a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: We're Havin' A Heat Wave

Sunday, June 28, 2009

We're Havin' A Heat Wave

SUMMARY: In which we attempt to get the TMH dogs to go swimming in an actual swimming pool.

106 F (41 C) today on my back deck. Yeesh. (Although the official temp, at the airport, closer to the bay, was a mere 94, the Los Gatos temperature, which is farther up the valley, more or less parallel to where I am, came in at 105. What a difference 10 miles makes!)

So we invited ourselves over to my sister's yard, in which they have a swimming pool. I know for a fact that Tika likes to get into water where she can swim a bit; likes getting into the ponds here in my yard (one ankle deep, one chest-deep when full). Figured that she, at least, would like the pool, especially if I were in it with her.

Boost isn't keen on getting into the ponds unless there's a toy there, and even so she attempts to get as little wet as possible. But she loves playing in the hose spray. And her sister can't be kept out of the water. And there are so many Border Collies around who love water. I figured that with a little frisbee, she'd be in, especially in this heat.

Didn't work that way.

Worked slowly at coaxing each onto a shallow step, then a medium step. Actually lifted them, I think. It's all a little fuzzy now. Spent about 2 hours trying to gradually get them to where they'd actually swim. Coaxing, lifting, holding, praising. It was quite an exhausting experience on all our parts. Finally got boost to hop in from a step under her own power--once--to get the frisbee. First time that I took her in and held her until she was making swimming motions, she wanted nothing to do with the frisbee and instead wanted out. By that time, had a decent but not perfect idea of where the various steps were. After that, though, she wanted the frisbee badly enough that I was able to lower her into the pool in my arms, aim her at the frisbee, and she'd get it and make a beeline for the exit.

Tika came down to the deeper step for food, but she wasn't happy about it.

Ah, well. I think we all got a good workout. I took a camera but didn't actually put it into someone's hands and say "take photos of this!" Oh, well.

Photo: Why you shouldn't slack off on trimming your dogs' toenails if you're going to carry them into the pool.

Photo: Afterwards, lying in the shade and drying off.


  1. I took Zodi to the lake on Sunday to see if I could coax her into wading out past her usual elbow depth. Her BFF was there swimming, too and a 6 month old dobe puppy who was happily swimming after sticks. Nope. No way, no how. I tried food, I tried shaming her by pointing out how even a young puppy could swim better, nothing worked. I finally tried *gently* leading her in to where the water came up to her breastbone. After that she wanted nothing more to do with me.
    I don't think she's ever going to be a swimmer :-(

  2. Sounds like a good attempt, but if they don't want to swim, they don't want to swim. I doubt Katie would want to get into a pool, but she does like to bark and bite at hose water... till she's soaking wet anyway, silly dog.

  3. Funny how some dogs, even same immediate family, or just same breed, have such varying interest in water. I wonder how much is the right exposure at the right age--although I'm not quite sure what that would be!

  4. Holy stink-eye Boost! Has she forgiven you yet?

  5. In fact, she was quite torn about the whole thing. Even when I had given up and was sitting in the shade, she was prowling around the pool, dipping one paw in, I think trying to see whether there was a shallow spot she could start off in.

    I think if it were a lake into which I could toss a frisbee and she could easily walk/run into without jumping, she'd be good to go.

  6. Bet you're right about that. I've heard about lots of dogs who love swimming in lakes or rivers but take a whoooooooole lot of coaxing to jump into water like at dock dog events.