Most dogs like the water; swimming is an easy accomplishment for them. To paddle like a dog is a method of swimming many humans use at first automatically.
Take your dog to the water on a warm day. First wade in and call him to you. Speak to him reassuringly. Never seize your dog nor rush out with him into the deep water and then drop him. Let him come in two or three times just a short distance; then run out with him following so that he will think the affair is one of play.
A method followed successfully by some persons is to walk along a stream and then wade across it. When you reach the other bank, do not stop but keep on walking. Your dog anxious to be with you, usually starts across the stream to reach you.
Next, start him on retrieving sticks thrown into the water a short distance. Now run into the water with him, take him some distance, having thrown a stick in front of him and when he seized it, start with him toward the shore.
After a time, take him out and let him pull and tug on floating boards, tire tubes blown up, and the like. A floating dummy can be used.
As he swims, cling to him; or have him seize a rope and let him swim with this in his mouth while you pull on it. Better still, attach a rope or belt around your shoulders and let him pull you with this just as he should do in rescuing a helpless person. You can have some one on shore, with whom the dog is very familiar, urge him to come to shore, pulling the floating object.
If the day is not warm, do not permit the dog to lie about after he has come out of the water:
rub him well with a rough cloth or towel: then let him run promptly and vigorously for a few minutes.
Do not take advantage of the dog’s willingness to swim, retrieve and play in the water; he will keep at it until exhausted and may prove an easy victim to pneumonia after a chill. If your dog hesitates to dive, take with you a piece of meat or other morsel the dog likes and when both of you are in the water, make him reach under the surface for it.