Swimming, life jacket or not? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Swimming, life jacket or not?

I'm getting Zoey back! And I want to start where i left off with our swimming. My Gf has a great pool and her dog swims in it all day. I want Zoey to join the fun! Would you guys recommend a life jacket to help her rear end stay afloat. This was our first attempt, her head was above water fine, but the rear really lacked. I know she needs to learn but whats the best way? We'll probably hit the beach the first few times and get her to go in on her own.

ps here she is, pic makes me look weird and skinny.

heres another for good measure


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Princess- WGSD 3/15/01-9/21/11 Forever would've been to short...
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 03:01 PM
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I would do the life jacket if you're unsure of how well she'll handle it on her own. I never had an issue. My male HATES swimming but swims no issue if he has to. Same with my last female and my current female. Good luck!

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 03:01 PM
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My own experience with swimming a dog with a life vest is it makes it harder to keep the back level .... something they "get" with experience. I think they have their place but if you are talking where the dog is supervised like in a pool, I would forget.
I put a ruffwear vest on Beau and it was awful, his front legs thrashing like a dog learning to swim and he never fully adjusted...and he already knew how to swim nicely.

GSDs do tend to swim low (all muscle no fat) though.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 03:36 PM
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My GSD has a weak hind leg. We've built a pond and I take him swimming in it every evening to help exercise his leg. His entire body sits low in the water.

However, I have to watch him very closely. He loves the water, truly loves it. He tires quickly (we're building up his stamina) and I can actually see him get lower and lower in the water. I gage when it's time for him to call it an evening. He has yet to come out on his own.

I would never let him swim with out supervision. If he had access 24/7 to the pond, I've no doubt I'd lose him.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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She loves the water, just needs to gain some confidence and go for a dip!

always supervised, i just want her to join in on the fun.


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Zoey- Adopted Belgian Malinois on 4/29/12
Princess- WGSD 3/15/01-9/21/11 Forever would've been to short...
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 04:31 PM
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She looks like she's having so much fun in the pool with you.. That is awesome. I wish I had a pool to take Nala to.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 04:33 PM
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We got a life jacket for our 5 year old girl becuase we like to take her in the canoe with us. Shes an amazing swimmer, as for myself, i cannot say the same (which is why we got it, incase i panic and need to hold on to her). We put the jacket on her and took her in the water and she had more problems swimming with it, than without it, and it really bothered her.

I would suggest going in the water with your dog, take her in over her head and hold her like you would a child you're trying to teach to swim. Let her kick her legs a bit, but hold her weight. Give her head a rub, talk to her softly and then let her swim back to shore. Stay by her side and tell her how good she is. Once she gets back, rub her belly with lots of 'good girl's!' - This is how we are getting our 4 month old GSD to enjoy swimming. Of course having a partner that LOVES the water helps cure the fear.

Perhaps even toss a ball around in the shallower water to encourage her in. We have to drag our 5 year old out of the water. She would case a ball as far as you could throw it in, non-stop all day. Its a blast and it really wears them out. Its great for people who can't take dogs for walks or runs.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 04:58 PM
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I think I would put a life jacket on my dog if we were traveling in a vessel, a canoe or boat etc. If the dog fell over board, it would give me much needed time to stop the vessel and retrieve my dog. Not thinking the dog would swim towards me, but stay a float till I could rescue him/her.

But, if I were with my dog at the beach, or lake etc. just enjoying the water, I'd be less likely to to put him/her in a life jacket.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 11:21 PM
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Life jackets are for dogs that can't swim or when you are on a boat and there is a chance your dog might fall off and is not a strong swimmer.

All my dogs swim even the Pom haha. My pit is a better swimmer then walker now. Let your dog learn to swim on her own DO NOT FORCE them. Cookie had watched other dogs at the rescue swim. Then she saw my other dogs swim. At first she was not going in the water. With time when she was 10 month old she saw some ducks in the lake. She slowly went in after them and now she is a great swimmer.

No life jacket that will just make it weird. Let your dog learn form the others. She will get it. Find some ducks they too are great teachers.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-20-2012, 01:07 AM
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I actually took my dogs on a boat today, they had life jackets on. This is the first time for the GSD in a big body of water and I didn't know how she would do. If it was just a pool, I would probably not use life jackets.


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