Here’s how to get your dog to wear a life jacket


Summer is in full swing and with the hot weather comes swimming and boating – activities that dogs and humans often enjoy together. Despite the swimming skills of many dogs, dogs can drown; It is estimated that thousands of dogs die in the water every year.

Dogs drown for many reasons. Some breeds, particularly brachycephalics like Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, are not physically adapted for swimming. Many of them, even when trying to swim, simply sink like stones to the bottom of a pool. Even competent dog swimmers get tired quickly, and if they fall into a swimming pool unsupervised they may not be able to find the steps to get out of. Dogs also tire quickly in open water. A boating accident or lack of human vigilance can put a dog at high risk of drowning.

Keep your dog safe in the water

Take the time to find out if your dog is can swim. Maybe you give him swimming lessons! Teach him how to find and use a pool ramp to reduce the risk of drowning. To avoid accidental drowning, ensure close adult supervision and / or a solid fence around the pool that does not allow dog access unless you are accompanied by a responsible human. Always have your dog wear a flotation device when he’s hanging out by the pool, actually playing in the wet stuff, or accompanying you on boat trips.

Life jackets for dogs are available in different designs. The price ranges from $ 15 to $ 80. Quality matters, so google “dog, life jacket” and read all the info for the different brands before buying, rather than just picking “cheap.” You don’t want buckles to fail when you count on the vest to save your dog’s life, look for one with a sturdy handle on the back so you can lift him out of the water if you need to rescue him!

Dog life jacket
Photo: Ирина Мещерякова / Getty Images

Here’s how to get your dog to wear a life jacket

So you’ve done your research, bought the life jacket – now is the time to toss it over your dog’s head and do a test swim, isn’t it? Wait a minute … take it easy !!

You want your dog to do it love his vest. Even if he’s a resilient soul who can tolerate just about anything, take your time to make sure he isn’t startled by the bulky thing above his head, with all of the straps and buckles that need to be adjusted and closed. How to Make Sure Your Dog Loves His Swimming Gear:

1. Adjust the vest carefully before approaching your dog. Some adjustments are still required, but minimize them.

2. Show him the vest. Feed him a high-quality treat while he watches it. (Cooked or baked chicken is good!)

3. Hide the vest, take a break, present it again and feed the chicken.

4. Repeat this process several times until the appearance of the vest makes your dog happy and starts looking for the chicken.

5. Now hold up (super important!) The vest with the straps by the handle and invite him (with a treat) to walk under it. He chooses to put it on himself instead of you putting it on him. If that part worries him, go slowly – step by step – until he is glad that the vest is resting on his back. (Or – keep the chest strap buckled and invite your dog to step forward and poke his head through the opening Not Just plop it over his head – make sure he moves through the opening willingly.)

6. Now take some time to combine the sound of the buckles with the chicken so that it thinks, “Snap!” equal to chicken!

7. When he makes himself comfortable to put on his vest and hear the “crack”! You can buckle it up. Have someone feed quality goodies while you buckle up, or use lickimats to keep them happy with peanut butter, cheese, or yogurt pounded into the grooves. (See Play with your food April 2019). Alternatively, you can smear sticky food on your fridge door or vinyl floor while you buckle up.

8. First leave the vest on for a short time – 10 to 15 seconds. Gradually increase the amount of time he wears the vest until it is clear that it doesn’t bother him.

9. Now you are ready for the water! Take it again slowly. Even if your dog is an accomplished swimmer, being able to swim more can be strange. Slowly put him in the water and convince him that swimming with a life jacket is fun.

This seems like a huge hassle just to get your dog to wear a life jacket. One day it will all be worth it if it saves his life.

Top photo: marekuliasz / Getty Images

Read Next: Swimming is a great exercise for dogs

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