How do you treat dogs' fear of water?


Some dogs like to swim, but many are afraid to go near water. Here are some tips to help overcome his fears.

How to help your dog if he is afraid of water 

Many dogs like to swim, but some are afraid to go near water. Whether his distaste for beaches, lakes, and pools stems from a bad experience or your pet is naturally wary, there are ways to help him feel more confident in the bathroom and at the beach. 

To help your dog adapt to the water, it is best to introduce him to it at home where he feels safe and comfortable. Don't expect too much too quickly, because forcing him into the water can increase anxiety about showering or swimming. To help him adjust to his own pace, introduce the dog to this gradually by filling the tub with only a small amount of warm water. Give him rewards and praise when he stays calm in the tank and make sure he stays calm because dogs are good at reading social cues.

Overtime when your dog shows signs of feeling rested, you can add more water. Try adding toys to the tub as well to help distract your pet from their stressful soaking. If you have a yard, you can also invest in a children's pool during the hot months of the year to entice your pet into a cool dip to show him that getting wet can be a fun experience. If he starts relaxing and playing in the pool, you can also join in the fun. Other ways to introduce your dog to the water include playing sprinkler fishing, letting him explore puddles while walking, petting him with a wet towel, and simply walking near a lake or ocean during his daily exercise. 

After your dog has mastered feeling confident in the water at home, you can bring him to the ocean or lake. If he has canine companions, arrange a group outing so your pet can see his friends swimming and learn from them that water can be fun. Continue to praise the dog even in shallow water, which will boost the dog's confidence and form positive associations with the water. If at any point you start to get frustrated, take a break or try again another day, as your pet can get in a bad mood and will start to associate it with swimming.

Some dogs are afraid of swimming and respond well to a personal buoyancy device similar to life jackets worn by humans. With confidence that it won't drown out and the swaddling effect that many animals find soothing, your pet may be able to relax more and truly enjoy their time in a lake, pool, or ocean. During bath time, make sure your bathtub is outfitted with a rubber mat to prevent slipping, and consider investing in a nozzle for rinsing, as the deluge from the bucket can dislodge pets still adjusting to the water. With some time and patience, your four-legged companion should learn to feel comfortable in the water, and may even learn to love swimming.

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