Fitness with our Dogs: Jack & Maggie Learn to Swim

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FitDog Friday is all about canine fitness and we often write about fitness tips or fitness research that can help you and your dog stay fit and healthy.  Today, we are taking a different approach and will be sharing some “fitness fun at the lake”.  After all, fitness should be fun and as you will soon see, we had a lot of fun introducing a new form of exercise to our Labradors.

We were excited to take Jack & Maggie on vacation to Big Bear. They both came from pretty hard knocks backgrounds and we love introducing them to new experiences. We have taken them swimming before, but only in a small swimming pool, the beach and a small stream near us, so no place where they could really swim like a Lab should. Neither of them seemed to show much interest in the water, the most they would do is wade around as long as we waded with them, so we weren’t sure how they would react to a lake.

The first day we took them down to the shore. Unfortunately, they were both much more interested in all of the smells and Jack immediately found a dead fish and ate it in 5 seconds. After that, he stayed pretty focused on finding more dead fish the whole time.

Maggie was looking for fish too, but she was much more comfortable wading out into the water. She’s still fearful about new things, so we just let her go at her on pace. The first day, all she did was wade around.maggieswimming

But the second day, she started out checking for fish with Jack and then waded out into the water, walked around a bit and then just kept going until she was swimming. She was a natural. I didn’t catch her first excursion on video, but this one is pretty similar.


Jack’s experience was a bit different. He would wade out a bit like Maggie but was more interested in combing the beach, looking for anything edible. We had him on a long rope and we would lead him out, but as soon as his feet could no longer touch, he turned around. Steve picked him up and walked him out a few feet, but he’d turn right around and head back to the beach. We kind of gave up.

Later we were sitting on the dock and a fish jumped out of the water right in front of him. That really got his attention and he started to try and figure out how he could get out off the dock to get the fish. The following captures that adventure. [You may have seen this on our FB page already, but it’s pretty funny, enjoy it again.]


Since this was our “backyard” last week it fits right into our K9Kamp Backyard Fitness Fun & Games. This was sure fun for the dogs, and fun for us. Swimming is a great low impact exercise. For seniors like Jack and Maggie it’s especially good and an added bonus is the nice cold water on their joints acts like an icepack for reducing inflammation.
And we are happy to announce the winner of our great K9Kamp Giveaway. Jan Keefe of Wag ‘N Woof Pets is our prize winner! Congratulations Jan, this is quite a prize package you’ve got. Thanks to all our generous partners for donating such great stuff!
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  1. Oh, I loved the video of Maggie swimming. So cute! Enjoying the water just as a Lab should! The first time I took Ace swimming, he looked very awkward. He was almost vertical in the water, like he was trying to paddle up or something. Very strange. But now he swims like a champ!
    Lindsay recently posted…Should experienced dog owners adopt the more challenging dogs?My Profile

  2. YAY Maggie, like Flipper! Have you seen a dead fishy for me too? I love the theme of the white shark in Jack’s video… one reason more for Easy to avoid water.

  3. Congratulations to Jan, one lucky gal! We are so happy both dogs did a bit of swimming. Swimming is such a fun and healthy activity! All of us Kampers should meet at the lake for the next Kamp.
    Emma recently posted…Our Evening Backyard Workout |K9 KampMy Profile

  4. What a beautiful place and beautiful lake photos of Maggie what a swimmer! The videos were awesome! I love to take my gang swimming. Congrats to jan you won big!
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes~Beaks And ToesMy Profile

  5. Hi Y’all!

    Great swimming Maggie and Jack!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…The Parade of Toys, Keep Exercise InterestingMy Profile

  6. We love watching dogs swim! Maggie did great and Jack was quite the trooper too! hehe! Love the videos!
    Diane and Rocco
    Diane recently posted…DIY Dog Toys for Backyard Fun and Games!My Profile

  7. Yay, Miss Maggie !

  8. Great video of Jack learning to swim. He doesn’t look real comfortable yet. But maybe after he see a couple more fish he will try again.
    Mark at DBDT recently posted…Veruca visits Wiessner WoodsMy Profile

  9. I love those videos! I may have laughed a tad at Jack’s first attempt to swim, but he got going really well! 🙂
    It’s Dog or Nothing recently posted…What Does it Matter?My Profile

  10. I LOVE the videos of the two of them swimming! How fun to get to experience their first swims with them. Luke was swimming the exact same way as Jack did at first for his first couple of times. It’s so cute to watch them get the hang of it.
    I can’t even describe how excited I was to hear that we won the giveaway!! I can’t thank all of you enough….it is such a generous prize package and some of things in there have been on our “wish list” for a while!!
    Jan K recently posted…Summer Safety Series – Heat SafetyMy Profile

  11. Glad Jack survived his first taste of sushi and his first swim! Watching pups try to swim without putting their butts up first always cracks me up. Jack was a quick learner though once he got a lesson.

  12. Is it weird that I was so proud of Maggie bravely learning to swim. I am sitting here smiling like the Cheshire Cat! What a huge accomplishment for her! ♥ Jack going for the fish is hilarious. Both great videos. Congratulations to Jan. Her gang will be so happy!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Pawz ‘N Clawz Jewelry ‘N ThingsMy Profile

    • No, it’s not weird…I’m glad that you feel for her! I’m so proud too – it is huge for her. And I’ve even noticed a bit more confidence now that we’re home, so it was a great experience for her.
      mkob recently posted…Fitness with our Dogs: Jack & Maggie Learn to SwimMy Profile

  13. Great job Maggie and Jack you are quite the little trooper! I just came back from a cottage in the Kawartha Lakes and the water was still a bit cold – I swam for 20 mins but I could not seem to convince Maya to get in.
    Swimming is such a great work out.

  14. This looks like such a fun time for both dogs! Barley doesn’t like it when her feet can’t touch the bottom, either. Once there was a bit more of a drop off than she was anticipating along the shore and she looked a lot like Jack did in that video! She has not embraced paddling since. I’m glad Maggie took to it like such a natural!
    Beth recently posted…Adventures with LindseyMy Profile

  15. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! That video of Jack was HILARIOUS!!!! He looked so so so so odd when he first tried to swim!!! hahahahah!!! Poor Jack!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…My huskies can do the gardening!My Profile

  16. Just when we thought it was safe to go in the water, you had to remind us of monsters of the deep. 🙂
    jan recently posted…This is the coolest jersey in all of sportsMy Profile

  17. Go Maggie!!! She is so smart and so Labby, just “doing swimming” perfectly the first time.

    Oh my gosh I am laughing at Jack (sorry Jack!!). And then I am so ashamed for Mort. See Jack just goes “oh this is how to swim” within 3 seconds and the prompt after the initial “OMG paddle”. Mort still OMG paddles, and thinks it’s swimming… and he’s been going in the lake for months and months. And months. I’ve held his rear end and everything, helped him learn how to float, and he still thinks the correct way to swim is what Jack does there for the first few seconds. He only swims properly after a few hours in the lake and is too tired to slap the water anymore! And that’s why we stick with the life vest.

    Yeah… Mort’s no Lab – zero swimming ability! Oh yeah we’re going dock diving Sunday… wish us luck – we’ll need it! 😉
    Jen recently posted…How to be safe when jogging or walking your dog at night: dog safety tips and products to help outMy Profile

  18. Yay, Maggie! I also recently discovered that Mr. N can swim. I was so proud! And I’m pretty sure he has not a speck of retriever in him.

  19. The videos are great. People don’t realize that it can take some dogs a bit to learn how to swim. It is not uncommon for them not to be comfortable right off the bat. Storm took a long time to like swimming. 🙂

    I think brown dawgs would love that lake!

    Congrats to the winner!
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Running Doubles With DucksMy Profile

  20. Congratulations to the winner.

    Sounds like fun was had by all at the lake.
    jansfunnyfarm recently posted…Air of MysteryMy Profile

  21. Oh that Maggie looks like she’s got a love for the water. Great videos- keep those vacay photos coming…

  22. I’m proud of Jack! It’s great that you have the patience to let them try within their own comfort. Great video!
    See Spot Run recently posted…Why Core Strength is Important for All DogsMy Profile

  23. Love the videos especially Jack the shark jumping in! Kirby is like a fish. We have to keep a tie off on him lest he swims out too far. We have a funny lake story. We were walking trails keeping him close under our watchful eyes due to coyotes and eagles. When we got to a dock we relaxed our vigil when we heard a splash! He was hot and had jumped off the deck into the lake. Now we know what he might do given the opportunity!

  24. Funny cause until I had Scooter I never realised that dogs don’t automatically know how to swim. I thought it was instinctive. Scooter’s initial attempts made me realise it wasn’t so….thankfully he is now very confident. Great to see your pups in the water
    Paws and Pedals (Scooter & Kate) recently posted…Dog Lovers Wanted!! – Animal Care for Seniors at HomeMy Profile

  25. It is a great thing that your Jack and Maggie learning swimming. Really, Some pets are like to learn swimming. The video is great and I love so much. I have a doggy and I also want to increase activities for my doggy fitness. If you have any tips and idea, then Please share with me.

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