With the weather warming up, pet owners have been flocking to shops and online retailers to buy their furry friends a paddling pool to help them cool off.
But many of them are finding that their pets are reluctant or nervous to get into the pool and therefore they are either giving up and throwing the pools away or selling them on.
The Professional Association of Canine Trainers (PACT) says that it can take time and patience for dogs to use these pools and is urging dog owners to take a small amount of time to train their four-legged friends to use the pool to help them cool off during the summer months.
PACT says that a step-by-step approach is needed for dogs to feel comfortable enough to enjoy the water freely, as some may be more nervous than others.
The height of the sides of the pool is the first thing the trainers say you should think about when buying a paddling pool.
Placing a towel or a non-slip mat at the bottom of the pool will may help to avoid any slipping which may panic the dog and cause stress.
The first steps in the process when introducing the dog to the pool are the most important, according to Natalie Light, dog behaviourist and one of the directors of PACT.
She said: ‘You shouldn’t just fill the pool up and expect the dog to jump in and splash about because chances are, that may not happen. First, we’d recommend popping some treats in the pool before you even turn the hose on to fill it up. Then, once they’re a little more familiar with the pool, pop a little bit of water in along with some more treats or a toy – whatever they’re more interested in.’
Natalie feels there is a myth that pools need to be filled up high for dogs to enjoy it and cool down, but that isn’t true.
She said: ‘You only really need to fill the pool up by an inch or two, depending on the size of the dog. The aim is to ensure it covers their paws. They’ll probably walk in and out of the pool a couple of times and use it as a giant water bowl – this is what you want.
‘It’s about cooling down their extremities and making sure they’re hydrated.’
As a BCorp, PACT is committed to reducing the impact of their activities on the environment and therefore it’s not just canine companions that we need to consider when using paddling pools, as wildlife and plants can both be affected in different ways.
PACT is urging anyone who uses a paddling pool to place something, such as a small piece of wood when the pool isn’t in use, to allow bugs and small animals to find their way out of the pool to avoid drowning.
Second-hand pools can be picked up at a bargain price, so consider this before buying new and water should be reused where possible, such as to water plants in the garden.