One of the things we enjoy most is when families send us pictures of their CCL puppy or dog out enjoying life in their forever homes. One thing we began to notice is a lot of our families were sending us pictures of their puppies and dogs in boats - kayaks, sailboats, canoes, motorboats, you name it, our dogs were out there with the wind in their fur! I wondered if we had done enough to socialize them for such wonderful adventures. I worried if they knew how to swim! That's when we decided Catskill Country Labradoodles needed a puppy pool!
We researched about what kind of pool was best for dogs to swim in. We ended up with a rectangular fiberglass pool that has stairs all along one side so puppies and dogs could always get out if they needed to. We also have "shelves" on the other three sides of the pool - both for easy escape and for gradual introduction to the pool. The pool was installed at the tail end of the summer in 22, and some of our late summer puppies got their first introduction to water and their first swimming lessons before they went to their forever homes!
Pups were gradually introduced to water - first standing in a tub up to their knees, then a kiddie swimming pool in the back yard and then finally, on their first day of swimming lessons at about 7 weeks old, to the pool! We purchased tiny little lifejackets so that their first swimming experience would be successful and positive (and, dare I say they look adorable in them?!!) They were ready!! Pups, even those that seemed rather apprehensive at first, ended up loving swimming in the pool. We started them on a raft and again gradually worked our way to full on swimming.
It is eye opening as to how open and willing these little pups are to anything you introduce them to in their socialization period. They think anything you do with them is just part of what life is - so putting them in a huge tub of water over their little heads by a mile and asking them to move their little legs in ways they never have before. . . no problem! In fact, done gradually and in a positive manner, they really enjoy it! Compare this to some of my older dogs - dogs I have had for years that know me, love me and trust me. These older dogs are very hesitant to enter the pool despite my pleas for them to join me. They have never seen a pool before - never seen anyone swimming in a pool before and are cautious.
Of course helping a puppy or older dog get used to swimming in a natural body of water - like a lake or river - is much easier than a pool. The ground is familiar to them and they can gradually emerge themselves to levels they are comfortable with until they are ready to make the plunge and actually swim.
We are proud to be able to offer our forever families this added exposure to water and swimming before they leave us. Any puppies going to their forever homes in May - September will be introduced to water and swimming here at Catskill Country Labradoodles.
If you have a puppy or dog that is not one of our pups, that you would like us to give swimming lessons to, we are available for that service as well. We can also work with dogs that need swimming as physical therapy. Contact us if you are interested.
As a little side note, swimming with the puppies has become one of the world's best pleasures for me. I love the trust the pups have in me and how excited they are to please me and how much fun they have as they swim.