Teaching Arthur the German Shepherd to Swim

I grew up in the far north of Michigan, surrounded by inland seas. One favorite activity is taking the dogs swimming. As a kid, I thought most dogs loved to chase sticks and swim and jump in the water. Boy, was I wrong. Some dogs are afraid of the water and some never really do learn to swim.

Arthur the German shepherd puppy is ten months old now and has been riddled with fear-related issues his entire life — so I guess it comes as no surprise that he is afraid of the water.

I at first thought he would just follow in the wake of Terrible Til, my border collie who is his idol. Til swims like he does everything else: At top speed and with seemingly boundless energy.

Alas, however, it was not to be. Arthur does, however, like to earn praise. He likes to jump and I have been coaxing him to try to catch a ball.

Therefore, we are slowly translating this into a lake activity. Arthur will swim one short paddle after the ball, but once his feet leave the bottom he gets really nervous and wants to turn back. If the ball floats out too far — forget it.

Therefore, we are taking it one step (or paddle) at a time… With a little help from Til and Allie the Jack Russell Terrier and Jack Johnson the longhaired chihuahua, and Jasper the Lab Mix. Este the Chihuahua can swim, she just prefers not to.

At some point, I will wade farther out into the lake, but Arthur is so tall now that his head reaches my waistline. So I will have to go out pretty deep to coax him in. My beach body isn’t ready for that just yet! Maybe when I take the horses up north….

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About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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1 Response to Teaching Arthur the German Shepherd to Swim

  1. you have my sympathy. Ellie, my border collie was like arthur. I spent a long time coaxing her to swim, even bought her a life jacket, now she swims when she has to but grumbles with every strike.

    Like

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