We didn’t have much of a summer in Newfoundland, so when the Pie and I were visiting family in Ottawa we took advantage of the proximity to our cousin’s cottage and decided to teach Grenadier how to swim.
Now, some dogs, like labs, goldens, duck tollers, and PWDs, are born swimmers. Other dogs, especially those whose front ends are significantly heavier than their back ends, like pugs, bulldogs, daschunds, and yes, corgis, are not.
Even so, it was something we wanted to get Gren used to doing, just so he would have some options on a hot summer day. Aside from some wading about and a briefly traumatic fall into a turtle pond, Gren was a land-lubber.
For safety’s sake, and because corgis are not natural swimmers, we got Gren a dog’s life jacket. Make sure when you are looking for a life jacket that the seams are tightly sewn and the workmanship looks good. Ensure that the fit is correct for your dog’s weight, as well as his length.
You should be able to comfortably lift the dog up by the handle of the jacket when the jacket is properly secured. This handle is especially useful when your dog falls off your boat and you can just haul him back on.
This Outward Hound version is widely available and nicely affordable at around thirty bucks retail. I like the additional flotation under the chin, which helps keep the dog’s head above the water — this is a plus (and a must) with brachiocephalic dogs like pugs and bulldogs, who don’t have the long snouts of other dogs. And remember that even with a life jacket, you should never leave your dogs unsupervised in the water!
Gren likes to paddle in the water, but he’ll never be a big swimmer. Whenever we had him out over his head his first move was to head for shore.
He did swim out to “rescue” the Pie at one point, because he was too far away, but that was the only time he left the shore of his own will.
He was really not a big fan.
- Can Your Dog Swim? (dogsden.wordpress.com)