AACC Swimming Guidance
Top Things to Keep in Mind:
- Patience – some dogs need a lot of slow, repetitive introductions to get comfortable in the pool. Take your time and don’t rush it.
- Positivity – use treats and toys and the dog’s loyalty to their owner as motivation.
- Persistence – don’t give up, but also don’t traumatize the dog. Give them plenty of breaks and try again. (Make sure owners understand NOT to force dog into pool)
- Encouragement- treats, toys, love, vocal, all the positive encouragement!
Getting to Know the Area:
- Please keep your dog on leash outside of gated pool and yard area
- Please keep all items that cannot get wet outside of pool area
- Help yourself to our waders on wall in an array of sizes, human bathroom, dog bathroom/yard, towels in middle plastic cabinet under stairs, green hamper for wet towels, toys in milk crate, life vest hanging on the wall, spray station for rinsing dogs-bring your own shampoo.
Please let your dog take time to sniff around inside the gated pool area and pool yard outside. We always recommend letting your dog get as comfortable as possible before introducing them to something new and possibly scary. Be aware that some dogs don’t see the side of the pool- help keep them from running and accidently slipping in.
If your dog has never been swimming before at all (including pond/lake) highly recommend life vest on to start out. Not only will this help with the dog swimming, but it will give you a good handle to assist in the water.
In the beginning, if your dog is really nervous they won’t even recognize their favorite toy, ball, treat etc. Once they start to recognize and go for a toy… they are beginning to relax! Please be assured that this is normal and part of the process. If they love to fetch and love toys and won’t go for them the first few laps, it’s okay. As soon as they relax and are more confident they will start retrieving. When they do, give a ton of verbal praises.
Key words: Using consistent words when helping your dog swim is critical. Here are some examples.
“Let’s go swim!” – leading into pool, guiding down the stairs.
“Steps..find your steps”- helping guide your dog to exit out of the pool. (Most try to climb out the sides their very first time in the pool, because they are trying to find the way out.)
“Find your ball”- fetching, jumping off stairs/side of pool.
Steps: Very few will just go to the steps willingly. Line your dog up to the entrance of the steps and show them the steps. Try to have your dog follow you in with the help of toys, treats, and LOTS of vocal encouragement. NEVER pull, push, or force your dog into the pool- this will most always traumatize them.
Once on steps, don’t let them out yet! Sit at the top of the stairs on the concrete and BLOCK the top step if you need to. They will acclimate MUCH faster if you keep them in. Med & large dogs can rest on the second step, small dogs the first step. With vest on, use handles and turn dog sideways so all four legs are touching on the steps. Stand or even sit on steps with dog. Put arms around dog to console & give him/her praises. Make it a calming, relaxing, positive moment.
Need help into the pool once your dog has mastered the steps? Gently lower your dog into the pool, don’t hold them too tight give them enough space to adjust. Get in as you do this and walk small circles then back to the stairs. Continue this pattern while widening your circles each time. If your dog is flailing you can put your arm on-top of theirs to help calm them.
Allow breaks: Make sure to give often potty breaks, mental breaks, and physical breaks. Especially our elder dogs.
Once they have the stairs down it all seems to click!
Once your dog gets past the initial training he/she should be confidence, relaxing, and having fun! If at any point you do not feel comfortable with swimming your dog, please alert one of our staff members. After swimming we advise drying your dog’s ears out to avoid any ear infections (moisture = yeast)
Swimming is now your dog’s FAVORITE?
We offer multiple different options for using our pool
- Splash Packages (5 for $57, 10 for $108)
- $12/Splash Session (30 min. unless no one is waiting to use pool)
- $25/pool party (1 hour w/other dogs every 3rd Wednesday of the month)
- Daycare Splash ($10 for 30 min-1 hr. @11am while dog is in Daycare)