Last year, when Rover was less than a year old, I gave him the opportunity to swim. He flailed a bit and decided that was not for him. He refused to try it again over the next couple days. Since then I’ve made sure all his water was at a wading depth.
Recently in an effort to broaden his horizons I figured I’d let him try boating on my bathwater when I was done with it. At the very least, he’d be very warm and looking at something new. He didn’t seem to dislike the experience, but he wasn’t overly enthused about it either. Still, you have to try everything a few times, because sometimes he needs to mull it over for a day or two before he’ll give a new thing a real chance.
The “boat” is a clear plastic bin, and he can quite clearly see that it’s water outside the boat. This last time he decided to climb over the side of the boat into the water. I got my hand ready under the water for a quick rescue if he looked distressed, but it wasn’t necessary. He started swimming as soon as he hit the water, and he looked pretty chuffed about it—not a hint of distress. He’s not an efficient swimmer, but roamed most of the tub, pausing to rotate in place occasionally and peer at things through his blinking wet eyes. I only pulled him out after he got to an edge and started trying to climb out. He’d been swimming for 5-10 minutes by then. He seemed completely normal afterward.
I am hopeful that he won’t get bored of this particular enrichment. We’ll see!