How to solve the problem?
The whole family goes on vacation by the sea, including the doggie. On the program: happy ball games in the waves. The catch: your hairball hates water.
What are the reasons for his fear?
How to encourage him to bathe for fun or just to beat the heat. Explanations and advice.
Why is my dog afraid of water?
There are several reasons that can cause a dog to fear water. Among the most common reasons we can mention:
A bad experience.
Try to remember if your pooch hasn’t had a scary water event. A rowdy game with a garden hose where he allegedly got a jet of water in his eyes or ears?
Was he pushed into the pool? Your dog may have felt unsafe in an aquatic setting without you realizing it. If you’ve adopted an animal from a shelter, you don’t know its past. He may have experienced a traumatic episode with his former owners. Did he fall into the water? Has he drunk the cup or been close to drowning? Such fear may have shaken him for life;
• Lack of stimulation.
Lack of experience with water can cause apprehension in dogs. If you yourself are not particularly fond of swimming, you probably have not accustomed your pet to this activity. A puppy needs to be put in contact with all kinds of situations. If, in adulthood, he has never seen a lake or sea, he is likely to be wary of it. In addition, our hairballs are attached to their routine and anything new is capable of arousing a fear linked to the unknown;
• Unpleasant noise.
Many dogs are afraid of detonations such as thunderstorms, fireworks or firecrackers. Canine hearing is particularly developed, which allows the animal to hear a weak sound emitted from several tens of meters. Therefore, the sound of the ocean, a waterfall or a jet is amplified by its sharp hearing and can be uncomfortable, even frightening;
• The dog’s temperament.
A dog’s fearful nature can stem from its breed, size, age, socialization, physical condition, or character. Some people are bolder than others and face new situations more easily than others. Their behavior may be the result of fear or simply the unpleasant sensation of contact with water. For example, getting wet deters many dogs from going out in the rain.
My dog is afraid of water: the mistakes to avoid
Certain attitudes can increase the fear of water in dogs. Therefore:
• Do not argue with him if he refuses to enter the water;
• Do not force him to approach the water by pulling him by the collar or leash;
• Do not push him into a swimming pool (danger of drowning, heart attack, hydrocution …);
• Do not carry it in your arms because the height generates panic in the animals
My dog is afraid of water, how can I solve the problem?
If your dog is afraid of water, there are a few things that need to be done to restore his confidence.
Use the game
We will have to transform the aquatic experience into a fun and enjoyable moment. Get a collar and lanyard to prevent your dog from running away.
Take one of his toys or other accessory he likes and wave it at the water’s edge. Make sure that your companion is focused on you and not on his phobia of water.
Dabble around, be playful to encourage him to approach. The ideal is to set an example for him: gradually enter the water and invite him to follow you until he soaks his paws.
Your quadruped may not be convinced the first time, do not hesitate to repeat the operation regularly;
Start at home
Gradual learning involves familiarizing your dog at home because that is the place where he feels most comfortable. This exercise can be accomplished using a paddling pool or a small commercial dog pool. Shallow, this type of tub should not impress him.
You can start by encouraging your pet to enter a poorly filled pool by placing a toy in it, then adding water as you go. If the fear is really too great, you can soak a washcloth and gently stroke it, reassuring it with soft words;
On your first aquatic outing, choose calm waters, with a gentle current, without too many waves or obstacles, such as rocks. As seen above, we’re going to have to have fun with him.
When you get to the next stage, at the beach be sure to throw the ball to the sides, where the waves run aground. Your dog will then get used to getting wet and feeling safe.
To lure him into deeper water, use a large balloon that you throw in his direction. Always stay by his side and equip him with a life jacket, at least for the first outings;
Practice positive reinforcement
This gentle mode of education has been proven to fight fears of all kinds. The goal is to reward your pet with a treat every time they make progress.
When he puts a paw in the water, praise him warmly and offer him a treat. A second paw, another delicacy and so on. Your pooch will quickly associate the water with a positive experience, and in the end, he will wade through without even thinking of the reward.