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I was wondering if any has any tips to help me get my lab to stay in the pool and do more swimming then simply swimming from one side to the other?

He does like the water, so lucky that's not a problem. In fact truth be told the problem is me. There are some days when I just can't get him out for the long walk he really needs. A big part of this is the heat. The coolest part of the day here (AZ) is in the morning, but sometimes I just can't get in a morning walk. I do try to take him for a short walk in the evenings, but with other things going on, it's never as long as he really needs. I would really love encourage him to do a bit more swimming so he can get a workout on the days I don't have time for a early morning walk. At the same time I don't want to do anything to make him not want to go into the pool at all or scare him (like trying to force him to stay in). Do you think getting a life jacket would help with this, or scare him? Does anyone has a suggested type of towel for after he gets out?

I am also working with our other dog in the pool. He has a trick knee and we believe arthritis so he doesn't seem to do well with walks longer then 5-10 mins and is a good 3 pounds overweight (which doesn't sound like much, but he's only 18 pounds). I bought him a life jacket and take him into the pool. He did get a bit scared at first but now he does well swimming for about 5 mins and loves to stop and just float by putting his front feet on something. I'm wondering if I should keep trying to get him to swim for longer, and if so, what is a good point to stop? Are there signs I should be looking for(such as panting, or should I be stopping before he starts to pant)? I know they say when it comes to us that weight loss doesn't start until after 10 mins, does this apply to dogs to? While it isn't a problem yet, at what temperature should I stop putting him into the pool(right now, our pool is usually between the high 80s and low 90s)?
 

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Can you play games with your Lab, like having him follow you across the pool, or throwing things for him to retrieve?

I'd watch for signs of being tired, especially in your older dog, and take him out if he seems that way. Panting may or may not be an indicator, but if he's not panting when he gets in and starts panting 20 minutes later it could be that he's getting tired and is ready to get out. For him, I'd just suggest slow swimming with you alongside him and let him just float as well (floating will make his joints feel better; swimming may help get the weight off).
 
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