The portuguese water dog was born to swim and his webbed paws are proof of this. However, even though he was bred to embrace a water world, he still needs to be properly introduced to swimming at a young age in order to ensure he becomes a confident and happy swimmer. After all, just because he has inherited certain characteristics doesn’t mean they will develop positively; he needs to be taught in a safe and comfortable environment.
Here’s how you can teach your portuguese water dog to swim:
• Choose a warm sunny day and visit a calm, quiet beach or river. You should bring someone with you to help with the task. You want to make sure the area where you first give portuguese water dog lessons is free of large crashing waves, loud noises and other people playing in the water. You don’t want him overly distracted or frightened.
• Pick up your pooch and carry him out several feet into the water until you are submerged up to your knees or waist. Place him in the water with one hand under his belly and the other hand holding his tail so his body is level. You should both be facing your helper who should be waiting at the shore.
• As soon as the feet of the eager portuguese water dog comes into contact with the water, he should immediately begin kicking. Hold him until he is vigorously paddling and then remove your hand from his belly, but don’t let go of his tail yet, because you want to keep him level.
• At this point, the person at the shore should begin making excited gestures towards the pooch, such as clapping, jumping and cheering him on to encourage him to swim to them. As soon as your pet begins to move towards them, release his tail and follow him, remaining close so you can scoop him out of the water in case he goes under.
• Repeat this lesson a few times, taking him further and further out into the water. Just remember to always stay near.
Note: You may also teach him how to swim in a pool. However, you need to be aware that portuguese water dog fur will find its way into your filter and there is a risk the liner can be damaged or ripped from his claws. Furthermore, you need to make sure he has a way out of the pool (I.E. steps or a ramp) and that there is only a mild amount of chlorine in the water, as this chemical can severely dry out the dog’s skin and coat. Nevertheless pool lessons follow the same steps as the one’s mentioned above.