Pool safety is important for everyone, including the family pet - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

Pool safety is important for everyone, including the family pet

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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 1:49 pm | Updated: 1:36 pm, Fri Oct 19, 2012.

Dog swim safety expert Lisa Maldonado, of Glendale, has made her way to Ahwatukee serving clients with some tips on how to get dogs in and out of the pool safely.

Owner of Arizona Pool Dogs, Maldonado specializes in working with dogs in pools for a number of skills, but emphasizes safety.

Maldonado started her business five years ago after working as a dog trainer. She figured she could relay her knowledge of positive reinforcement, important in dog training, to the water.

“Anything can happen. The point is just for your dog to know how to get out of the pool,” Maldonado said of many incidents she’s seen.

With summertime comes dog drownings, according to Maldonado. Though surprising to many of her clients, who assume all dogs know how to swim, not all dogs have been properly introduced to the swimming pool and may not know how to get out.

“They panic or don’t have enough of a stroke, cling to the side of the pool, and the sun just bakes them until they go under without a fight,” Maldonado said of dogs that are unfamiliar with the pool.

“She’s done something unique and special based on where she is, and there’s not a whole lot that focus on that specifically like she does,” said Steve Appelbaum, president of the Animal Behavioral College.

“We’re very focused on making sure that the trainers understand dog pool safety,” Appelbaum said.

Maldonado suggests three tips in keeping your dog or other pets safe around the pool: get a fence, introduce them to the pool, and remember to have a positive attitude and give praise.

Introducing the dog to the pool can be a positive experience for the dog after a walk, as a means to cool down, and by gradually letting them step into the pool over a few weeks.

Teaching trainers dog safety in pools, especially for warm-climate states like Arizona, should be in a “trainer’s toolbox,” according to Appelbaum.

“(Accidents) can be prevented, just take the time to make sure their safe,” Maldonado added.

For more information on Arizona Pool Dogs, visit azpooldogs.com or call Maldonado at (602) 881-1018.

To learn more about the Animal Behavioral College, visit animalbehaviorcollege.com or call (888) 600-7220.

Diana Martinez is freelancing this summer for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Reach her at thedianamartinez@gmail.com.

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