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Bonnie tries swimming for the first time at sixteen weeks of age.

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Bonnie had a fun experience this weekend. I took her to my brother's house where he has a large swimming pool. Today was Bonnie's day to learn to swim.

My plan was to encourage Bonnie to enter the pool slowly and then hold her in the water. Bonnie loves water and she immediately walked over to the edge of the pool. I encouraged her to step into the shallow end, and a couple of times I lifted her into the water and held her. It was important that I didn't push her if she didn't want to be in the water. But she did.

In the video below, you'll see that Bonnie runs out of the water, but always comes back. If you were to try this with your dog you should be very aware of how she's feeling. If she runs away and hides, that means she isn't interested. Never force a dog to go into a pool.

If you've never seen life jackets for dogs, check them out. They are a great way to keep your dog safe if you are around water. Don't assume that your dog can swim. Not all dogs are natural swimmers. In fact, some breeds like pugs, dachshunds, and corgis can't swim at all, or at least have great difficulty doing so.

We prepared Bonnie for swimming by letting her play in a kiddie pool for a few weeks. It was a good introduction to the water and we were able to make sure she really liked it. The kiddie pools are cheap ($10.00 at Wal-Mart) and easy to fill and empty.

A word of caution: Never leave your dog unsupervised near a swimming pool even if she knows how to swim. Be sure to teach your dog where the stairs are and how to get out. Even a dog who swims can drown if they can't get out of the pool.

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