Trigger is a very handsome 2 1/2 year old Lab/Pit mix. He weighs in at 67 lbs. Trigger was found by his pet parents when he was about 4 weeks old. (Apparently, Trigger had been abandoned.) Trigger loves going on walks and running around in parks. He loves the beach and playing tug of war with ropes.
As you can see from his pics, I always put a life vest on first-time swimmers (even if they are a breed that is known to love the water). Also, I never take my hands off a novice swimmer (or, for that matter, a more experienced swimmer). I believe this helps the dog in three ways: (i) if they are nervous, it brings them comfort knowing that I am right there at their side; (ii) they form a trust/bond with me, and (iii) with that growing trust/bond, the dog will begin to relax. – The dog does the swimming, I am there to support them, both literally and figuratively.
Considering this was Trigger's first time in a pool, he was (understandably) uncertain about what was happening. As we (Trigger and Jean) entered the pool, I first move to what I call an "island" in the center of the pool. I placed Trigger's four paws on that island, getting him to know this was his "safe" place. I then pick him up off the island and we move slowly around the pool, getting Trigger to get the feel of "not having his paws" on solid ground.
After this, I place one hand under his chest and the other near his neck and “let him swim.” After a few times, Trigger got into the “swim” (so to speak) and enjoyed swimming.
I found Trigger very friendly, loveable and calm throughout his first swim. (I hope Trigger’s mom brings him back!)
For more information about the benefits of Swimming Your Dog, whether its for fun and exercise, or for medical concerns, please call me (Jean) or go to my website: Canine Aquatics.