Avery’s Swim Session

Avery in a lifevestAvery had his big swim session last Friday.  He seems curious about water and he doesn’t hate getting baths so I was really interested to see if he’d be a swimmer.

Our previous guy hated water so having a dog that might turn out to be a swimmer would be a totally new experience for us.

I’ll give you a heads up and tell you right now that Avery is most definitely not a swimmer.

Nope. Not one bit.

But he tried and did everything we asked of him which is all that we can really expect.  For that I am most proud of him!

Now for how it all went down!

I took Avery to Advanced Animal Care for his swim session.  When you sign up for the orientation, you also schedule a 15 minute appointment with their rehabilitation doctor.  The doctor gives the once over on the dog just to make sure there isn’t anything going on physically that would become worse or aggravated with a swim session.

Once you get clearance, you sign up for an orientation time.

At orientation the dog is fitted with a life vest as a backup because if the dog can’t swim or panics the life vest is there to help them stay afloat.

Avery swimmingThe dog is then taken into the water, right down the steps and in, with the orientation instructor.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Avery just being dragged into the pool right away.  I like to have dogs gently introduced to new things.  But in he went and he splashed around and definitely showed that he was not cut out for swimming.

The instructor had a hold of his vest and was guiding him around and gently talking with him to keep him calm.

Avery swimming

Avery wasn’t having it and wanted out.  Poor guy was so confused on what just happened.

Avery getting a treatOnce he was out of the pool he got lots of loving and treats for being such a good boy.  Then we tried a gentler approach and introduced him to the steps so he could get in and out on his own.

Avery at the poolThe steps are very hard to see and I completely understand a dog not really wanting to step down on them.  We tried to coax him in with treats and I could tell he wanted to step down but was nervous.

Me putting on waddersSo that meant I got suited up and got in the water with him to help show him it was okay.

Avery and I on the pool stepsI had treats and would place my hand on the step so that he could see something was there to step on.  It took some time but he got his paws on the first step.  Then it was time to get him on the second step.

Avery and I on the pool stepsHe got his front paws on the second step but that was about it.  The second step was a big drop from the first one and that made him concerned about what was happening.

I wanted to end the experience on a positive note so at that point I called it a day for him.

Avery in a lifevestHe was such a great boy during the whole experience!  The swimming part freaked him out but I think that’s because he’s never swam before.  That was completely clear the moment he hit the water.

I fully believe that he would enjoy swimming if he could ease into it, like maybe at a lake or something where he could gradually go into the water on his own terms.  And I definitely think it would be beneficial for him to have a swim buddy because that would keep him calmer.

I would always have him in a life vest though if we were to be around water.  I wouldn’t take any chances on him sinking or getting too scared to swim.

If you are local, the check up with the rehab doctor and the first swim orientation are completely free.  Yes, that’s right.  It’s a free service that this clinic does.  The pool is heated, four feet deep and is a salt water pool.

Just make note that the pool is right next to the entrance/exit for doggie day care.  So you will hear dogs in the background and it’s possible that people will be in and out to drop off or pick up their dogs.  This can be a little distracting to the dogs. The pool is fenced so you don’t have to worry about dogs coming into the area while you are having a session.

That’s our experience with swimming!  Does your dog swim?


  1. Took Anna to the lake a few times. She dropped like a rock. Could not swim a lick. She was in a life vest and I eased her out then I helped her to some deeper water and splash she went to the bottom.
    Dobermans are NOT water dogs. She gave me a stink eye for a while after that.

  2. Daisy can’t stand the water!!! Whether it come in the form of rain, a bath, or a proper swim – she’ll have none of it!!! Occasionally when it would get much too hot in the Rockies we would go to a lake and put her in . . . but she’d act rather like a wind up toy, point herself towards the shore, and paddle right out!

    Silly pup!!! :P

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