Should you put your pet in swimming lessons? by Jacqueline Valencia

Summer weather brings beach and pool times. If you have a dog then you’re probably excited about bringing them in for a dip and splash in the water with you. But hold up. Not all dogs can swim. It’s true! Depending on the breed or temperament, your dog will either excel at swimming or sink.

As with most things with our pets, do your research first. Your dog should be able to come to you (recall) and do basic commands so you can lead your dog safely in a new situation. Assess if your breed of dog is a swimmer. Labs, Retrievers, German Shepherds, for example, are prone to love the water. French bulldogs and Corgis probably also love water play, but they can’t swim.

Of course, like us, dogs also have a variety of personalities and some may enjoy the water because they’ve always lived around it, or they might be scared of the water because of past trauma, anxiety, or inexperience. These are all things to consider before jumping in the water with your dog.



Swimming lessons can help a lot of dogs though. Places that offer them usually have dogs use lifejackets. They instill confidence in the dog while swimming and it can carry over in their behaviour when they no longer need to use them. Most reputable places that offer these lessons also have the owner join in with their pet for safety reasons, and it is also a good bonding experience.

There are many benefits to dog swimming lessons. For old and arthritic dogs, swimming can help ease their joint pain while giving them the exercise they need. Also, in case of an accident by the water, lessons can afford them a chance at survival. Try to think of all the dangers your dog could get into while on land and how much you protect them from that. Then think of the same things that could happen while they are in the water. Lessons on how to be around pools, beaches, and rivers could save their lives. It could also hold a lot of fun for both you and your pet.  

There are many dog pools in doggie daycare and the like that specialize not just in offering lessons, but an hour or two of fun and exercise in the water. If you are looking for swimming lessons for your dog, there are many places that offer private lessons (in your pool or a facility), or ones at doggie daycares. If your dog is already social, I highly recommend a place with group swims. So while your dog might not need to learn to swim, they will benefit from socializing with other dogs. In turn, if you need it, you can get some time to yourself as well knowing full well your dog is most likely having the time of their life.


  1. Photo by Aldo Houtkamp on Unsplash
  2. Photo by Anthony Duran on Unsplash