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My Dog Princess's First Swim

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My dog Princess is a pit/golden retriever mix and absolutely loves the water. Whenever my wife and I go hiking with our dogs, if we go next to a creek or pond, Princess will instantly want to head in that direction. Amazingly enough, she never got a chance to swim until just before she turned seven years old.

Even before I met my wife, I enjoyed taking walks and hiking. Princess, of course, loved going on walks with me. The vast majority of our walks were short. To me, a 45 minute or hour long walk or hike was a long one.

But then I met my wife, an avid lover of hikes. And not just any hikes - well, yes, she loves any hike - but long hikes. To her, a 45 minute or hour long hike is a short hike. So my long hikes are her short hikes.

In addition to hiking, my wife and I enjoy other outdoorsy things. Things like camping and canoeing. Shortly after we started dating, her sister asked if we would like to join her on a canoe trip with friends. And we could bring the dogs.

At this point, Princess had never been swimming. I didn’t even know if she knew how to swim! So naturally, I was a bit concerned - I didn’t want her to fall off the canoe and drown!

So I drove down to the local pet store and bought her a doggy life jacket. On top of making it safer for it, she looked super cute in it. She gets lots of comments every time she wears it!

In hindsight, she probably doesn’t really need the doggy life jacket. Not only can she swim, she’s a super swimmer and absolutely loves the water!

Princess swimmming that day with her doggy life jacket. Princess swimmming that day wearing her doggy life jacket.

When we took a lunch break on our canoe trip, Princess spent the whole time swimming in circles. She wasn’t swimming because she had to, she was swimming because she wanted to!

Even though it’s been almost four years since Princess had her first swim, I still have the doggy life jacket and have used it when we went canoeing again.

She gets plenty of chances to swim now that I know that she loves it. She has swam in creeks, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, and even swimming pools.

Princess swimming in a swimming pool. Princess swimming in a swimming pool.

I feel a bit bad that I did not introduce her to swimming earlier, but I am grateful she has plenty of opportunities to swim now!

All four of us in the canoe. All four of us in the canoe.

15 comments for My Dog Princess's First Swim

  • avatar for Tenacious Little Terrier Tenacious Little Terrier

    People always comment on Mr. N’s life jacket too. I have to watch him to make sure no one tries to pick him up by the handle. They try!

  • Magic always loved wading in our tanks (ponds for livestock) but wasn’t big on swimming. The one time he stepped off the shallows and got his face wet, he turned into a big baby, LOL! A life jacket would have been vital for going to area lakes or rivers, but he never got the chance, alas.

  • My dog uses a life jacket. He’s not a natural swimmer like Princess! She looks beautiful in the water. Swimming is great exercise and it looks like she’s a natural!

  • We have two dogs that are unsure about water, they will paddle but I’ve never seen them swim! Barney threw himself into a pond when he was 6 months old and then tried to get towards the edge to get out and couldn’t because of reeds, it really scared him, and me, my husband had to go in and get him out… he’s never forgotten it and only just started paddling in water!

  • Great job, Princess. I remember the first time Jasmine swam … not really on purpose, when she got into the water “too deep” and her body started swimming. You could see the “what the heck?” expression on her face as she immediately turned back to the shore unimpressed with he body having its own mind. I also remember the first time she swam on purpose after that … when she saw a leaf floating in a bay and decided to go and get it.

  • My lab mix Gonzo absolutely loves the water, but I don’t think he’s actually swam before. He’s a wanderer- and will take off so we can’t have him off leash at the beach. We did hear about a private dog beach, so if it’s fenced then I will take him- WITH a life jacket.

  • You did the right thing to get a life jacket for Princess from the start. Glad she absolutely loved getting in the water on the trip! All turned out well. :) More adventures to come!

  • avatar for Beth Beth

    It was really smart of you to get a life vest for her! We don’t live near a good place for the dogs to swim, but we have taken them a few times on vacation. They can swim, but they prefer to wade or stay on dry land.

  • I so wish Layla would swim but she will not even get a toe wet LOL and I have taken her many times to places where she could. I love the photos and am so happy Princess is having the time of her life swimming now

  • We have lifejacket with a handle … took us forever to find one that didn’t make our tiny little one tilt to one side when submerged. And you don’t know that until you get home. Our has a small section that floats up under his chin to help him keep his head above water and stabilize.

  • Don’t feel bad. Princess was happy on ‘short’ hikes with you and probably wasn’t longing to swim as she hadn’t been yet and didn’t know she liked it either! No you both know, she loves it - yay! I bet she was a pooped pup after that adventure.

  • You’re so lucky to have a “water dog”! My dogs don’t particularly like the water, unfortunately. My Husky will go in up to her belly if the water is very calm but my little one avoids it like the plague. A life jacket is a must for dogs in the water, especially the first few times they go in, or if they’re going in the ocean with waves. Your dog is so adorable! Love & Biscuits, Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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