Each summer, I’ve worked with dogs and owners to enjoy our local waters safely. There are several reasons you and your dog might wish to attend this activity: learning to swim or overcome fear of the water, pool safety, simulate rescuing “drowning” victims, toy retrieving or just playing in the water with other dogs.
Every Friday, weather and tide permitting, owners and their dogs over 35 pounds (an exception on size are puppies and dogs who will be larger when fully grown and would like to learn to swim, or small breeds who live in homes with pools) descend on local beaches, pools, rivers, creeks and the like.
The dogs learn to get out of a pool without panicking, a very important skill in this environment where dogs drown each year by accidentally falling in and not knowing how to exit.
With some breeds and mixes we also teach how to rescue people that are drowning by allowing them to be grasped by their haunches and pulled to shore, or letting the dogs take a life preserver in their mouth and pull in the victim.
The more difficult skills, such as taking other items in their mouth and pulling a boat in by a rope, can be really fun to watch. Retrieval of a paddle and bringing it back to the boat and dock diving are all learned with relish by all kinds of dogs.
These are not all Newfs, Labs and Goldens as you might think, but plenty of mixed breeds also. Some are too small to pull a boat but will still retrieve and romp with their buddies.
We are blessed in the Lowcountry to be surrounded by water; summer offers us a great excuse to get in the water with our dogs. Sessions are always held after 4 p.m. and as late as 7 p.m. on Fridays in different locations in Hilton Head, Bluffton and Okatie.
The get-togethers are fun and (except for dock diving) are free. A donation to an animal rescue group of your choice at the end of the summer, however, is much appreciated.
For more information on equipment needed, times and locations to join the class, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To be included on the weekly email list to find out the time and location each week you must email me, as this information is not published.
The first session will be held at 6 p.m. June 14.
There is no requirement to be there each week – just come when you like. On weeks when passes are needed, sign-up is required and attendance might be limited.
Come have fun in the sun with your pooch, and join us at Get Wet with Your Pet!
Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training. AlphaDogTrainingAcademy@gmail.com