Why Does My Dog Freak Out When I Go in the Pool?

Have you ever noticed your dog barking, whining, or pacing around the pool when you go for a swim? If so, you might be wondering why your furry friend is so anxious and how to calm them down. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind dog anxiety around pools and offer some tips to help your dog relax and enjoy the water.

dog afraid of pool

Understanding Dog Behavior

Dogs are not born with an innate understanding of pools and swimming. They might be curious, scared, or excited by the sight of water, depending on their personality and experience. There are two main reasons why dogs might freak out when they see you in the pool: they are concerned for your safety or they want to join the fun but are unsure how to do so.

Reasons for Dog Freak Out

Some of the common causes of dog anxiety around pools are:

  • Fear of Water: Some dogs have a natural aversion to water, especially if they have never been exposed to it before or have had a bad experience with it. They might associate pools with danger, discomfort, or unpleasant sensations. For these dogs, pools are scary and they want you to stay away from them.
  • Separation Anxiety: If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, they might feel distressed when they see you in the pool. They might think that you are leaving them or that they can’t reach you. They might also feel jealous or left out if you are having fun without them.
  • Misunderstanding the Situation: Dogs might not understand what you are doing in the pool. They might see your splashing, kicking, or diving as signs of struggling or drowning. They might try to rescue you or alert you to the danger by barking or whining.
  • Unsure Entry/Exit: Some dogs might want to join you in the pool, but they don’t know how to get in or out. They might be afraid of jumping in or not finding a way out. They might also be confused by the depth, temperature, or movement of the water. This can lead to frustration or panic.
dog afraid of pool

Calming Your Dog Around the Pool

If your dog is anxious around the pool, there are some steps you can take to help them overcome their fear and enjoy the water. Here are some suggestions:

  • Desensitization: The best way to help your dog get used to the pool is to introduce it gradually and positively. Start by letting your dog explore the pool area when it’s empty, rewarding them with treats and praise for calm behavior. Then, fill the pool with a little water and repeat the process. Gradually increase the water level and your presence in the pool, always making sure your dog is comfortable and happy.
  • Pool Safety Training: Another important step is to teach your dog how to enter and exit the pool safely. You can use a ramp, stairs, or a designated spot to show your dog where and how to get in and out. You can also use a leash, harness, or flotation device to guide your dog in and out of the water. Make sure your dog knows how to swim and can reach the shallow end or the edge of the pool easily.
  • Playtime: If your dog likes water, you can make the pool a fun and rewarding place for them. You can play fetch, tug, or chase with your dog in the water, using toys that float and are visible. You can also give your dog treats and praise for being in the water. Make sure you supervise your dog at all times and limit the playtime to avoid overexertion or exhaustion.
  • Stay Calm: Your dog can sense your emotions and energy, so it’s important that you stay calm and confident around the pool. Don’t force your dog to do anything they don’t want to do, but don’t reinforce their anxiety by comforting or soothing them either. Instead, act normally and show your dog that the pool is nothing to be afraid of.

Additional Tips

Here are some more tips to help you recognize and reduce your dog’s anxiety around pools:

  • Look for signs of anxiety in your dog, such as panting, drooling, trembling, yawning, licking, hiding, or avoiding eye contact. These indicate that your dog is stressed and needs a break.
  • Avoid scolding, punishing, or yelling at your dog for freaking out around the pool. This will only make them more fearful and anxious.
  • Consult your veterinarian if your dog’s anxiety is severe or interferes with their daily life. They might prescribe medication or recommend a behaviorist to help your dog cope.
dog afraid of pool


Dogs might freak out when they see you in the pool for various reasons, such as fear of water, separation anxiety, misunderstanding the situation, or unsure entry/exit. You can help your dog overcome their anxiety by desensitizing them to the pool, teaching them pool safety, playing with them in the water, and staying calm. With patience and training, your dog can learn to be comfortable and happy around the pool.

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