Oops! You did the classic "it is so cute when he was small and it isn't any fun now that he is big" mistake. This problem is just exacerbated because a lot of people splashing, jumping, and yelling in the pool is a really big distraction. Since most dogs are very social animals, they want to get into the fun too. This issue really has to be nipped in the bud when Wolfie is still young and the bad habit has not been mistakenly taught to him by you.
Here are some thoughts:
- Everything here must be started when Wolfie is still young.
- Have Wolfie (under supervision on leash) outside, near the pool with you. You swim around the pool, but don't make a lot of "crazy pool sounds". As soon as Wolfie starts to react to you, have the person supervising Wolfie redirect him in the opposite direction. Direct him to a toy and have him focus on that. Repeat the process until Wolfie understands that there are other things to do in the back yard besides focusing on you when you are in the pool.
As Wolfie gets better at a farther distance, move him closer to the pool and add people in the pool. As this improves, have people enter and leave the pool. Finally, have people leave the pool, interact with Wolfie, and then get back into the pool.
This process teaches Wolfie that he doesn't have to be in the pool to have fun with you while you are all outside in the pool area.
- Have Wolfie in the house (under supervision with leash) while you are swimming in the pool. If Wolfie starts to bark and run towards the door, have his handler redirect him towards a toy and social interaction.
Continue to ramp up the process with more activity in the pool and with more activity in the pool. As Wolfie is improving, remove the handler, first to the other side of the room, next to an adjacent room, and finally outside.
NOTE: If you want Wolfie to be a social dog in the pool with you, you will have to invite him in the pool, and on your terms. This will be a topic of a future blog.
For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.