More Summer Games

If you’re looking for something new and fun to teach your dog this summer, look no farther! I give you… the paddlin’ dog!

And if you can figure out how to actually do this, I’ll hire you  myself! (I love how he paddles.)

Speaking of the beach (okay, Tillman here is into a lot more than water, but allow me the seque) if you’re headed toward water and any of the following apply:

1. Your dog doesn’t swim well

2. They have a heavy undercoat (which will absorb water and drag them down unexpectedly – Akitas are especially at risk for this)

3. They don’t swim often and don’t know their own limits


4. You’re going to spend a lot of time with your dog in a lot of water


Then you might consider a fashionable doggy life vest! Lily, who is a world-champion sinker, sports her fashionable coat here while she is acting as furniture for her buddy, Jake.


Bully breeds are notorious for being world champion sinkers, on account of their great bone and muscle density and tiny, tiny paws. Terriers of most types have a similiar problem, not because of greater density but because of their oh-so-dainty paws. Without her life jacket, Lily will not even let water touch her belly. But WITH her life jacket, look at her go!


That’s her, splashing around (after her ball) WAY OUT THERE. If I were a little less modest, I show you her giving the ball back to me with me in thigh-deep water, and her little head just visible. It’s pretty cute. Granted, she occasionally gives me minor heart attacks by swimming into a wave, getting dunked, and then popping back to the surface… but the vest means that she for sure pops back to the surface! And if something ever goes really wrong, it has a handle so I can pick her up out of the water. But the way it straps high around the chest, and the placement of the padding ensures that even if something DOES go terribly wrong, she’ll float with the majority of her body and head out of water with no effort on her part. All she has to do is lift her nose a little!

Life vests aren’t terribly expensive (I got this one on sale at REI for about $25), and they are worth their weight in gold. Pick yours up today!


Got your life vest and doggie board and ready to go to the beach, but not sure where? Try Fort Funston up in San Fran, or Mitchell’s Cove down in Santa Cruz. Both are off-leash beaches (or at least have off-leash hours). But remember: Pick up after your dog! Humans (and children, which are like humans but smaller and with less sense) play on these beaches, too!



2 thoughts on “More Summer Games

  1. Oh my gosh, Lily makes an adorable piece of furniture! So Cash doesn’t need a vest despite his long coat? Is it because he’s a good swimmer?

    • If I were going to take him out on a boat, say, where I knew he wouldn’t be able to get in easily and where he’d be swimming with no rest for long periods of time, I’d put him in a coat, too. As long as I can get to him from shore pretty quickly I don’t worry about it; his coat is long but there’s not a dense undercoat to soak up the water and pull him under, so I’d have time to get out there if he was flagging!

      Plus, he’s afraid of waves so I don’t worry about him going too deep!


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