Getting to know the “big pool” after that was easy. They learned to lift their feet and put them back on the ledge where the water was four inches high, and we put each one on a raft so that they could feel buoyant in the water. One by one, each was taken into deeper waters and held while they learned to move their feet in the water.
Careful control at this stage is critical; for safety reasons, the ratio of humans to puppies was 1:1. If any pup got scared, we backed off and let him splash around in the paddling pool as long as he didn’t show curiosity about the activity of his littermates.
Although they were not experienced swimmers, when they left here, they at least felt comfortable in the water. Our guardian puppy, Teaser, was named Dock Junior at one year old because she needed a swinging bumper to chase in the weaning pen.