Teaching your dog to swim

Singapore has tropical weather all year round, I say it is Summer all year round but it just got a lot more hotter as we progress into the “Summer season”, May – July. One of our favourite activities to combat this heat is swimming, which I only just managed to teach Polar how to do so. *Rejoice* It took us 4 visits to the pool before he actually jumped in on my own. #Feelingproudlikearealmother

Oh I still remember the first time we brought him swimming and poor us! We were drenched in the splashes Polar was making as he panicked the moment his paws touched the water. (Heehee)

There are a few swimming pools for dogs in Singapore but we bring Polar to Sunny Heights, which is at Turf City. They used to be called Animal World but recently got renamed and the whole area is now called Sunny Heights. There’s grooming services, boarding services, swimming pool, a cafe that you can bring you dog to (Bossy Dog aka Ah Bee Cafe) and also a dog bakery (Pawlicious). So in many ways, it is kinda like a one stop for the us. Also it is near to Pasarbella which I absolutely love for food and coffee except for the fact that it’s pretty pricey and we can’t bring Polar in.

The first time we went, we got a little lost as there weren’t specific signs or instructions about where and how you go about purchasing tickets and gaining entrance to the pool. So over here, I’m going to give you a step by step to the pool.
For first timers, you’ll need to buy the ticket at the office which is the first shop on the 3rd row of buildings at Sunny Heights. As you can see from the image on the top, it’s just straight in. Follow Polar’s footprints in!

This way to the pool
Where you buy tickets

The price for entrance to the pool varies according to the size of dog. For medium sized dogs, it costs $16 for entrance to the pool and humans go in for free. They may weigh your dog to determine the size. We weighed Polar and he is a hefty 12 kilos of goodness.

After you purchase your ticket, on your exit of the shop, turn left. You’ll see two gates that you’ll need to unlock (see image below) to access the path to the pool. Remember to lock the gates back as we don’t want to have any doggies doing the great escape!

After you pass the two gates, you’ll need to turn left. Just walk down the path and viola! You’ll have reached your destination (see below).

There are two pools, deep and one at Human’s waist height. Polar prefers the shallower one.

Swimming is something natural for some dogs, but totally the opposite for some. We’re guessing it was a nightmare for Polar the first few times, he was probably wondering why we were forcing him to go into the “giant bath”. Here are some tips on teaching your dog to swim based on our personal experience:

  • A leash that you don’t mind getting wet
  • Your furkid’s favourite toy
  • Your furkid’s favourite treats
  • Clothes to change out of because you’ll definitely get wet
  • Two towels (One for yourself and one for your dog)

You might want to start with the waist height pool because there are steps submerged in water, and you can sit there with your furkid while he/she farmiliarises with the pool. Put the leash on your dog and sit on the steps before going into the water together. Make him/her sit and give treats, encourage them to get them comfortable with the water.

Once comfortable, you can progress to lead them down the first step into the water. After the first step, remember to give lots of praises and a treat to reward for the progress. Sit with your furkid on the first step for awhile before progressing to slowly lead him with the leash into the pool. Dogs can naturally swim, however because our dogs are domesticated pets, they won’t have the opportunities to swim much hence may feel a little overwhelmed with water. Start with short distances, and always remember to shower your furkid with praises and treats. As they get more comfortable, you can slowly do longer distances.

The video below is the first time we brought Polar swimming and after he warmed up a little to it and could do small laps.

If you notice your furkid is naturally comfortable with water, you can remove the leash. If you go into the water, your furkid will naturally want to follow you into the water. You should treat them and praise them to encourage the behaviour.

As they get even more comfortable (and you get even more wet), that’s when you can start playing with the toys you brought, by getting them to catch. This may only happen after a few visits to the pool, depending on your furkid’s comfort level with water.

The video below is the fourth time we brought Polar swimming and we finally could play catch!

Swimming is very good exercise for dogs, and the resistance of water makes them work harder to swim than to walk or run on land. It boasts multiple benefits for dogs, like improved muscular strength and tone, while working their cardio-vascular and respiratory systems, without any of the impacts of concussive exercises on land (also less work for the us humans).

At the end of our swim, we always use the DIY dog wash machine but that’s another post for another day.

We hope you found this useful and have fun teaching your dog!

For those of you interested to bring your dog for a swim, you may visit:

Sunny Heights

Address: 110 Turf Club Road S288000

Tel: 6314 9363

Source of swimming benefits: http://vividlife.me/ultimate/1142/the-benefits-of-swimming-for-your-dog/



  • May 18, 2015, 1:39 pm  Reply

    I recently visited, and found it not a great place for one that is still teaching a dog to swim. The nearby dog boarding or dog day care gets really distracting for Donna, and not in a good way. I prefer other dog-friendly places like Tanjung Beach.

    • May 18, 2015, 2:17 pm

      Thanks for the comment! We haven’t gone to the beach yet but hope to do so soon. Also we liked the Sunny Heights pool because we can use the dog wash after so he goes home clean haha.

      Maybe next time when you go to the beach, we can join you? =)

      • May 18, 2015, 2:41 pm

        Hahaha, we go really early because I usually want to leave about 9am when it gets hot! 😛 Nice job teaching Polar to swim though 🙂

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