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Does your dog swim?

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We will all welcome summer this weekend! For many LA dog lovers, summer means swimming: in pools, at the beach, with their pooch. Did you know that not all dogs can swim well? Some actually hate the water. Think about it; while a mutt can pick up swimming techniques faster than a human, some dogs swim because they have to for survival and not because they like to.

So if you plan on diving in with your dog this summer, then please read this...

1) Teach your dogs to swim one step at a time - throwing your mutts into the pool or lake for fun will only create trauma for them, specially if they haven't really swam before.

2) Make it a game: throw their stick or ball in for them to fetch is a good start and then increase the fetch distance slowly. Also train them so they know where is the best spot to get out if they are swimming in a pool.

3) If your dog start to panic, the best way is to use a calm voice to tell them to swim back to shore.

4) Watch for ear infections from your dog getting water in their ear.

5) make sure to rinse off your dog after going to the beach or even diving into a pool.

Bliss absolutely loves the water. When she was a puppy, I actually took her to swimming lessons because she tended to panic and I knew she needed confidence. As an Australian Shepherd, her tail was docked at birth and dogs without tails tend to do the dog paddle because it is difficult for them to keep their rears up. But, with a little practice, a lot of praise and some patience, Bliss now loves the water and actually competes in dock diving!

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