Here in Maryland, we’ve been hit with crappy winter weather. Yes, it’s usually cold here during the winter, but it’s been unusually wet, with bouts of rain and snow. And, while we luckily haven’t had any large snowstorms, we’ve had a bunch of 1 – 3 inch snowstorms, which has kept the grounds just wet and muddy enough to keep us indoors.
This winter weather has impacted and dramatically decreased our outdoor activity and exercise. In addition to purchasing some mind puzzles to give Bruce Wayne and The Others some mental stimulation, I decided to take them back to the Pet Depot swimming pool. Not only is this pool large enough to give all the dogs ample amount of swimming within just one complete lap, but the Pet Depot staff is amazingly helpful too!
As you can imagine, it takes a bit of time getting everyone suited up in their life vest. The last time we visited, Adam and 3 other staff members helped us suit up the boys. This time around, we only needed Adam and 1 other staff member …. We are slowly getting the hang of it.
Much like their first time swimming, no one was excited about getting into the pool. Growing up with a lab when I was younger, it always makes me laugh how much large breed dogs love the water and how much small breed dogs dread it.
Knowing that my dogs aren’t fans of swimming, we use every precautionary step possible: 1) each dog wears a properly fitted life vest; 2) each dog is attached to a 10 ft. leash; and 3) each of us are only handling 1 dog while swimming. Since we had the assistance of 2 Pet Depot employees and “Alfred”, we had 3 dogs swimming at a time. The other 2 waited for their turn in the stroller.
Dogs have a natural instinct to start paddling once their paws hit the water. So, even though it’s been months since they swam, they knew exactly what to do once they were (gently) pulled into the water.
First up was Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent and Tony Stark. As much as Bruce Wayne hates swimming, he’s an overall good swimmer. Poor Clark kent tried going backwards for the first ½ lap. Once I ran in front of him, he changed direction and swam without any problems. Tony Stark might be the smoothest swimmer of them all. Once he got a hang of it, there was no stopping him, he led the way back to the pool exit.
Next to swim was Wade Wilson, Peter Parker and again, Bruce Wayne. Since Bruce Wayne needs to lose a few ounces, in addition to being on a diet, I wanted him to get more exercise so had him do another lap in the pool. I believe Wade Wilson is my most natural and best swimmer. He did great the first time and picked up right where he left off this time. Peter Parker definitely had the toughest time swimming. He tends to get overly anxious and ingests water as he swims, so he was limited to 1 lap.
After everyone swam their lap back and forth in the pool, Adam of Pet Depot was kind enough to offer a second lap in the pool for anyone that wanted to go again. Obviously, none of my guys were overly excited to swim again, but I decided to have Clark Kent and Wade Wilson take another trip into the pool. These two are my alphas among the Viagen cloned puppies and I wanted to give them more exercise. Both did great on their last lap, but were anxious to get out and dried off.
Included with the price of swimming at Pet Depot is the use of their self wash doggie station. This is the perfect spot to wash off the pool water and dry off before stepping back out into the winter weather.
What You Should Know Before You Swim
Taking your dog swimming should be a good experience for both you and your dog. While your dog may not be a fan of swimming, there are ways that you can make it a smooth trip. We are still learning as we go, but wanted to share our experiences with you so that you are prepared when you take your dog swimming!
- Much like when humans swim, swimming for dogs is a strenuous workout. Make sure your dog is physically fit enough to swim. Be on the lookout for any signs of distress while your dog is swimming. As I mentioned earlier, while Peter Parker was swimming, he was ingesting water and started snorting towards the end of his swim. Therefore, I knew he was done swimming for the day and immediately disconnected the neck portion of his life vest.
- You should know and call the facility that you are going to. It’s always important to call ahead before you go to your local doggie pool, as most places require reservations, especially during peak times – such as weekends and during the winter.
- Budget! When you call to reserve your swim time, ask for pricing as well. Your facility may charge by the dog or by the time. This may not be a factor if you have 1 dog, but for a pack of 5, our pool time is $65 for 15 minutes of swim time.
- Arrive early or bring your own life vest! Bringing our own life vest is something I actually something I decided to do after our most recent visit. As I stated, it takes quite a bit of time to suit my dogs up, so I decided we would suit up the boys before we leave next time so that they are ready to go right away. If you do not have a life vest for your dog, you should try to arrive a few minutes early to suit up your dog. Once your reservation time starts, you’re on the clock, so you don’t want to spend 5 of your 15 minutes just getting ready.
- Wear old clothes! Chances are you will get wet taking your dog swimming. There’s a good chance your dog will be overly excited to share his swimming experience with you by running up and jumping on you after getting out of the pool or like mine, your dog will want to cling to you for dear life. Doggie pools do contain traces of chlorine so I’d advise against wearing anything fancy.
- Bring some extra cash! I always tip the employees that help me with my pack. Tipping is not required, but I believe you should reward excellent customer service and assistance. This is what I get every time I bring my dogs to swim, so I usually tip the guys that help us a few bucks.
Overall, your swimming trip should be rewarding. Even if not 100% enjoyable, you should leave knowing that you helped your dog get some valuable exercise. Much like anything, the more your dog swims, the more he’s apt to like it. If possible, try to keep your dog on a swimming schedule, especially during the colder months when exercise tends to be put on the back burner. I’d love to learn about your swimming experiences, leave me a message below or send me a DM through our Instagram account. Just keep swimming! 🙂