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It's been a while since I've posted anything here but I read other people's posts every day. I'm hoping you all can provide me with some advice.

We're excited that summer is getting close and we can't wait to take Dylan to the lake to try swimming. However, I am a little nervous to take him out on the pontoon boat. I know that Labradoodles are supposed to be great water dogs and they like to swim. But I still worry about him. Has anyone gotten their labradoodle a dog life preserver? Do you advise getting one? Or am I just being an overprotective mom?
 

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Lisac, My inlaws live by a lake in Michigan. My brother in law bought a life preserver for his miniture poodle for their trips out in their pontoon boat. I think untill you know how much Dylan likes water a preserver might not be a bad idea.
 

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We got one for Chester. It does help get him back into the boat once he's out swimming. It has handles on the back. I got it at Petsmart last summer.
 

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Lisac...I was going to post about swimming then saw yours. We have a 5 month old mini doodle. It was warm here in NJ for a few days like a week ago. We always hike at this park and took Dunkin on a warm day. He was watching bigger dogs fetch sticks and balls out of the lake and wasn't too interested in the water. Then all of a sudden he took off after a lab and jumped in the water and started to swim out to fetch the other dogs stick. My husband and I got so worried that my husband was ready to jump in after him. Turns out Dunkin knew how to swim and enjoyed fetching his own sticks in the water. Who knew he could swim?!?!? So my question is...is he too young to be swimming with the big dogs?
 
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Dogs are natural swimmers & don't need to be "taught" but big dogs that are rough-housing might cause a smaller dog to get overwhelmed & "dunked" so that it might panic. As long as the other dogs aren't going to bother your dog, I think a little swim in the lake would be fine for a pup. I would check for water in the ears though - you don't want your pup to get an ear infection. Our dogs know to stand still for a quick ear drying (soft cloth over my pinkie finger) after swimming. One of our dogs was wicked prone to ear infections so we always puts some special ear drops in her ears after each swim.
My vet says that a dog life-preserver is more for the owner's peace of mind than for the dog. In fact, she says that if a dog has to swim any significant distance it has to expend more energy & can't swim as far or as fast as if it swam in its own without help (try swimming with a life preserver yourself?) I can see though where lifting a dog out of the water would be easier if you could grab a handle than grabbing wet fur.
 

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I knew that they were natural swimmers I guess I just didn't realize he would get it at such a young age. Thanks for the suggestion about the ear drying. When did all of your pup's start to swim? Now of course we have the problem that he may want to jump into the pool for a swim everytime he goes out in the summer. I guess we will have to train him to only go in the pool when invited to. Any ideas?
 

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Here is one picture of Sawyer with a life jacket.



And one without.



The handle is great when we are on the boat, but he swims better without the jacket.
 
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