Sunday, June 22, 2008

Swimming lessons

I spent Thursday and Friday at a Stuart Mah seminar, and I'm probably going to write a post about it when I get around to it, but I wanted to finally get around to posting about Pinky's swim lesson. Complete with photos!

Dogs can pretty much swim on their own; if they find themselves in water they figure out how to keep their heads above water and move themselves toward the shore. But until they try it, a lot of dogs don't know that they know how to swim, and many will avoid getting into the water if they can help it. Some will take the plunge if they see other dogs or people having fun in the water, but Pinky's not one of those. She doesn't even like stepping into a puddle.

When Lucy and Mr. Gomez were pups, we "taught" them to swim, by which I mean we helped them discover they could do it with little swimming lessons. It's pretty simple--you find a place where you can go into the water with your dog (we lived in Chicago at the time so chose a beach on Lake Michigan), then you carry the dog into water and let her swim back to shore by your side while you praise and encourage her. It worked beautifully, and now both dogs really enjoy taking a dip. Mr. Gomez, who has a rather obsessive personality, is nuts about swimming (especially if there is a ball to fetch). He's really the most awesome swimming dog I've ever seen--very fast and smooth, like a great big otter. Lucy's pretty good, too.

Pinky was past due for a swim lesson, so last weekend we headed out to a local swimming hole. Here I am carrying her in:

She's swimming! But she doesn't look like she's having a lot of fun:

All wet!

I did the carry-and-swim about 6 times. At one point, Pinky willingly got in and swam when I tossed a ball, but mostly she just hung out on the bank and watched me, Lucy and Mr. Gomez having a good time. We're going back today for another go.

And now for a few gratuitous photos:

Lucy and me:

Lucy gets the ball:

The two cutest little dogs in the world:

A damn fine dog:


Johann The Dog said...

Swimming is so great! I got lessons early on too. Sure wish there were safe places to swim around here, I'd love to go again! You look like you are having so much fun.

Woofs, Johann

cedarfield said...

Looks great! Where do you swim? I'd love to find a place I could go with my dogs.

Lisa B. said...

This is at Sennett Hole at West Point on the Eno. You can find trail maps here:

The best time seems to be early Sunday morning.

Pacco de Mongrel said...

i never learn how to swim, but once my owner drag me into the sea with her, i can't wait to swim back to the shore...

jdege said...

James Thurber told a story about a society matron who brought her young water spaniel to the operator of a turkish bath in Albany - which had the only swimming pool in town at the time.

She said that they would be visiting the beach with the grandkids in a few months, and would it be possible for him to teach her dog how to swim.

He said he was pretty sure that a course of weekly lessons at $5/lesson should do it. Three months later she took the dog to the beach, and was overjoyed at how well it had learned its lessons...