Do you have a water loving dog?
Some dogs are more comfortable supervising the summer proceedings from a high and-dry deck chair. Other dogs who love water take to it like a duck and just can’t get enough of the fun. If this sounds like your pooch, then these five fun activities will get the tail of your dog wagging!
Canine Safety for Dogs Who Love Water
Before we get into the fun stuff, we need to talk about doggie safety. Even if your dog seems born to swim, they should always be fitted with an appropriate life jacket when participating in water sports. Unfamiliar situations can bring out behaviors you may not have seen in your pup before.
A life vest prevents the worst, while also providing an easy way for you to grab and maneuver your dog out of unsafe situations.
Sun safety tip: Remember that our furry friends are just as susceptible to the sun’s rays as we are! When heading outdoors for water sports, be sure to apply a suitable SPF to your dog regularly.
Now for the good ole splashing fun!
5 Water Activities for Water-Loving Dogs
1. Dock Diving
Has your pup nailed your usual game of fetching the stick from the water? Dock diving takes this game a step further by adding some extra elements to challenge your pet’s brain.
To begin, throw a favorite floating toy of your pets into the pool. The aim is for your dog to give chase, diving off of a dock or other similar surface into the water to retrieve the toy. The success of the dive is then measured by the length of your dog’s jump.
Of course, if you are simply playing for fun then there’s no need to push your pet to perform! The sport is easy on your dog’s joints and muscles, allowing any pooch the opportunity to play to their heart’s content. This makes it our top choice for older dogs.
If your dog has taken a shine to dock jumping, you’ll be happy to discover that it is a recognized competitive sport! Simply search for clubs in your local area to get started.
2. Water Retrieval
If your dog is included on the American Kennel Club’s list of 16 Breeds That Are Born to Swim, then it’s likely that retrieval is a natural instinct for them. Many dogs love to play fetch and water games are fun, especially when it’s hot.
Water retrieval is similar to dock diving in that the dog is encouraged to pursue an object through the water. The key difference is that retrieval does not have to involve any diving into the water. You throw a favorite toy or ball into the pool, with the end goal of your dog following and retrieving it.
The use of a weighted sinking toy provides an extra challenge for your dog and helps to develop their confidence in the water. As this does involve underwater swimming, retrieving is best practiced in a controlled environment.
It is also sensible to start in shallow water. A large dog-friendly swimming pool is an ideal space to begin training with your dog.
3. Dog-Friendly Kayaking
Kayaking with your dog can result in some epic adventures and beautiful memories. It opens up the possibility of long-distance journeys, overnight trips, and even the ability to include a second person in the fun.
Unfortunately, it also requires a substantial financial commitment to get started should you not have any access to hiring equipment.
When deciding on whether kayaking is worth the investment for you, consider the personality and interests of your pet. Are they always eager to explore the water and land around them? If so, you may need to compromise on going on smaller trips with more frequent stops.
Kayaking is possible with any dog – you just need to work with them.
4. Dog-Friendly Paddle Boarding
While keeping both you and your dog on balance may sound daunting, the key to a successful paddleboarding trip is simply in preparation.
Training your dog to carefully follow commands such as sit, leave it, and down while on the board will help prevent any precarious situations. You can also try adding in some more strenuous water play before heading out to paddle, burning off any extra energy before you go.
Compared to kayaks, the open build of a paddle board is far easier for dogs to mount and dismount. This makes them the perfect pet-friendly watercraft for small dog breeds that love water.
5. Doggy Surfing
Cowabunga, dude! If you’re an avid surfer with a dog who loves the water, why not let them join you? On top of the fact that it’s adorable, pet surfing is great for your pooch’s balance, strength, and muscular development.
Before diving straight into the deep end with your four-legged friend, treat yourself to some solo lessons. Surfing requires a steady skill set, and just worrying about getting yourself up on the board may prove tricky enough to start with.
If your pet is perhaps a little more adventurous than you, solo surfing sessions for dogs are becoming increasingly common. While you will need to be involved in training and somewhat present the water, you are not required to be a constant presence on the board yourself. This makes surfing a great activity for dogs who love the water and owners who, well… don’t!
If you’re ready to dip your paws even deeper, check out our comprehensive guide on canoeing with dogs who love water.