Dog fear of water: generally speaking, domestic dogs develop a fear of water because they have begun to associate the water with something unpleasant. In nature, water aversion simply does not exist. Dogs must hunt and walk for miles under any inclement weather in order to survive. They have been accustomed to its effects because refraining from getting wet was unavoidable.
Once domesticated, the aftermath caused dogs to become less and less accustomed to mother’s nature effects, therefore, some dogs may be reluctant to go out if it is raining or they refuse to walk on wet grass. They simply fear rain and water in general, because they are not used to it, and the wet grass under their paws feels different and just not right, after walking most of their days on dry carpets and wood floors.
How to Make your Dog Love Water
- In order to allow a dog to accept rain and water in general, the dog must be brought back to its state of mind as in the wild. For instance, a dog that refuses to go out in the rain, should be left if not too cold outside until it will no longer represent a threat. Once the coat is soaked and the ground is muddy, the dog will no longer feel the rain as different or traumatic.
- To make this form of adjustment even more effective, dogs that fear water should be fed outdoors while raining or given treats. Even better, they should be engaged in some sort of game.
- Playing in the water will make your dog no longer fear it, but rather enjoy it. Everyday, expose your dog to water from a water hose. After the dog’s initial shock from being wet, move the hose in a playful manner so the water is squirted out in routine squirts. To make it even more fun, I sing a song along. Intrigued, your dog may begin to try to catch the water in his/her mouth. Minutes later, your dog may be playing vigorously with the water, getting soaked and asking for more.
- Ideally, dogs should be taught to accept water as puppies. They should be given regular baths and these baths should be really fun. Toys can be tossed in the tub and treats must be given. Sooner than later the pup will look forward to a bath or at least not make a big fuss out of it.
- Should your dog appear fearful of water, try not to baby talk to him. This will only encourage the fear to develop further, as dogs perceive your reassurance as an ok to be fearful. Rather, ignore all the fuss and get the job done.
- If your dog tries to escape from the tub or water hose make sure to restrain him properly. If he is allowed to escape he will learn this trick and will always struggle. If necessary, ask help to keep the dog still. Always praise after giving a bath.
Water need not to be a dog’s worst enemy. If dogs are introduced to water properly they will learn to accept it as part of life. Expose your dog to water regularly, in the summer under the rain and in the winter in a nice tub. Avoid if possible using a hair dryer as this may cause the dog to perceive it as a punishment. Rather towel dry by massaging. Dogs love to be towel dried and this is seen as a good thing, after a bath. With time and a bit of patience most dogs may learn to love water or at least accept it as one of mother nature’s different aspects.
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.