Swimming with your dog should be a fun, positive experience! It can be a huge surprise when a dog lashes out in this way suddenly. That being said, with some patience and consistency, you can get back to your fun swimming adventure in no time!
Why Does My Dog Bite Me In The Pool?
Your dog could be biting you in the pool for a range of reasons from boredom to aggression. Diagnosing the reason your dog is trying to bite you is the first step to solving this issue!
Below, we will explore the reasons your dog might be exhibiting this behavior. It’s time to get to the bottom of it!
Why Does It Bite Me In The Pool?
Your dog could become aggressive in the pool for a multitude of reasons! Below we will explore some of these reasons and explain further why your pup may resort to biting in this situation.
Are They Just Being Playful?
Your pup could just be trying to play! Dogs and puppies will sometimes turn to bites when they’re looking to play.
Biting is a natural playful behavior, but always work on training to curb this as much as possible!
Are They Bored?
If you’re swimming and your dog is starting to get bored during play, biting could be a way for him/her to find something to do. Consider redirection in these moments!
If your dog is bored in general and resorting to aggressive behavior, then consider adding more exercise and mental work to their routine. This will always help a bored dog!
Is Something Bothering The Dog?
Let’s say your dog is overstimulated or worked up over something, this could cause your dog to resort to snipping at you.
Is The Dog Scared?
When dogs become fearful or scared, it’s not uncommon for aggression to come out.
Consider working on this behavior with treats to prevent them from being nervous about these situations.
We will explain further below how to properly counter condition this behavior!
Is The Dog Stressed?
Swimming, water, seeing you swimming, and tons of other things happening around your dog at that moment can all be examples of something that can make your dog stressed.
When you spend time with your dog, it’s important to know what triggers make your pup nervous or scared, and minimize the stressors as much as possible.
Is The Dog In Pain?
Pain is a huge reason why dogs can become aggressive. The same things happen in humans too!
If you had a massive toothache and couldn’t properly communicate it to anyone, how do you think that would make you feel? Exactly!
Is It Too Noisy And Active For The Dog (Noisy People, Other Pets)?
Overstimulation causes tons of unwanted behavior in dogs apart from just aggression. When dogs become overstimulated they resort to behaviors that they normally wouldn’t show.
Trigger stacking is a common term used in the dog training world to explain how a dog would get to this point.
Is My Dog Ok?
If you suspect your dog may be in pain or may be hurt, it would be best to be seen by a vet right away!
Dogs, unfortunately, cannot communicate, but aggression is one communication tactic they will use to tell us they need to see a vet.
Is This Abnormal?
If your dog has never tried to bite you and suddenly does, then yes, this can be abnormal. If your dog has shown signs of biting in situations like this before and you’ve seen this behavior, then training and consistent redirection should do the trick!
Dangers For The Dog/Others?
Accidents happen all the time in the pool, and your pup is not immune to them!
Dogs who are scared or nervous can become dangerous. In fight or flight mode, your dog may not know where they are or what to do next. They may use you or another dog as their safe space in the pool, which in return may sometimes cause a fight!
So yes, situations like this may be dangerous to others.
How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Stop Biting Me In The Pool?
The time that it takes dogs to learn to stop biting varies!
It could be a few training sessions, it could be 20. Every dog is so different!
How Do I Train (Counter Condition / Desensitize) My Dog Bite Me In The Pool?
First, diagnose the reason your dog is biting you when swimming!
Next, work on training. CC and Desensitisation is a complex process that essentially teaches your dog to feel more positive about the trigger. Once the trigger is understood, then the training can be done!
You would expose the trigger in a small, minimal way to start and treat your dog each time it is exposed to the trigger. You would then increase the trigger slowly while continuing to give your dog a positive association.
What Not To Do With A Dog Who Bites Me In The Pool?
Do not punish your dog!
Do not hurt your dog!
Unfortunately, we can not directly communicate with our pets to figure out why they are doing what they do, so it is important to be patient and understanding and not get frustrated with your dog.
Should I Take My Dog To The Vet? Or A Dog Trainer?
If your dog is showing a behavior it’s never shown before, it may be time for a vet visit.
That being said, if the dog is healthy, then move on to a dog trainer!
A trainer can help you with the next steps, and help guide you on how to move forward with minimizing this behavior and creating a more positive space around the pool.
How Much Would The Vet Cost?
The vet visit cost will depend on what issue may arise. The average cost of a vet visit $50-$250.
That would be for just the visit itself! The costs of any issues that you found during the vet visit can vary.
How Much Would The Dog Trainer Cost & How Long Will It Take?
Training can take anywhere from one day to one year, it’s so different dog per dog and there is no right answer!
Consider getting an evaluation done with a trainer and once the evaluation is done, your trainer should be able to walk you through the steps you need to take in order to reach your goals.
Trainer costs can vary depending on how old your dog is, how severe the issue is, and where you live!
In 2022, the average cost for dog training is $30 to $80 a class. Some issues would benefit most from a Board and Train where your dog stays with a trainer to work through issues in a more in-depth way. This can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,250 a week!