Since Lily's family goes canoeing several weekends a month and she always goes along, we were very surprised to learn on a recent trip to the dog park that she is a very poor swimmer. The lady beside us put it best when she remarked "Now that's a doggy paddle." Lily tries to swim vertically - her feet hanging down to the bottom and limp while her upper legs flounder around on the top of the water. Words to fully describe it fail me, but it is a pitiful sight.
The need to wear out two excited dogs drove us to spend several hours at the dog park both Saturday and Sunday. The 90 degree humid heat drove us to spend those hours in the water. Lily wasn't so sure about this plan, but we finally got her out in the water with us. And the swim lessons began. Alex found that lifting her hips just a little encouraged her to swim, well, horizontally. And to do that she had to use her back legs at least a little. It was small progress, but it was progress.
Of course, we almost caused Gwen to regress in the process. Gwen has long been an excellent, if reluctant, swimmer. This summer's heat has even inspired her to do laps around us in the lake, rather than just swimming to us and demanding to be held. However, the sight of her Dad spending so much time swimming with Lily and the frequent refrain of "good girl" apparently caused her some consternation. I turned around and there she was swimming to him in the same ridiculous doggy paddle Lily uses! Yikes. So not the plan. We immediately discouraged that and praised her for swimming properly, but she still tried it out from time to time... We may be better off with an 'only pup' since our parenting skills apparently don't extend to sibling rivalry.