What happens in a swim session?
All swims are private sessions. Your first session will be about getting to know each other, and allowing your dog to feel comfortable in the pool environment. We will discuss what your goals are, why swimming has been suggested to you (if that’s the case), take a base line fitness level, and fit your dog with the proper flotation vest or harness. We will take as much time as needed to get your dog familiar and comfortable around the pool and ramp. Some dogs will need a few sessions to gain enough confidence to actually have a full out swim, and some dogs are rarin’ to get in right from the start!
Your hydrotherapist will get in the water with your dog and be right at their side, starting with short swims so your dog learns where the ramp is. Once they know that, they are more comfortable swimming longer straight lines, progressing to circles, serpentines, and figure eights as their confidence, flexibility, and ability grows. If your dog is toy or treat motivated, we will use these to play, motivate, and reward. You play a huge part in motivating and developing their confidence, using recalls – with huge praise when they swim in your direction! Frequent rest breaks are taken on the ramp, often with gentle massage. Once confident, many dogs enjoy retrieving toys in the water – leaping in from the ramp! (Not from the edge of the pool, though.) We are also the originators of Aquagility exercises, which you and your dog may enjoy playing!
After the swim, we will shower off and towel dry your pup. You’ll need to bring a towel, and maybe an extra one for the car ride home. Please wear non-slip shoes – even a non-slip surface can get slick when wet. We provide toys and treats, but you may wish to bring your dog’s favourite toy or treats, and if you wish, your shampoo if you’d like to use that afterwards. At the end of the first session, you can book future swims based on your dog’s needs (packages available). They will need to relieve themselves pretty soon after a swim – the fenced pool paddock is right out the side door. Then prepare to have a nice quite time as your dog takes a much earned nap!
Your dog’s swim can be videoed from both under and over water, and can be made available online to you and/or your vet. With each swim, we chart your dog’s activity and progress.
Before you come:
- We need the Veterinary Remarks form two days prior to your swim. This is to ensure that your dog is healthy to swim, and gives us any precautions we need to take into consideration when swimming (ie, based on any past surgeries or conditions, certain types of movement in the water may need extra support).
- Please make sure your dog has not had a full meal within two to three hours of the swim (you will also want to wait an hour or so post swim to feed).
- Please allow your dog to relieve themselves before coming into the pool area.
Who should NOT swim?
Your vet can tell you, however, dogs with a respiratory or cardiac condition are not recommended to swim, nor are dogs with uncontrolled seizures. Dogs with open wounds, or illnesses, including symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea will need to wait until healed, or symptom free for 48 hours. (You don’t feel like swimming when you’re sick, right?) Please call us to cancel ASAP if symptoms appear after a session has been booked.