Swimming lessons this summer were exciting to say the least. Of our three dogs, Jackson LOVES the water. He likes to wade and he likes the excitement of swimming, but oh my goodness is he bad at it. At the lake, he paddles with his front feet above water (shallow enough he likely can still touch), making this horrible face, and it is all just a panicky frenzy. But like I said, he loves it. Lemon LOVES water, chasing the sprinkler and hose, getting in the shower, but she doesn't like to get in the lake or pools. Hilga... once, we picked her up in her life jacket, set her up to her elbows in the lake and she froze like a statute, the tide slowly started to carry her out and she never moved, just floated along...so needless to say we've given up hope on her.
The first thing we do with swim lessons (thanks to my parents for pool usage), is get them to calm down in the water. Frenzied swimming is never good. So we hold them up against us until the thrashing stops, then they get to swim a little bit. The pool helps us see the problem... that they don't paddle their back legs... at all. Their rears just sink to the bottom while their front feet splash above the water. So Chris will hold onto their front legs while they paddle with their back ones (think little kids doing kicking exercises at swim class).
All of this really doesn't help that much, but maybe it helps a little bit. And it is certainly fun to participate in (albeit slightly dangerous...I usually leave covered in scratches with possible tears in my swimsuit) and fun to watch. I should have prefaced all of this with the fact that Berners don't know how to swim naturally... they have to be taught (for the most part). That has certainly been our experience. Even after swim lessons... I'm thinking they will probably still have to wear their life jackets in lake water where they can't touch.