August 9 2012

The art of doggy paddle

At Leopold Swim School the first stroke we teach is doggy paddle. Why? So your child can save themselves in an emergency such as falling out of a boat or into a pool, spa, river, lake, fish pond or waterway.

Doggy paddle is a skill not taught as often as it should in the aquatic industry.

Teaching doggy paddle gives even the smallest child the skills to get back to the edge if they fall in the water.

To swim doggie paddle successfully your child needs to:

  • have a flat body position
  • head looking at floor
  • use a small fast kicks to propel themselves forward
  • use a digging type arm action.

These actions, combined with confidence, are the perfect recipe for great doggie paddle.

But my child does not enjoy doggy paddle?

Some children don’t enjoy doggie paddle because they feel uncomfortable when they need to take a breath – they either don’t blow bubbles and hold their breath or they struggle to hold their head up high enough to get a breath.

If your child is feeling this way, try to encourage them to practice blowing bubbles and try to explain how important doggy paddle is for them to learn.

Getting their head up for a breath comes with continual practice.

Rebecca Andrewartha
Rebecca is the director of Leopold Swim School – learning to swim for life. Leopold Swim School provides swimming lessons for babies, preschool and school age children, whilst educating parents on the importance of an aquatic education for their child.