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How To Introduce Your Dog To The Swimming Pool For The First Time

Some dogs are irresistibly attracted to water. They genuinely love swimming to the extent that they always jump enthusiastically into the pool. These canines adore the thrill of swimming and always have a splashing good time.

On the flip side, there are a select group of dogs who are absolutely terrified of the water. They whine pitifully, lower their tail, and shiver uncontrollably. Some refuse to dip their paws into the pool while others hover around the water park’s door— as if their dear lives depend on it.

Isn’t the stark behavioural difference between these two groups of dogs so puzzling? Many reasons (e.g. breed, age & personality) can account for this difference. One prime reason is whether a doggie was properly introduced to the swimming pool.

Would you like your dog to learn to love the water and thus reap the fantastic benefits of swimming? Have no clue how to get your dog to swim? Unsure whether dogs who hate baths necessarily dislike swimming? This article is paw-fect for you.

Read on to find out:

- Can dogs swim?

- Are dogs natural swimmers?

- How to teach my dog to swim?

- Why should dogs swim?

- Pet Master Mega Store: a one-stop paradise

- Pet Master’s Paws4Splash: a beginner-friendly pool


Can dogs swim? Do dogs need to be taught to swim?

 dog with colourful balls

The short answer: yes, dogs can typically swim. Most canines can swim instinctively— without being taught.

Nonetheless, their swimming proficiency is affected by their breed. Certain dog breeds (e.g., the Portuguese Water Dog, Labrador Retriever) were born to swim. However, other dog breeds are not natural swimmers (e.g. Dachshunds, Corgis).

Although nature does play a role in affecting a dog’s swimming ability, it is not everything. Don’t worry if your dog is not a natural swimmer. Its swimming skills can probably improve over time through practice and strategic, patient guidance from you.

This is great news! We strongly believe that the wonderful benefits of canine swimming make it worthwhile for you to invest the time to teach your furbaby to swim.

Why should dogs learn how to swim?

Benefits of teaching your dog to swim:

— It boosts physical well-being as swimming is a rigorous workout. 1 minute of swimming is equivalent to 4 minutes of running. What an excellent way to save time!

— It strengthens dogs' muscles and builds endurance without straining joints (the rationale behind canine hydrotherapy). Hence, swimming makes an excellent life-long sport for dogs.

— It enhances mental health as this stress-relieving sport is highly stimulating. So, it does wonders in busting your dog’s boredom.

— It cools your canine down. Dogs can effectively beat the heat through swimming, which is especially important because of Singapore’s sweltering hot weather.

Fun fact: just because your dog dislikes baths doesn’t necessarily mean it hates swimming. Some dogs don’t like baths but enjoy swimming probably because the latter activity is fun and they’re in control.


How to teach my dog to swim?

happy dog near pool

The famed author, Dale Carnegie once said, “We rarely succeed unless we have fun in what we are doing”.

As such, you need to make swimming as fun as possible for your doggie. Your goal is not only to teach your dog how to swim but also to encourage your furbaby to enjoy this sport.

Positive reinforcement

To achieve the aforementioned outcome, you must kindly introduce your dog to the pool by adopting the principle of positive reinforcement. Reward your dog immediately after it performs well (e.g. takes its first step into the pool) with praise, pool toys, treats, & etc.

This reward system will help your dog learn that swimming is a pleasurable activity that comes with many rewards.

Pro tip: Find a swimming buddy for your dog to show it that swimming is fun! This will also help dogs to pick up swimming faster because they have a role model (another dog) to learn from.

Tap on your social network to find someone with a dog who swims well. If this dog is friendly to your dog, invite them to join you during your swimming session.

Alternatively, you can also visit dog water parks during peak hours (e.g.weekends).

A structured approach 

Do not throw your scared dog into the pool straight away (unless you think that your dog is actually a dolphin).

 You have to understand that dogs— especially if they are under-socialised— may feel anxious during their first swimming session. Take things slowly, and support your dog, before letting go. Schedule a break/a few breaks in between the swimming session if your dog looks tired and/or scared.

Step-by-step guide for your dog’s first swimming lesson

1)    Help your dog to wear a life jacket (or film it if it can wear the life jacket itself).

2)    Let your dog roam around the pool freely for a while. This will give it time to get used to this new space.

3)    Encourage your dog to step into the pool. Slowly coax your dog into the water, supporting it under its belly so that it can paddle.

4)    Gradually bring your dog around the pool, reducing support slowly. Navigate around the shallow areas near the pool’s edge.

5)    Let your dog swim on its own when it looks happy and confident (happy and confident), let it swim on its own. Still, for safety’s sake, you should constantly monitor it — even when it’s in shallow water.

6)    Directly after the swimming session, feed your dog some treats to reward it.

7)    Finally, wash and dry your dog.

 *Regularly reward your dog with praise and floating toys throughout the swimming session.

Pet Master Mega Store: a one-stop pets paradise

pet master mega store

There’s one word that best summarises why Pet Master Mega Store is a must-visit attraction: hyperconvenience. Our dog-friendly Pet Master Mega Store (located next to East Coast Park’s dog run), which consists of a pool (Paws 4 Splash), retail outlet, and do-it-yourself grooming rooms (DIY Dog Wash), is truly a one-stop pets paradise.

Looking for a cool pool for you and your furbaby to beat the heat? Want to buy some new pool toys for your furbaby? Want your dog to run about in Singapore's largest dog run? Want to clean your dog at a well-equipped grooming facility? Ran out of treats? In need of some retail therapy?

All your wishes can come true on the same day because our ultra-convenient mega store centralises many pet-friendly facilities, saving you tons of time.

Even many of the restaurants surrounding our mega store are dog-friendly. So, your canine companion can join you to have a drink and delicious meal after your pet adventure.

Why should you visit Paws 4 Splash?

 happy dog at paws 4 splash

Fun:  At Paws 4 Splash, you and your dog can have the time of your life, improving your bond. Dogs will have a thrilling time exercising, playing with pool toys, and even befriending other doggies. 

Sanitised: Our pool is filled with sanitised water and is closed for cleaning maintenance every Tuesday.

Safe: Only healthy dogs up-to-date with their vaccinations and have good skin conditions will be allowed in the pool. Valid vaccination documents must be presented as proof.

Rest assured, high-quality complimentary life jackets of various sizes will be provided for dogs playing at our 0.9m deep pool. As our pool can fit 4 large dogs and 4 adults, you can join your dog in the pool. So, even first-time swimmers can have a safe time.

Learn more about Paws 4 Splash

Tap/ click here to learn more about how to keep your dogs safe around water.

Written by Jolene

Jolene is a writer who adores animals. That is why she derives deep satisfaction from researching and writing about animal-related topics.