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What to do Before Letting Your Dog in the Pool
Before Monica and Dixie arrived, I made sure to take out my pool's vacuum cleaner because I didn't want it to scare Dixie. I turned off my pool pump because I knew Dixie would lose hair in the pool. It is much easier to skim hair off the top with a net instead of clogging up my filter. I also tested my pool levels with these strips from Amazon to ensure the chlorine was not too strong. Sunrise Pool Service recommends chlorine level for a pool is 1-3 milligrams per liter. Once I had prepared the pool, I let Monica know it was time to teach Dixie to swim!
Making sure Dixie was safe when she was around the pool and other water was the most important thing to Monica and me. Before we brought Dixie out of the house, we made sure she knew basic commands such as sit, stay, and come. This ensured that when we introduced Dixie to the pool, she would be safe.
Teaching your dog basic commands like sit, stay, and come is a good idea as it teaches your puppy that you are in charge and builds respect between you and your pup. These commands are also useful when socializing your dog or introducing them to new situations, like the pool. If you haven't already taught your dog these basic commands, check out this video, it's what we used to teach Dixie.
Once we were confident that Dixie would follow commands despite the distraction of the pool, we gave her some much-needed pool prep pampering. First, we brushed any loose hair out of her coat with a grooming brush. Then we trimmed and filed down her nails so no rough edges could scrape the pool or us as she learned how to paddle. We gave her a quick bath with the hose to ensure Dixie didn't bring dirt into the pool. Pre-bathing allowed us to introduce Dixie to water and remove any debris caught in her luscious double coat.
How to Get your Dog in the Pool?
Since Golden Retrievers are well known for their love of water, we thought Dixie would jump right into the pool. This was not the case. Dixie danced around the water's edge as Monica called her from inside the pool. She wouldn't even so much as dip a toe into the pool. We eventually got her in the pool, but we had to try some different techniques before she took that leap of faith.
Dixie knew the command "Come" like the back of her paw, and she loved the rubs and kisses she got in reward for running to Monica. We had Dixie sit and stay a few feet away from the pool's shallow end, then Monica, who was in the pool, gave the "Come" command. Dixie leaped from her sitting position and ran towards Monica, then abruptly stopped at the pool's edge, whining for Monica to come to her.
After trying commands didn't work, we decided we needed some higher value rewards for the pool. We played fetch with Dixie on land to reduce the stress she was showing towards the pool. After a few rounds, she began to calm down, so we decided to try the pool again. We lobbed her ball onto the first step of the pool, hoping she would at least put her front paws onto the step so she could get her ball. Dixie did not take the bait.
Using Other Dogs
After hours of trying to get Dixie in the water, Monica and I decided to throw in the towel for the day and try again when she was older. Throughout all the festivities of attempting to convince Dixie to get in the water, my dogs were going nuts because they wanted to go swim. I let my dogs out of the house to let them play with Dixie; the three of them love playing together.
The dogs sniffed at Dixie, played for a few minutes, and then my pups were sprinting for the pool. To our surprise, Dixie was tight on their tails. My dogs jumped into the water and started paddling around. After observing for a few seconds, Dixie jumped in after them.
Dogs are social, pack animals, so it makes sense that Dixie followed the lead of two older dogs accustomed to what she perceived as scary. While using other tricks to get your dog into the pool may work for you and your pup, the old "Monkey see, Monkey do" trick seemed to work best for Dixie!
How Long Should Golden Retrievers Swim?
My dogs love hanging out in the pool. Usually, they lay on a big foam raft and doze in the sun. The day Dixie learned how to swim, though, they didn't climb up onto the raft. They just kept jumping off the shallow step and swimming in circles. I assume they were showing Dixie the ropes as she was following them around. Monica and I wondered, how long should they swim?
The American Kennel Club recommends limiting swimming time to a maximum of 10 minutes. Dogs can stay in the pool for longer if they relax, but continuous swim should be monitored and limited as many Golden Retrievers do not know their limits.
In the end, we had to drag the dogs out of the pool, a significant improvement from Dixie's original hesitation!
What to do after swimming in the pool
Once we had all three dogs out of the pool, it was time to take care of both the dogs and the pool.
Just like humans, chlorine from the pool can cause a dog's skin to dry out. We took all the dogs to the shower and gave them each a quick bath with a moisturizing shampoo to prevent their skin and hair from drying out, which can cause dandruff and increased shedding. I knew my dogs didn't have any allergies to the pool because they'd been swimming in it for years. However, we made sure to monitor Dixie for any signs of itching or allergies since it was her first time in the pool.
Once bath time was over, we dried the dogs off and gave them some dog food. I added some chicken broth and water into their bowls. As dogs swim, they can unintentionally swallow some pool water, which can cause them to become dehydrated. Adding chicken broth or water to your dogs' food after swimming is a yummy way to get them rehydrated.
As the dogs ate their food, Monica and I began the process of cleaning the pool. I used this skimming net to get all the dog hair off the surface of the water. Monica put my pool vacuum back into the pool to get anything that sunk to the bottom or was still clinging to the sides. I also made sure to turn my pump back on and retest the chemical balance of the pool.
Swimming is an excellent source of entertainment for your Golden Retriever. The tool allows you to monitor your dog in a controlled environment to learn how to swim. While most Golden Retrievers have a natural affinity for water, some dogs may hesitate to jump in the pool. There are many different ways to acclimate a skittish pup to the pool.
If you decide to let your Golden Retriever swim in your pool, be prepared for extra maintenance on both your dog and your pool. Make sure to wash your dog after pool time to prevent dry skin and other allergy issues. Most importantly, make sure to monitor your dog in the pool and never leave them unattended while swimming. Stay safe and have fun!
About THE AUTHOR
Shelby has a love for animals of all types and enjoys researching and writing about them. She’s currently a student at the University of Florida. When she’s not studying she enjoys volunteering in her community and spending time in nature.Read more about Shelby Hatcher