it better than others. Some will sink like rocks without a life vest! If Spencer refuses to go in the water, it is likely that he is afraid.

 

You want exercise to be a fun experience for him, so don’t scare him worse by forcing him into the water. Does he have any doggie friends that enjoy swimming? Some dogs can be inspired to start splashing by watching other dogs enjoying the water.

 

You can work with Spencer to help him feel more comfortable in the water. Start slowly at the beach, at a distance from the water where he is relaxed and comfortable. Bring his favorite treats and a clicker, or you can use a verbal marker, “Yes.” Every time he looks at the water, click (or “Yes!”) and immediately treat. If he moves toward the water, click and treat. Gradually shape him to move closer and closer. Make sure your sessions are very short.

 

As he works up to getting his paws wet, make sure his rewards are worth his progress. For example, does he like to play tug? The first time he gets in the water, click, move away from the water and play a short game of tug. You move away from the water as part of the reward—adding distance between him and the water is also a relief for him. Read more about Dogs and Water in Ask an Expert – Dog’s That Don’t Like Water here.

With this excellent advice you can teach your small dog to like water. This does not have to be a permanent fear, and with love, patience and training your dog will soon love to enjoy this.

What about your dog?

Are they afraid of water?

What steps did you take to help them?

Tell us below!

“Dogs Don’t Always Take To Water”

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