If you are the proud owner of a Labrador, you should know that this is a breed that loves to swim! In the past, Labradors were used by the fishermen of Newfoundland because of their excellent swimming abilities and their water repellent coats. Here are some tips for letting your Lab flex his swimming muscles!
Choose the right place for swimming
If you’re just starting out with your Labrador, you’ll need to choose somewhere that’s as safe as possible for swimming. That means choosing a calm stretch of water with no waves or strong currents. It helps if there are shallows where your dog can paddle on foot first. Look for somewhere with shallow shorelines so that your Lab can climb out of the water easily if he gets tired.
Start puppies gradually
If you have a pup with no swimming experience, you’ll need to get him used to the water. Whilst most Labs will have a natural affinity for the water and will be eager to try swimming, some puppies can be nervous of the unknown. Try playing a game of fetch in the shallows of the water first, then coaxing them deeper each time. It’s best if you can put on your swim suit and join your pup – he will feel more confident that way.
Bring a swim buddy with you
If you have a friend with a dog who already loves to swim, why not bring him along? The experienced dog can serve as an example to your Labrador, who will be able to see that there’s nothing to be feared from taking a dip. Labs are very sociable, and it should also make the experience more fun!
Buy some supplies
Once you have had a successful swimming session, you’ll need to stock up on items like waterproof toys that will float in the water. For sailing trips and fishing excursions where you are taking your dog to deep water, you might want to consider buying a special doggy life jacket, which you can get from online shops.
After your Labrador has been swimming, it’s a good idea to rinse him off when you get home. You can hose off your dog after each swim with the use of a garden hose or even a watering can. This will get rid of any debris that may have been in the water, and make sure the coat dries nicely without odours.