Can you train a dog that is scared of water to learn to love it? Usually yes. Under no circumstances should you force him to get wet. On the contrary, any pressure can permanently destroy the relationship of a dog with the liquid element.
You can, however, try to help him love it, with lots of patience. How? Following this step by step guide and you will find out.
Buy new delicacies that will act as a reward.
Select a serene volume of water to start training, for example, a small inflatable pool that you have on your patio or your backyard, or even a beach with no waves.
Start the training on a day where no change has occurred within the last 24-28 hours that may have stressed your dog. For example, do not wait for the first day of your holiday while your four-legged friend is trying to adapt to the hotel, to dive for the first time in his life at sea.
Let your dog approach the water at its own pace. Sit beside him, at a point where you will have visual contact but without interfering.
If your dog does not start to shake from his fear but show interest in the water, you can first enter yourself while talking to him in a calm, joyful voice.
While you are in the water, motivate him to play together: If, for example, he likes to chase balls, take a ball with you, drop it somewhere out of the water and ask him to bring it to you. So, through the game, he can make his first steps in a shallow pool or sea.
Secondly, every time you throw the ball out you can take one or two steps deeper into the water, encouraging him to follow you. When he brings you the ball, reward him with praise and caresses.
What if, literally, the water is shaking?
If it is a dog with a traumatic past or if it generally feels the new stimuli in fear, make sure that its first contacts with water are at a distance. A stroll around the beach or a walk along the waterfront, but do not get wet on your feet.
First, it is enough for the dog to dare to look to the water to reward him with a delicacy.
Gradually, on your every walk, and while your dog has begun to glance toward the water, every time he approached a few steps to the seashore, continue to reward him for every step.
If your dog, at some point, “plucks” from his fear and refuses to approach the water, never press him to continue. Do not forget: You are the one to follow the mood of a phobic dog, not him. Only this way you will get to a point, where you can finally get to enjoy the water together.