It’s important to teach dogs to swim using purposeful positive reward training methods. Not all dogs show natural willingness to get into bodies of water. Using swim vests helps during the learning process. I would never recommend throwing or forcing dogs into bodies of water. The “sink or swim” is a careless teaching method. This method is potentially harmful and could traumatize your dog for life. If you enjoy water sports and want the company of your dog/s, you’ll want this to be a pleasurable learning experience.
I’ve selected Squishy Face Flirt Pole as lure. It’s important to observe your dogs behavior during entire lesson. One observation is BettyB releases the lure. She’s encouraged to return to shore (safety & choice). When she returns to shore, she doesn’t run off (choice)! She stays engaged, she’s watching me. She returns to swim lesson without any force. BettyB is learning this activity is fun and provides sense of safety. She is allowed to escape the deeper water. She releases the lure. She shows little to no panic type behavior. This is critically important. Using swim vests are helpful. They provide sense of safety, critical during learning and in scary environments. You want to see your unwilling participant return to the water, using their own initiative. Given sufficient time and building confidence, perhaps she will become the fanatic water retriever Boudicca was during her more youthful years.
Watch on YouTube here BettyB 2nd swim lesson. Better prepared. Better location.