Building capacity in your dog for swimming can take time. And swimming is an energetic exercise for dogs. Five minutes of swimming is equivalent to a five kilometre run.
The fastest way to increase your dog’s swimming capabilities is in short bursts. This utilises the theory known as interval training.
Interval training consists of short bursts of intense activity and then periods of rest.
For a dog, this can be seamlessly achieved, especially if your dog likes to play fetch.
Swimming for a ball and retrieving it is a great game for the dog, and they will happily repeat this activity over and over again. The interval of rest once the dog has retrieved the ball, is literally in your hands.
Ideally at the beginning, for one minute of swimming, rest for 30 seconds to a minute.
Then increase the swimming time to two minutes and then one minute rest. This could be two retrieves and then a rest.
Swimming two or three times a week and building your interval lengths, will quickly condition your dog until they are up to swimming 5 – 10 minutes without a pause.
Endurance comes when you are consistent with your exercise program.
I am sure that if your dog likes to play fetch, they won’t even notice the effort as they gain in fitness and the associated health benefits, because they are just enjoying time with you and playing a game.
Making exercise fun is key to continuing the effort long term, and that is something we can ALL benefit from.