How To Get Your Dog To Wear A Life Jacket

Summer is in full swing, and with the new climate comes swimming and boating – actions usually mutually loved by canines and people. Despite the swimming prowess of many canines, canines can drown; it’s estimated that 1000’s of canines die within the water yearly.

Dogs drown for a lot of causes. Some breeds, particularly brachycephalics like Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, are bodily maladapted to swimming. Many of them, even when they attempt to swim, merely sink like rocks to the underside of a pool. Even competent canine swimmers tire shortly, and in the event that they fall right into a swimming pool unsupervised, could also be unable to search out the steps that permit them to climb out. In open waters canines additionally tire shortly. A boating accident, or lack of human attentiveness, can put a canine at excessive threat for drowning.

Keep your canine protected within the water

Take the time to search out out in case your canine can swim. Maybe give him swimming lessons! Teach him how one can find and use a pool ramp to cut back his threat of drowning. To forestall unintended fall-in drowning tragedies, present shut grownup supervision and/or a strong fence across the pool with no dog-access until accompanied by a accountable human. Always have your canine put on a flotation gadget if he’s hanging out across the pool, really taking part in within the moist stuff, or becoming a member of you on boat rides.

Canine life vests are available in a wide range of kinds, ranging in value from $15 to as a lot as $80. Quality is essential, so Google “dog, life jacket” and browse all the knowledge for the assorted manufacturers earlier than shopping for, relatively than simply choosing “cheap.” You don’t need buckles to fail when you’re relying on the vest to avoid wasting your canine’s life. Look for one with a sturdy deal with on the again, so you possibly can elevate him out of the water when it is advisable save him!

dog life jacket
Photo: Ирина Мещерякова/Getty Images

How to get your canine to put on a life jacket

You’ve performed your analysis, bought the life jacket – now it’s time to toss it over your canine’s head and go for a check swim, proper? Wait a minute… decelerate!!

You need your canine to love his vest. Even if he’s a resilient soul who tolerates absolutely anything, take time to verify he isn’t spooked by the cumbersome factor going over his head, with all of the straps and buckles that need to be adjusted and snapped closed. Here’s how to make sure your canine loves his swimwear:

1.     Fit the vest fastidiously earlier than even approaching your canine. There will nonetheless be some changes wanted, however reduce them.

2.     Show him the vest. While he’s it, feed him a high-value deal with. (Boiled or baked hen is nice!)

3.     Hide the vest, pause, then current it once more, and feed hen.

4.     Repeat a number of occasions till the looks of the vest causes your canine to get comfortable and search for the hen.

5.     Now (super-important!) maintain up the vest by the deal with with the straps unbuckled and invite him (with a deal with) to stroll below it. He’s selecting to place it on himself, relatively than you placing it on him. If this half worries him, go sluggish – one step at a time – till he’s comfortable to have the vest resting on his again. (Or – depart the chest strap buckled and invite your canine to step ahead and put his head by means of the opening. Do not simply plop it over his head – be certain he volunteers to maneuver by means of the opening.)

6.     Now take a while to pair the sound of the buckles with hen, so he additionally thinks that “snap!” equals hen!

7.     When he’s comfy placing himself into the vest and listening to the “snap!” sound, you possibly can buckle him in. Have somebody feed high-value treats whilst you snap the buckles closed, or use Lickimats to maintain him fortunately occupied with peanut butter, squeeze cheese or yogurt mashed into the grooves. (See Play With Your Food, April 2019). Alternatively, you possibly can smear gooey meals in your fridge door or vinyl flooring whilst you buckle.

8.     At first, preserve the vest on for brief durations – 10 to 15 seconds. Gradually improve the size of time he wears the vest, till it’s clear he isn’t bothered by it.

9.     Now you’re prepared for the water! Again, take it sluggish. Even in case your canine is an completed swimmer, it could really feel unusual to him to be extra buoyant. Introduce him slowly to the water and persuade him that swimming with a life jacket is enjoyable.

This may look like a whole lot of effort simply to get your canine to put on a life vest. It will all be effectively price it sometime when it saves his life.

Top {photograph}: marekuliasz/Getty Images

Read Next: Swimming is Great Exercise for Dogs

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