wendy2012It seems so fundamental to being a dog that we have even named a stroke after them, the dog paddle. Naturally, you would assume, that is another thing that dogs are born knowing how to do. 


While I have not ever had the opportunity to take, my Boston terrier fosters, and other dogs to the lakes and streams, of which there are many around here; we have had many lucky folks that have. Several of our Readers have also ask about just how one would go about introducing their Boston Terrier or other dogs to water… 


There are several opinions on how to introduce our pets to water that may help you if you would like to introduce your dogs. The general consciences are to go slowly, and make it fun. 


If you want to introduce a puppy to water, you will want to wait until she is about 4 or 5 months old Fiona1Swimbefore you try introducing a puppy to a baby pool. Make sure the water is warm like bath water.


Unlike the water loving dogs like retrievers and similar breeds, you need to be aware that those smooched faces, make it hard for them to keep their noses above water. Their compact bodies mean they do not float well, so be careful. There are several other methods of introducing our pets to water that you may want try.  One is using a water sprinkler and running in and out with your Boston. 


 One of my friends likes to introduce his Bostons to water by playing with them in shallow puddles right after a good rain. or by running with them in some of the shallow drain ditches that run at the edge of his yard. He has found that if he has a water-loving dog already at his home, the new dog will be more likely to follow its lead and learn to play happily around the water faster. 


One owner of Bostons suggests, “We put them on a raft so they could get used to the swimming pool. Then once that was okay, we introduced them to the water. Definitely have life jackets also." 


Toys are suggested to help introduce dogs to the water. After a while, they should get so fixated on wanting to play that they forget that they were afraid of the water. 


However, if you choose to introduce your Boston or other dogs to water consider these experiences. "She stepped into a pond once, not realizing it was deep, and wouldn't go back into water for over a month”. On the other hand, “I couldn't keep mine out of the water. I had to hold them, because they didn't have sense enough to hold their head up." 


I have also noticed that many dogs now have life vests when in boats and near deep water. After reading several comments from people who have bought them, I cannot imagine ever taking a dog near  water without one. As one person commented,  “ My Boston always loved to TRY to swim but failed miserably. Sank like rocks. Invest in life jackets. Worth their weight in gold” 


Some Boston terriers no matter what you try will only go the first step. Even if his favorite toy float in the water just out of reach. Nothing you do will make them like the water.


Also, be aware if you take them to a lake or ocean side, the waves can scare them. Give them time to get used to the movement and sounds, by walking along the edge, so their feet get wet. You go in a little deeper see if they follow...or...let them get drinks out of the hose to start...if find they like water or not. It's easier to get them use to it as pups...but, best rule "don't throw them in...Don’t force.. First, just take them to where they can just walk in so their feet always touch". 


 Not all Bostons are shy of deep water.  There was a family of three Bostons, who swam in the family pool so well, they would jump off the diving board after balls.  Some dogs are born swimmers, and then problem is not getting the dog into the water, but keeping it on dry land. 


 Some dogs have to be taught to swim, and others, like bulldogs, take to the water like submarines. For the former, there is hope. For the latter, there are those bright orange canine flotation devices. 


Among those that cannot swim at all or swim only with great difficulty are Basset hounds, Bulldogs, Dachshunds, Pugs, Corgis, Scottish and Boston terriers and Greyhounds. 


Safety First 

Use the rules similar to those one would use with children, including never leaving a dog unattended at a pool. Even a dog that knows how to swim can jump in a pool and not be able to get out, which could lead to drowning.


Continued on part 2 of 2