Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Swimming Lessons for Ticket

Just recently we introduced Ticket to the exercise of swimming. Working towards the Nationals I felt that Ticket doesn’t get enough aerobic exercise – she will run agility until she is giddy or capricious, however that exercise is always stop/start with breaks in-between drills, etc. and you can’t do that continually for a good ½ hour or so.

She won’t play ball or run free just for the sake of running and is continually in my face hassling me for the cue on what to do next – ever keen and raring to go, muscles tight and intense.

Therefore, we decided she needed to start some sort of exercise that would get the heart rate up for a longer period of time without exhausting her. Swimming seemed like a good option, being no impact on the joints, gentle on the muscles and continual movement.

We booked in at the Dog Pool, a purpose built, indoor facility located in the Canning Vale Kennel Area. The pool is warm, clean and you always have the whole pool to yourself during your appointment.

Well … what a surprise! Firstly Ticket needed a little convincing (push) to enter the water, once off the steps without any support she just started to sink. She seemed to have no fear or panic, and she didn’t start to move her legs until her head started to go under. She only moved her front legs, a little doggy paddle, just enough to keep her floating. We encouraged her along the side of the pool but she wasn’t using her back legs at all and kept rolling over, floating around sideways and sometimes upside-down!

The longer we kept her in the water the better she got at it. Still not using her back legs to their fullest, but she was learning that when she started to roll she had to kick to straighten up.

Ticket is becoming a better swimmer now, we are taking her twice a week for about ½ hour at a time. Each time she is getting better at it and I’m even able to get her to sprint from one end of the pool to me at the other end and, dare I say, I think she might even be enjoying it.

At no point has she shown any panic or stress, she has been very calm and relaxed right from the introduction of the whole exercise, she was even quite happy for Ally (the Dog Pool owner) to be around and help out.

I would recommend this place to anyone wanting to give their dog some regular, passive exercise. The only hassle is getting the dogs dry at this time of year ... if you're as crazy as us and go swimming in Winter!

Will post progress reports of Ticket’s swimming lessons as we continue, and hopefully some photo's when we remember to take the camera.

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