Swimming With Your Dog

By Guest Blogger Michael Baugh

Summer heat has us all thinking about fun and safe ways to stay cool with our dogs. Let’s not compare misery, but I live in Houston. The heat here is wet, as in “step outside and take a nice hot sip of air.” The thing is, I’m also a dog trainer and self-professed behavior geek. So, I’m always looking for fun activities to share with my dog, Stella. Just not outside, not in this weather.

We have a saying down here in Texas (maybe they say it where you live too). It’s good to have a swimming pool. It’s even better to have a friend with one. Lucky for Stella (Canis Aquaphile) and me, we’ve got just the friend.

I called Lisa Goebel at Rummy’s Beach Club and we loaded the car. Before you ask, I’ll answer. Yes, Rummy’s is a swimming resort just for dogs. And yes, it’s awesome. Tons of pool toys and lots of laughs. That’s just how we roll down here. And roll we did on up to Spring, Texas. “Bring the camera,” Lisa said. And, I obliged.

It turns out swimming’s not just a whole lot of fun. It’s great for your dog physically and mentally. And if you’re looking for an amazing relationship-builder with your dog, nothing beats getting out of your element for a while and enjoying a swim together.

As you’ll notice in the video, Lisa uses “toy constellations” for training.  The reason for clustering the toys together like this is to keep the play interesting for the dogs. The clusters create larger targets for the diving dogs – tying them together allows Lisa to create parts that sink and anchor the toys while other parts that float up from the anchor.  Many of the dogs come week after week and the variety keeps the play interesting for them.

Check out the video of our day together. C’mon! The water’s great.

Guest Blogger Michael Baugh CDBC CPDT-KSA teaches dog training in Houston, TX. He specializes in behavior related to fear and aggression. Michael appears regularly on KHOU Channel 11 News in Houston and WFAA Channel 8 News in Dallas. He writes for several blogs including his own, michaelbaugh.com.