Many people assume dogs automatically know how to swim well; in fact, they need training and practice to feel confident in the water. A number of actions can help your dog safely build this skill.
Start small by introducing your dog to shallow water, such as a small lake or a pool. For puppies, you might want to get a kiddie pool.
While some dogs show interest in the water right away, others need a bit of encouragement. Use a favorite toy to tempt the dog into shallow water alongside you. Once your dog is comfortable entering and playing around there, you can let him or her go in water that is a little deeper. Hold your dog’s body to provide support while he or she tries to dog paddle for the first time.
Understand that your dog might be anxious, so be patient and provide plenty of encouragement. As the dog practices swimming, gradually move toward more shallow water. With these basic first steps, your dog will be ready for plenty of swimming fun.