First World Problem Solved: Dog Swimming Lessons

Love this story. It just kept getting better. Yes the pools are heated. Oh, and AFR.

I can think of one puppy who I know would love this kind of attention.

See Spot Swim: Remedial Lessons Put Pooches in the Pool – So Ms. Burry, a 24-year-old student, brought Lady to the Rex Center, a canine-swimming facility just south of San Francisco. Here, teacher Ellen Davison strapped a red life preserver around Lady’s neck, guided the dog into the heated pool and gave her a lesson.

After a series of accidental dog deaths, officials in Colorado’s Department of Agriculture recently proposed one of the first laws mandating dog “personal flotation devices” for kennels with pools.

Other dog owners are turning to professional help. Over the last decade, dozens of canine-swimming centers have opened across the U.S. Introductory swimming classes, usually one-on-one, typically cost $50 to $70 per half-hour.

New York City’s Water4Dogs facility offers lessons in a heated 18-by-16-foot pool for dogs with injuries, dogs that need to lose weight and dogs getting ready for summer. “A lot of these New York City dogs have Hamptons homes with pools or homes on the beach,” says Jean Marie Cooper, Water4Dogs’ senior therapist.

A window on one side of the pool lets owners watch their dogs’ strokes underwater. Water4Dogs also offers dog-birthday pool parties.

One occupational hazard for instructors: Nervous dogs sometimes have accidents. At Water4Dogs, they call such incidents AFRs, for accidental fecal release. The Rex Center in California, where health regulations require pools to be drained after such incidents, fines owners $300 for each mishap. Instructors say owners can usually avoid them by taking their dogs for a walk before class.