Help Your Dog Get Over His Fear of Water

The image of dogs frolicking in a pond or lake may seem like the most natural thing in the world, but for some dogs, it’s very far from reality. Not all dogs like water play, and some are downright afraid of getting in the water. If your dog is afraid of water, you may be able to help him overcome his fear. Here’s how to help your dog get over his fear of water.

Go slow

You can’t force a dog to overcome a fear of the water. Pushing or forcing your dog into the water will only serve to panic him. Instead, take it slow and introduce water play slowly. Start by luring your dog to the water’s edge with treats. Remember to give plenty of praise along the way, even if he’s just put his paws in the water.

You might be able to carry your dog into the water and hold him for a few minutes. If your dog panics, let him out immediately. It may take several tries before your dog lets you keep him in for more than a few seconds, so be patient. Never throw your dog into the water. This could lead to panic and even injuries for your pet.

Floatation devices are your dog’s friends

They make doggie floatation devices for a reason--they can help keep your pet safe while he’s getting used to being in over his head. When your dog realizes that he won’t automatically sink in the deep water, his confidence will grow and his fears will diminish. Just remember to watch for exhaustion. Your dog may become overly confident and he could wear himself out playing in the water for too long.

Not all dogs can swim

No matter how much you press the issue, some breeds just won’t love being in the water. Dogs with large heads and dense, bulky bodies (think Staffordshire Bull terriers, Pekingese, etc.) aren’t really made for swimming. If your dog appears to be struggling at any point, pull him out of the water and end the session with lots of cuddles and reassurances.

For more tips on teaching your dog to love the water, visit the helpful staff at Bark Busters.

Tags Dog safety

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