thoughts on teaching dogs to swim

Earlier this weekend I tried to post some pictures, but Safari shut down every time I tried to upload the pics and Explorer wouldn't even show the picture-posting button, so I gave up. Now I'm trying again on a different computer. The pictures are from Sunday - Nate and I went with Nate's friend Jason to one of the lakes to go kayaking. Dylan went in the kayak once, but he wasn't a big fan of it. It didn't last long.

There were only two kayaks, so most of the time I let the boys go and just hung around the shore giving Dylan swimming lessons. That's right, teaching my dog to swim. You WOULD think dogs were born knowing how to swim - most people probably think this, as I did until last summer - but this is not in fact the case. Dylan hasn't got the first clue. He won't go in over his head no matter how badly he wants to fetch the stick; he'll get within five inches of the stick, but he won't take the extra step if it's too deep. He will instead stand there in neck-deep water, crying, until I go fetch it FOR him.

However, if you carry him out into the deep part and drop him (it's called "tough love"), he can swim well enough to get back to shore, but he does it wrong. Another common misconception is that you can't screw up a doggy-paddle. It is actually possible to doggy-paddle the wrong way. And just try explaining to your dog that it would be much more efficient for him to keep his paws UNDER THE WATER. Here is what that looks like:

Sorry, dudes. I have a photogenic dog and this is probably not the last you'll see of him.

This was all taking place in Detroit Lakes, by the way. DL is near Fargo, but fortunately has lakes and trees and a lot less wind, so it's much better. Nate's parents live up there, so three-day weekends often find us making the trek on west I-94. DL is quite the tourist town during the summer -- it's surrounded by literally dozens of resorts. Yes, there are resorts in Minnesota. The people-watching in a tourist town is fantastic once you've been there in the winter enough times to know what the place is really like. Here is the way I discovered to tell a tourist from a local: the locals wear pants! That's right, pants. Tourists apparently spend so much time at the beach that they forget to put their pants back on before going to the bar, the store, whatever. Here in Minneapolis I don't think I'd see people walking around in just a bikini bottom and t-shirt, so why are the rules different in DL? Are the rules different any time you leave home? And since I'm not a local there (though not a tourist either, so who knows), can I walk around without pants any time I go out with Nate and his sisters, who are presumably required to wear pants by these rules? Wouldn't THAT be great. In fact, maybe I'll take my pants off right now.


Anonymous andy said...

Camino, and even straight up Firefox, work sooooo much better than Safari. Seriously. They're basically the same, but Camino fits better into the OS X Cocoa "eye candy" theme. (Which is why I use it) Don't be worried about its pre-release current version number - it's just as stable as Firefox from my experience.


7/07/2005 1:56 PM  

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