Both dogs like balls, which makes it easy to get them motivated to get in the water and swim around. With the ramp giving them easy access to the pool, they jump in, swim around, and get out as they feel like it, while I throw their ball for them to have a bit more motivation.
Koira has a bit of a problem of trying to steal Ptera's ball. Which isn't an issue except that Koira will try this even when the ball is in Ptera's mouth (and while Koira's ball is still floating in the pool), which has resulted in the puppy going under water a few times. We're working on it, and I stay in the pool with them to supervise and make sure things are safe.
I love that even in super hot weather, having a pool means the dogs get to exercise as much as we want. I don't have to worry about them overheating, or about the pavement burning their paws, or us not having enough water along on a walk or hike. In fact, I actually have to make sure they stay warm enough, since the water is pleasantly cool and if there is a breeze (especially in the evening when the yard is in shade), the dogs can start shivering.
Ptera was very unsure about water when she first came home. I am happy to say that that is no longer the case. She doesn't absolutely love water like Koira yet, but she happily jumps in to get her ball. She is learning how to go to the ramp to get out of the pool, and her confidence seems to be growing every time.
The biggest struggle I have is when the dogs get their balls and then go down the ramp outside the pool, then drop their ball out in the yard. At least 50% of the time, Koira won't bring her ball back. And Ptera doesn't seem to realize she can climb the ramp with a ball in her mouth. So I spend a good deal of time climbing in and out of the pool to retrieve abandoned balls. Which gets frustrating for me, because that isn't really the fun part of things. So I generally end up ending the swimming sessions because they keep leaving the balls in the yard and I am getting frustrated and don't want to take it out on them. Even so, we all spend a good deal of time in the pool before it becomes an issue, and I try to head them off by grabbing the ball as they go up the ramp or just as they arrive at the platform at the top of the ramp.
|Snatching the ball before she drops it out into the yard.|
As we play in the pool more and more, the dogs get the system down, and figure out how things work. They figure out where the ramp is to enter the pool, they swim directly to the ramp to exit the pool, and they turn around when they get on the platform, excited for the next throw of the ball.
And while Ptera might be new to swimming, she is doing great with it. Not just her confidence in going into the water, though that is going up, but in her actual swimming ability. In the pool, I tend to alternate having life jackets on and swimming without them, so that the dogs learn both how to function with them on (for our river trips), and how to have a good, effective swimming stroke without them. And something I love about the GoPro is that it gives me a chance not just to take adorable pictures of the dogs in water, but I can get some adorable shots showing exactly what the dogs are doing underwater.
I need to get a good picture of Koira underwater too, but for now, Ptera's underwater power stroke is absolutely adorable.
Are you surviving the summer heat? Do your dogs like to swim to cool down?