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Old 05-17-2011, 03:21 AM   #1
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Water play great for dogs...a few risks

LOS ANGELES — When you think of four-legged swimmers, Labrador retrievers might come to mind. But any dog can take to the water if enticed properly.
“I don’t think that every dog has an inherent skill. They might all have an idea what to do but some dogs do it much better than others. Some are born to swim. Some are never meant to put foot in the water,” said veterinarian Karl E. Jandrey, who works in the emergency and critical care units at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis.



  • May 3, 2011 photo, Valentine, a 4-year-old, 42-pound, short-snouted English bulldog, as she works with obedience trainer and animal behaviorist Cora Wittekind during her swimming lesson at the Paradise Ranch Pet Resort in the Sun Valley section of Los Angeles. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends introducing your dog to the water very early, as a puppy if possible, making sure the experience is pleasant and never letting the dog get in water over its head until it is an accomplished swimmer. Never force a dog into the water, the experts said.





Valentine is a 4-year-old, 42-pound, short-snouted English bulldog with stumpy legs who is heavy on both ends and looks like she would sink if placed in water.
For three years, James MacKinnon of Los Angeles, an Emmy-winning TV and movie makeup artist, went to great lengths to protect Valentine from the swimming pool at his home. Then a year ago, he started boarding her at Paradise Ranch Pet Resort in Sun Valley, a cage-free, luxury country club and water park for dogs about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. (You can board cats there too, but the water is off limits to them.)
It turns out Valentine loves the water. During the eight months MacKinnon traveled for work last year, with more time away this year, Valentine lost seven pounds, partly due to swimming. Her health improved, her endurance grew and she became fast friends with a Rottweiler named Chico who loves to dive off the dock.
She probably decided to try it when she saw how much fun all the other dogs — including Chico — were having, said Chico’s owner, Cora Wittekind, an animal behaviorist who worked with Valentine.


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http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...iiG_story.html
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:53 PM   #2
Labman
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Ah, early socialization. I have gotten many Lab puppies in the fall and often they don't have a chance to swim until the next summer. Many of them want nothing to do with the water by then.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:41 PM   #3
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It is important to expose them to water for a number of reasons. From my perspective as a massage worker, many of the dogs need to swim to help alleviate the chronic conditions that they have. Unfortunately, most people don't have access to pools or other forms of swimming water. Many of the swim therapy places are cost prohibitive.
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:33 PM   #4
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Another reason to teach a puppy to swim is for the chance that they will accidently fall into deep water.
I have a short legged Basset mix who I taught to swim by going into a lake with treats. When I'm in the water to my knees, it's swimming depth for Elsa June. She loves to cool her heels in shallow water when it's hot out, but was very reluctant to swim. I asked her to swim a few feet to me and gave her a treat and she swam back to shore. I extended the distance until she could swim several yards to me (always in the water to help if she panics)
One day we watched a Springer running off the end of a dock retrieving a ball for it's owner. Elsa got caught up in the excitement and followed the Springer off the end of the dock. She went under from her jump and came up paddling for shore. I was glad I had insisted on teaching her to swim or I would have been diving in after her

PS- my parents made sure we could swim for the same reason

Last edited by elsasmom : 05-18-2011 at 04:34 PM. Reason: added PS
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:14 PM   #5
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Great point. Many dogs do not know how to swim automatically. If the panic, they will drown. And an owner may drown trying to save them.
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