Why are some dogs afraid of water? It might be because it's a new experience for them, or water generally feels unusual on their fur or paws. If your dog is adopted, they may have had a traumatic experience with water or were forced to get wet when they weren't ready.
The key to helping dogs overcome their fears of swimming is to take the entire process slow and steady. The earlier you do this, the better. Start by familiarising them with water through bathing. If they are still anxious about bathing, follow these simple steps to alleviate their anxiety:
💧 Bring your dog into the bathroom for playtime with a closed door
💧 Get your dog comfortable with being leashed in your home
💧 Use a non-slip mat in the tub
💧 Ensure the water is lukewarm
💧 Only use a small amount of water
💧 Remember to give them plenty of praise and positive reinforcement during the bathing process, as it will help condition them into realising that water is not harmful.
💧 Once they are used to being around water, the next step is teaching a dog to swim.