Bred to swim
Raising guide dogs for the blind is a wonderful fulfilling task that I work on everyday. Part of the training is exposing the dogs to water. Most of the guide dogs are labs and retrievers which are both bred to swim in the lakes and retrieve ducks.
So my dog has been swimming in a lake and ocean. Both times he had hesitation about getting into the water. We encouraged him and let him go into the water at his own pace. Once he gets the confidence to go in far enough that the water was over his head, instinct kicks in and the feet start moving the tail start wagging and off he goes across the lake and through the ocean.
So last week we decided to take him to a pet kennel that has a swimming pool, indoor, of course. We are so excited, our little one hasn’t been able to swim since this summer. Now there is a big difference between a pool and a lake or ocean. The first thing he did when we went into the pool room was run in and stop. The smell of chlorine made my eyes burns. I can only imagine what the smell was like for him. Because the smell was so strong he didn’t want to get in the water. Once I splashed around, he realized, oh this is water, “I like water”.
In he went. We thought, this is great. The one thing we didn’t realize was that he didn’t know how to get out. He swam to the end of the pool and then tried to get out by climbing the wall. I am panicking because I see that he is panicking, trying to climb the wet pool wall. I grabbed his leash hooked it to his collar and lead him back to the pool steps. I left the leash on for a few laps until I was sure that he understood how to get out.
Once he got it, game on. He swam and swam and swam. There is nothing like seeing a dog do what he was bred to do. Here are some shots of our pool experience