Get wet with your pet during summer dog swim sessions

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The current pandemic has forced all of us to restructure our work and play life. But even considering this, summer is definitely the time we all want to be out, in or around the water. The beauty and accessibility of Lowcountry waterways is very alluring.

Every summer, I've worked with dogs and owners to enjoy our local waters safely. There are several reasons you might wish to join this activity: dogs learning to swim or overcome fear of the water, pool safety, toy retrieving or just playing in the water with other dogs.

On late afternoons or early evenings, weather and tide permitting, dogs over 35 pounds descend on local beaches, pools, rivers, creeks and the like. (Exception on size are puppies and dogs who will be larger when fully grown and would like to learn to swim, or small breeds who live in homes with pools.)

They learn to get out of a pool without panicking, a very important skill in this environment where dogs drown each year by accidentally falling in and not knowing how to get out. Some skills are just for fun, like pulling a rope or retrievals of toys.

Some dogs will jump high off a deck or dock to try to reach a toy thrown in the air. Others will try to swim with their owner and need to be taught to stay safely to the side so they don't scratch their person. Almost any skill they learn is fun to watch and makes us appreciate the joyfulness of a dog in the water.

We are so blessed to be surrounded by water; summer offers us a great excuse to get in the water with our dogs. Sessions are always held after 4 p.m. and as late as 7 p.m. on Fridays in different locations on Hilton Head Island, in Bluffton and Okatie. The first session will be at 4 p.m. June 12, and the last is July 31.

The get-togethers are fun and free. A donation to an animal rescue group of your choice at the end of the series, however, is much appreciated.

For more information on dates, times and locations to join the class, email me at the address below. To be included on the weekly email list to find out the time and location each week you must email, as they are not published.

There is no requirement to attend each week, just come when you like. On weeks when passes are needed, signup is required and space might be limited.

This is an outdoor activity that you can safely enjoy while avoiding the virus. Come join us and get wet with your pet!

Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy. AlphadogTrainingAcademy@gmail.com

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