One of our specialties at Two Hands Four Paws is teaching pets to be confident swimmers.
No facility in the country has taught more pets to love the water. If your pet can fetch there is a high probability we can teach him or her to swim. And not just swim, but to really have fun. For pets that will be by a river, lake, ocean or backyard pool we also look at swim lessons as “survival training” in case of an accident. We want long, healthy and splash-filled lives for all of our animal friends. We’ve swam with pets as young as 7 weeks and as old as 17 years. To give the gift of a swim lesson is to give the gift of a longer life!
We believe the way to teach isn’t to ‘teach’ at all. It is to let your pet feel safe, gain confidence and, finally, to have fun. We use praise, security, encouragement and attention to help your dog find his/her stroke. We don’t use food or pressure.
In our pool and at clients’ homes we have helped Airedales, West Highland Terriers, Bulldogs, Whippets, Great Danes, Standard Poodles, Miniature Poodles, American Staffordshire Terriers, Rottweilers, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, St. Bernards, Great Pyrenees, Belgian Malinois , Boxers, German Shorthair Pointers, French Bulldogs, a Wolfdog and mixes by the dozens.
Our resident “Swim Coach” and Fun Swim “Lifeguard” is Bryan McMahon. Bryan has taught hundreds of pets to take their first unassisted leap into the pool. His gentle and calming demeanor, vocal encouragement and high level of enthusiasm win over even the most timid first time swimmer. It also helps that there isn’t a pet who meets Bryan who doesn’t experience mutual admiration.
Swimming is hard work! Most swimmers take between 1 and 3 lessons before it “clicks” and after that, well, you’re going to be needing to find a body of water because they love it!
Our pool is ideal for lessons. The water is 84 deg F and crystal clear. We have built a gentle ramp that leads to the pool deck and another custom ramp that leads into the water. There is also a resting platform at the end of the 30’ pool that acts as an island and a place to breathe during what can be a strenuous activity.
We always use floatation coats for first-time swimmers. They appreciate the extra buoyancy and we appreciate the handle! Some pets may always require a float coat to enjoy their swimming. For others it’s skinny-dipping from the get-go!
Here are a few videos that show a typical first swim lesson with us.
And here is a video that shows dogs swimming at their first lesson and once they’ve become confident swimmers: