Note: Julia Thomson is a regular contributor on That Mutt.

During one of our classes with our trainer, she had us bring all of our dogs to the edge of a shallow pool. She wanted to see if any of the dogs were afraid of water. None of the ones in the class were, so I don’t recall much of a conversation of how to help your dog if he’s afraid of water.



There are dogs that love water, and dogs that hate it. Baxter’s somewhere in between.

With the incredible heat we’ve been having this summer in Ontario, I’m selecting our hiking trails based on how much water is available. One of our favourite routes has two large ponds. As soon as we get near the water, Baxter wades right in and starts slurping. He goes deep enough to soak his chest, but no farther. If he starts to float, he heads for shallower ground.

Often, there are other dogs at the ponds, swimming with their owners or fetching sticks. Baxter shows no interest in joining them.

At home on the farm, we’ve confirmed that he can actually swim. He’s fallen in our main pond a few times, and once he ended up over his head in another pond when he chased a duck. She paddled away as Baxter paddled back to the shore.

Does your dog like to swim
Dogs wading

Even a duck is not incentive enough to swim.

I’m curious whether my husband or I would be incentive. We’ve not had an opportunity to go swimming as a family. The heat continues, though, so there may be a chance yet this summer.

Does your dog like to swim? Do you swim with your dog?

Any tips for helping a dog that’s afraid of water?