Helping lab swim smoothly

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by Liza, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. Liza

    Liza Registered Users

    May 29, 2019
    My almost 6 month old lab has been in the water, tried to retrieve, but was very awkward swimming. I don't want her to end up being afraid of swimming and hope to teach her to be more relaxed and use all four legs to swim rather than what looks like flailing in a frantic doggy paddle with front legs. Thoughts on how we can help her?
  2. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Registered Users

    May 26, 2018
    Blackmans Bay, Australia
    Hi @Liza

    I trust that you are letting her make choices about how far she goes out.

    If so, then she will probably get better as she gains more experience. Initially try to keep to calm water.

    Perhaps let her wear a flotation vest. As she gains strength, and experience you can begin to fade the use of the flotation device.
  3. leemyka

    leemyka Registered Users

    Oct 1, 2018
    It took me 12 months to get Bruce to swim be patient, I did it by taking him to the sea and swimming with him not holding him although at first he was trying to climb on me now there's no stopping him and absolutely loves it and it's a good way to tier him out.
    Even today he's been swimming in the canal near our house.

  4. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

    May 9, 2019
    Hampshire UK
    Hi Liza
    At 6 months she is still quite young. Mine wouldn’t dip a toe in until a young female lab showed him the way. He was so excited to be playing chase he forgot where he was and was soon out of his depth. The first few times there was a lot of high kicking but they soon slow down when they are more confident. Just a slight panic to begin with. Find somewhere she only needs a few paddles to get her feet back on the ground and build it up.
    Make sure there are no ducks around or she may end up going further than she wants to!
  5. Ruth Buckley

    Ruth Buckley Registered Users

    Jan 31, 2018
    My dog didn't learn to swim til he was around a year old -he loved the water just didn't go out of his depth. He is now an extremely strong swimmer and this has just come with practice. I've never given him any instruction or even encouragement, he worked it out for himself and clearly really enjoys it.
  6. Henry77

    Henry77 Registered Users

    Oct 9, 2018
    Long Island, New York
    I can hardly keep my one year-old out of the lake and she's been obsessed with swimming ever since she first got over her initial fear of wading into the water - probably around 3-4 months old. I would start off by training the retrieve on dry land to the point where she's good at it. Then start throwing the stick, toy or whatever near the water's edge. Then throw it just barely in the water so she doesn't have to wade in to get it. Then throw it so she has to take just one step, etc. Once mine got over the initial wariness, there was never any looking back. We are at the point where, if we are playing fetch near the water, sometimes she will run right by me and basically beg me to start throwing it in the water. I've been training her now to only go in the water when I want her to. It's been harder than getting her to swim in the first place.

    As far as awkwardness goes, the more she practices, the smoother she'll become. Mine was a little iffy at first, but since she loves fetching so much, her focus on retrieving an item has basically forced her to become a good swimmer to accomplish her goal.

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