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Thread: Dogs in the pool

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    Dogs in the pool

    I was perusing the best photo contest pics and it reminded me of an ongoing argument/discussion my wife and I are having about allowing the dog (5 mo old boxer now...roughly 10 or 11 month old at start of next season) into our new pool with vinyl liner. Officially the dog is a boxer lab mix, although she's from the pound and I can't be absolutely positive what size she will be. Nonetheless, if I keep her toe nails trimmed and only let her swim with me (so she doesn't try to climb out the side), should it be okay to allow her in...or is she definitely going to tear my liner.
    Grant and Jerri
    Liberty, NC
    New 18x36 vinyl liner pool with lighting and fountain

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    I'll admit my paranoia about it keeps my dog away from the side of the pool. He gets in and out with me, but I know there are folks on here who don't worry about it. They'll chime in I'm sure, pet owners are nothing if not vocal.
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    TizMe's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    I have heard some have taught their dogs to use the steps to exit the pool and there is also ramps avail. that float in the water for them to get in an out with. I 'think getting in would be an issue because the usually jump in.
    So long as he/she cant access the water without you there then you shouldn't have any trouble.

    Good Luck !
    Les
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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    Quote Originally Posted by TizMe
    I have heard some have taught their dogs to use the steps to exit the pool and there is also ramps avail. that float in the water for them to get in an out with. I 'think getting in would be an issue because the usually jump in.
    So long as he/she cant access the water without you there then you shouldn't have any trouble.
    Skamper Ramp
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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    We've always spent a good deal of time, when introducing them to the pool, showing the dogs where to get out at the steps or bench which is in the shallow end. Most dogs, even retrievers and other water dogs resist getting into a pool even if they are used to swimming in lakes, rivers, streams, ocean so you actually have to make many of them enter the pool. We start them out gently with one person in the water pulling and the other pushing. All our dogs have been large and GIANT. We then hold them like a child and allow them to move their legs. Some calm down pretty fast; others it may take a week or two before they become comfortable. Then we gently let go, holding the collar and let them swim around a few circles and then we guide them to the steps always. For a while they will resist getting in and some will avoid you if you are too near the pool. In the beginning we also guide them back and forth between the steps and bench, letting them get out at each place occasionally.

    Once they are somewhat comfortable swimming we have them get in the deep end (sometimes they need a push but not a surprise one) and then call them to the steps. We do this until they show no interest in trying to get out any where else.

    The first few weeks one of us always sits out with them ready to call them away from any place other than the steps when they try at an inappropriate spot. After about a month I let them out and do some chores keeping a close eye on them.

    One thing that helps is to get your dog fetch "crazy". They are more likely to jump in after a favorite toy, or fall in. But only do this when you are there to assist and calm them, at first.

    We have a particular situation with three puppies who jump on top of each other. So for several months I watch them particularly closely. Ours started swimming this summer and I still keep a pretty good eye on them. On rare occasion one will get a little freaked when he cant' get a particular floating toy after several attempts and another jumps on top of him. That's about the only time mine have tried to get out at an edge but calling them to steps gets them going in right direction.

    Some dogs have bodies that make it easier for the back end to have buoyancy. Many breeds don't. My Labradoodles hardly have to paddle with their rear legs unless they are racing for a toy or wanting to go fast for any other reason. On the other hand my Mastiff puppy has a rear end that definitely doesn't have much buoyancy so he has to paddle continuously with his rear. He is 11 mos old now and his rear is gaining more buoyancy but it will never be as good as many "water dogs". All of my dogs stay on the lean side, with lots of muscling, all their lives so they have more mass per surface area than many family pets who have less muscling and more fat. BTW.... I have been a "fish" all my life and spent years swimming competitively and long distance swimming. My feet and legs do not float. For years, I had very little lean body fat. When my feet sank and I would then shoot down like an arrow. Now that I have a bit more body fat it take longer for my head to go under. While on this subject, Jake Mastiff has been able to touch the bottom of the shallow end since he was about 5 or 6 mos old. He does like to walk around on his back feet a lot while paddling with front. This would probably tear a liner. But not many dogs, even when mature, will be nearly as big as a Mastiff puppy. He's 11 mos old now and 30" at the shoulder.

    One of my doodles likes to challenge the sweep hoses by swimming over and over them especially when they are on. He doesn't try to bite them though. For first couple of months I always took any sweep out. Now, I don't always but do turn them off with hose pulled to the deep end most of time. They do fine with the Polaris hose (pressure) and the Tracker (vacuum) but my best swimmer, the one who loves to challenge the hoses has gotten tangled in the cord to the Vero (like Aquabot robot).

    They now have access to the back (pool yard) when someone is home to keep an eye on them. We will probably always have to be concerned with them leaping on each other, especially the doodles.

    A major thing to keep in mind is that when one dog comes out of the pool another dog or dogs, on the edge will bite at them. I don't know why they this but it has always happened. We started correcting them early on. They still do it somewhat but not as aggressively as they would if we hadn't corrected them early with occasion reminders still.

    As far as tearing the liner. Once they know to not get out of the pool anywhere but the steps/bench there will only be a few reasons why they would do it and maybe tearing the liner. One would be in a panic situation. The other would be if you used a floating toy that they had to push up the side to be able to get it in their mouths. We have one ball they love but it is pretty large for the doodles' mouths. They have to push it against the side to get it in their mouths. Jake Mastiff has no desire to retrieve. Some dogs just don't so if you want them to you have to teach them.

    The doodles drop toys into the pool and then wait for the other one to come and then they leap into the pool together or one at a time, sometimes on top of the other. They like to challenge each other while coming in to steps and sometimes get to steps with a part of toy in each mouth. A good toy for team retrieving is the floating Kong. One can have the Kong while the other holds on to the rope.

    We had one Mastiff who had to rescue any person who got in the pool. He would swim circles around you until you grabbed his scruff. Then he would take you to the steps and stay there until you got out. Just like a Newfie. We had to put him up when we wanted to float or play in the pool without being rescued. One of his half sisters never got in her owners' pool unless children were in the pool and did the circle thing until the children were made to get out.

    My dogs have "rescued" and "killed" a lot of sweeps over the years because, until these new puppies, they had unlimited access to the back, pool yard. This can be dangerous for unseasoned, immature dogs, or old, blind, physically challenged dogs or those who just won't leave the sweeps alone. It also gets expensive replacing sweeps and parts. We started very early letting the puppies know what is "off-limit". We have to occasionally give them reminders but they have a pretty good idea that the sweeps and 2 Pool Skims are not toys. They just can't resist the spray from the Polaris tail, though. Occasionally they will get the sponge when they are biting at the spray but they haven't pulled the whole sweep out as the dogs in the past did.

    Check out physical swimming capabilities of your particular breed or mix. There are certain breeds that just don't do well in water. You can get life jackets to fit most dogs. If I was going to be boating with my dogs I would probably put vests on them if the body of water was large enough. In any boating situation I would put a vest on my Mastiffs as they don't have a lot of endurance and have to work a lot harder to stay afloat.

    Some dogs like to jump in and then swim very close to you. My daughter's lab was that way. You had to be very careful swimming with here to avoid painful, deep scratches. She was such a pool retrieving freak we had to be careful to not throw a toy too close to an edge. She would take a running leap and make it all the way across the pool before hitting the water. On more than one occasion she chipped her teeth hitting the edge of the pool.

    There's much more..... but gotta run.

    A couple more things. We like the idea of all the dogs knowing were to get out even if they aren't going to be regular swimmers. You will have to reacquaint them to the process every once in a while. We've had more than one "non swimmers" fall in, a couple slipped on ice on the decking. A couple have been visiting dogs who didn't know pools. Another thing is that once they know about steps you can take them to friends' pools and just show them where the get out areas are. Usually showing them once does it. Another issue is dogs who are too pool crazy, sometimes tearing up doors and woodwork, even glass trying to get to the pool. Theses dogs can be taught when it is appropriate or not to get in the pool. The Dog Whisperer, Caesar had one like that on one episode.

    [EDIT] All three of my puppies developed ear infections this fall. Only one was showing evidence by shaking his head. They have been on prescription ear drops after seeing the Vet. Two are still on antibiotics. Jake, Mastiff's has totally cleared but still on the drops until we get the drying gel and the Doodles are almost cleared but still being treated. Floppy eared dogs are very prone to ear infections anyway, especially if you don't keep the ear canal dry. Vet says that he will give us an appropriate, non stinging drying gel to use once they are all totally well. I have the drying powder but Vet says it is too harsh and doesn't work as well as the gel. He said I would need to use it after they swim but they are in and out for hours at a time so I'm going to use the get twice a day on each, mid day and night time, when they won't be swimming till next morning. [end edit]

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    Did you see my diving dog?
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    The Skamper Ramp is very difficult to get to work on an AGP especially for medium to large dogs which your puppy will likely grow into. The ramps are great for hard sided inground pools.

    Teach her how to get out of the pool - that's the most critical issue. Dogs most generally will try to exit a body of water at the same place they went in. If they're taught to go in only at the steps, getting them to come out is easy. If they're like ours and dive in off the sides they have to be shown to the steps. It takes two or three times guiding them to the steps and they've got it figured out.

    Not all dogs are water dogs. If yours is hesitant to come in, don't force her and don't push her in. She'll either decide to come in where you are or she'll be a step sitter: her butt on the edge with her front feet on the top step.

    What sort of entry to you have into your pool? If it's an exterior ladder then you won't have much of a dog issue unless she learns to climb the ladder - in which case you should be sure to have a gate so she can't get into the pool on her own. If you have a raised deck it, too, needs to be gated. It's not a good thing to have a pool accessible to dogs at will. Pools aren't like ponds. Dogs can crawl out of a pond but cannot easily get out of a pool unless they know about the steps.

    We built our pool for the dogs and have had many, many German Shepherds in it with not a single scrape to the liner in five summers. The dogs are always supervised and there's always one person in the pool with them. Few things in life are as much fun as playing in the pool with your dog!
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 gal AGP, Hayward sand filter, Pentair 2-speed pump, timer.
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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey
    Did you see my diving dog?
    Is yours the black lab who dives down to get the can? I saw that one. Very impressive. Please post the link. Also would love to know how you taught him/her to do this. I have one Doodle who will sort of dive so he may be a candidate.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaK
    The Skamper Ramp is very difficult to get to work on an AGP especially for medium to large dogs which your puppy will likely grow into. The ramps are great for hard sided inground pools.

    We purchased one when they first came out. It wasn't even buoyant enough for our younger dogs. Besides that I don't want them leaving the pool except at the steps or bench. Wish I could have designed our pool. We certainly would have put in swim outs.

    Teach her how to get out of the pool - that's the most critical issue. Dogs most generally will try to exit a body of water at the same place they went in. If they're taught to go in only at the steps, getting them to come out is easy. If they're like ours and dive in off the sides they have to be shown to the steps. It takes two or three times guiding them to the steps and they've got it figured out.

    Not all dogs are water dogs. If yours is hesitant to come in, don't force her and don't push her in. She'll either decide to come in where you are or she'll be a step sitter: her butt on the edge with her front feet on the top step.

    I certainly agree to not push them in the wrong way. We do the push/pull at the steps but slowly. You don't want them to develop mistrust in you, so you have to be diligent in this first process. You can feel when they stat becoming confident as they relax their bodies. It's really best if you can start them young enough and small enough to carry them in then do the holding them under their body while they paddle until they build some confidence. With most of ours we have had to make them get in the first few times with someone at the steps to float them as long as necessary. Others have gotten in on their own when they see the others playing and swimming. It's usually that first step into the water that is the hardest for them. It really helps to have at least one other swimming dog to help encourage a dog to get in. Kids playing in the pool helps too. I want all the dogs to, at the very least, least know how and where to get out so we have to make some get in whether they want to or not. Later on they can choose whether to become "real swimmers" or not. I've had several that napped on the steps whether swimmers or not.

    Years ago I had one very old girl, 12+ year old Mastiff, who we didn't ever make get in. One late winter she fell in deep end. The water was a swamp with very little visibility. I was there but had a difficult time getting her out as she tired quickly. Just as I was about to jump in to the 40 F water she caught on to what I was trying to get her to do; swim to the shallow end. The look in her eyes every time she went under was enough to convince me that all dogs would learn to go to shallow end from then on whether they wanted to swim or not. I had nightmares for weeks. She was okay but my guilt was pretty strong for a long time.

    I know a lot of people whose smaller dogs get on floats, the foam kind. They can be taught to do that and really seem to enjoy floating around. That could be a "life saver" of sorts. We tried that but our dogs have always been too large. Our smallest dog ever was a female Rottie except for the Chicapoo, Teddy Bear Tiger, who raised our first two Mastiffs 30 years ago.


    What sort of entry to you have into your pool? If it's an exterior ladder then you won't have much of a dog issue unless she learns to climb the ladder - in which case you should be sure to have a gate so she can't get into the pool on her own. If you have a raised deck it, too, needs to be gated. It's not a good thing to have a pool accessible to dogs at will. Pools aren't like ponds. Dogs can crawl out of a pond but cannot easily get out of a pool unless they know about the steps.

    We built our pool for the dogs and have had many, many German Shepherds in it with not a single scrape to the liner in five summers. The dogs are always supervised and there's always one person in the pool with them. Few things in life are as much fun as playing in the pool with your dog!

    I'm so glad our pool was here when we moved in. Soon after we move in one of our dogs needed swimming therapy. He was the first dog to swim and was on his way to being in top ten of his breed, Mastiff, confirmation, high scoring obedience, tracking and Schutzhund. His son was the "fake Newfie". He had a partial tear of a cruciate ligament when he was a puppy (crate accident) and then tore it fully (rolled off the bed) right when we were finishing his championship. He was one of the first cruciate surgeries at Texas A&M. His therapy was swimming laps around the pool. I think that may have been the reason for his virtually total recovery. (We did have to pull him a few times from group because of slight limping.) After that many others followed his example becoming swimmers on their own. Our pool is maintained for the dogs. Otherwise DH may have had it filled in long ago.
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    Dogs are color blind but they do see light and dark.

    White vinyl/fiberglass steps are easy for them to see and don't get holed.

    If you have a liner over step design, I would discourage letting larger dogs in the pool. If you do, expect to get holes that need to be patched. Some liner manufactures offer a thicker white vinyl for the liner over step customers that does offer some better resistance and durability.

    My previous home had an above ground pool with a small deck. I used a white plastic ladder with a boogie board behind it to protect the wall. It worked extremely well. I had a shepherd (75 lbs) and a chocolate lab (150lbs) that never had a problem. They jumped in and climbed out all the time. I miss them. Best dogs I've ever owned.

    Scott
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    h2ctpdjl's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    I have vinyl liner and will not allow dogs in my pool, regardless of their size, etc. I do not want to risk tears or holes in my liner.
    18,000 gal, 18x32 IGP, vinyl liner, 3 to 5.5ft depth. One inlet/skimmer (Aqua Genie), one main drain. Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter w/filtration rate of 20 GPM/FT, Two-Speed Pentair Whisperflo 1 HP pump, Natural Gas Hayward H200 pool heater, Aquabot T2 (200 Series) Robotic Pool Cleaner (my best friend), Automatic Electric Pool Cover (2nd best friend).

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    Re: Dogs in the pool

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Dogs are color blind but they do see light and dark.
    Scott
    PoolGuyNJ
    Dogs are and are not color blind. They do see some colors. Any deficiency in seeing a color or colors is "color blind".

    See this short article.
    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_dogs_se...lack_and_white

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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