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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.
This is what I've seen too. I do dock diving and for some reason people put these vests on large dogs. The dogs always look sort of panicked and flail around because they aren't held correctly in the water. Why not just let the dog swim? If the dog can't swim, then it shouldn't be swimming or dock diving.

When I have a dog on a boat I use my older Ruffwear harness (don't like the new one, too bulky). It is designed for lifting a dog and has a handle and a ring. I kept the dog on leash to keep him in the boat but if he jumped over at least I can lift him up without breaking his neck with a collar.
 

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I let my girl use a life jacket when she first went swimming. She didn't want to go in the water at first but then after she got some confidence she didn't want to come out of the water. Now she doesn't need the life jacket. Every dog is different when it comes to water. Do what you think is best for your dog.
 

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I never use lifejackets with my dogs either. I would never have them in a situation they weren't supervised, and when I'm with them I can see and get an idea when they are starting to get a bit tired and need a break.

However, if I was doing some whitewater rafting, or ocean boating or some situation that may arise that the water is WAY more of a challenge and that I may not be able to help immediately, I may consider a lifevest for them (and myself!). As in if my dog was just going out and back on the river bank swimming after a stick, probably not. But if instead we were going to be swimming across, then it would be lifejackets all around...
 

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Many years ago, I was fishing with hubby in the bay. We had an adult dobie that showed up at my house one day. We took him with us to help socialize him. He did fine on the boat etc. I did not have a life jacket for him. Never even crossed my mind.

At one point during the morning (about an hour after we started fishing) he started to race around the boat as fast as he could. Suddenly, he just jumped out of the boat and started swimming away from us.

In a panic, hubby grabbed a life jacket and dove into the water to try to get him. All I could do was scream the dog's name. Thankfully, the dog turned back towards the boat and hubby was able to assist the dog back to the boat. Getting a large dog back into a boat was nearly impossible. With hubby pushing and me pulling we were able to do it.

The moment the dog got into the boat, he started racing again (hubby is still in the water) but this time he was shooting poop all over the boat (and me!) as he ran. It was obvious that the dog had to go, therefore the panic. Once he stopped and completed the task (runny..runny...runny poop) he was fine. I wasn't ...the boat wasn't..

Point I'm trying to make is if we had a jacket on him, it would have been much easier to get him back into the boat. I had no intention of letting him swim, therefore didn't even consider a canine jacket. Never crossed my mind that he'd just jump off the boat.
 

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For swimming I use a harness and long leash

However in a boating or more dangerous situation I would use a lifejacket for sure, just for the peace of mind
 

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Many years ago, I was fishing with hubby in the bay. We had an adult dobie that showed up at my house one day. We took him with us to help socialize him. He did fine on the boat etc. I did not have a life jacket for him. Never even crossed my mind.

At one point during the morning (about an hour after we started fishing) he started to race around the boat as fast as he could. Suddenly, he just jumped out of the boat and started swimming away from us.

In a panic, hubby grabbed a life jacket and dove into the water to try to get him. All I could do was scream the dog's name. Thankfully, the dog turned back towards the boat and hubby was able to assist the dog back to the boat. Getting a large dog back into a boat was nearly impossible. With hubby pushing and me pulling we were able to do it.

The moment the dog got into the boat, he started racing again (hubby is still in the water) but this time he was shooting poop all over the boat (and me!) as he ran. It was obvious that the dog had to go, therefore the panic. Once he stopped and completed the task (runny..runny...runny poop) he was fine. I wasn't ...the boat wasn't..

Point I'm trying to make is if we had a jacket on him, it would have been much easier to get him back into the boat. I had no intention of letting him swim, therefore didn't even consider a canine jacket. Never crossed my mind that he'd just jump off the boat.

This is to funny because my GSD very possibly could have done the same thing. We were heading in(pretty much in the middle of the lake) and she started barking, it was her I have to go to the bathroom bark. I immediately sent all kids by her to pet her, do tricks with her, and keep her mind off the poop. As soon as the boat was docked, she flew off and pooped:)
 

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I was considering a life vest but have decided Stella doesn't need it. She is just over 1 yr old and is becoming quite the swimmer. She will go into any water now.... At the river or lake I use a harness and long line. In my pool I am teaching her to go in and out using the stairs. The first few times she went into the pool were when I went under water. I guess she thought she needed to save me....lol When she got to me (in the shallow end of the pool) she had no idea what to do. I held her and guided her back to the stairs. One time she swam to me and we just sat in the pool with her on my lap! But I think her best teacher was the frog the other day. She just came in and swam all around trying to find the frog. And she went to the stairs to get out without being told. Now I want to teach her to float on a raft....lol
 

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If there's a clear, easy way out of a pool I personally wouldn't use a life jacket there, but I used one on Buddy when we were on the boat in the Ohio River (or any place that was deep and/or may have a current).
 

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I wouldn't feel the need for a life vest in a pool, you're right there to assist if needed. Let your dog learn to swim, he will. Have a little faith :)
 

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I take my GSD out on the boat in fairly large lake; he is always in a life jacket. It is easier to see him, reboard him when he is done swimming and as he swims like a mad dog the whole time he is in the water, i feel better about his ability to float if he tires out.
 
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