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While freestyle and backstroke are fundamental strokes, there’s another style that some people find useful – the doggy paddle. In this article, we’ll explore how to doggy paddle effectively.

Whether you want to avoid getting your hair wet or navigate a lazy river, doggy paddling can come in handy. So, let’s dive right into the techniques and tips for mastering this unconventional swimming style.


We often hear about strokes like freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly. But there’s another swim style called doggy paddle that might not be the first thing you think of.

Doggy paddling might not be fancy, but it can be useful in specific situations. For example, imagine you’ve just styled your hair perfectly, and you don’t want to mess it up by getting it wet while swimming. Or you are a total beginner and looking for a way to step into the pool. In these moments, knowing how to do the doggy paddle can be a handy skill to have.

The Kick: Mastering the Flutter Kick

When it comes to mastering the doggy paddle, paying attention to some key techniques can make a world of difference in your swimming experience. Let’s dive deeper into two critical aspects that will help you become proficient in this unique swimming style.

1. Keep Your Legs Low: To start your doggy paddle, focus on the flutter kick. Unlike other strokes, you don’t want to bring your legs up too high. Keeping your feet underwater at a downward angle will help you maintain balance and keep your head above water. Excessive splashing is unnecessary for this stroke.

2. Balanced Hip Position: Lowering your hips in the water helps maintain buoyancy. The angled position of your body, with hips slightly lower, will naturally keep your head above the surface. This is essential to prevent water from entering your mouth and nose.

Mastering the doggy paddle isn’t about making big splashes or strenuous movements. It’s a stroke of balance and grace. By keeping your legs low with a gentle flutter kick and maintaining a well-balanced hip position, you’ll find yourself gliding smoothly through the water, savoring every moment of this unique swimming experience.

Arm Movements for Doggy Paddle

1. The Scoop Technique: Traditional doggy paddling often involves a simple scooping motion with your arms. It’s similar to the way children instinctively paddle in the water. This movement is efficient and can keep you afloat.

2. Extended Freestyle Pull: Another technique, that I prefer, is to use an extended freestyle pull but under the waterline. Reach your arms farther out than usual for doggy paddle. This extended reach and pull motion provides better balance and propulsion.

3. Pulling Off to the Side: When you pull your arms through the water, consider pulling slightly to the side. This lateral movement helps maintain balance and prevents tipping when you lose momentum. Remember that you don’t need to exert a lot of force during doggy paddling.

4. Hand Position: There is no one-size-fits-all hand position for doggy paddle. However, you can reduce resistance by angling your hand like a pizza slicer as it moves through the water. This minimizes drag and allows for smoother movement.

Balancing and Momentum

1. Momentum is Key: Doggy paddle relies on maintaining momentum. Like a boat, when you pick up speed, you rise in the water. But once you lose that momentum, you’ll start to sink. Therefore, focus on maintaining a steady rhythm to stay afloat.

2. Balance with Lateral Movement: As mentioned earlier, pulling your arms slightly to the side helps you maintain balance, especially when you encounter variations in speed or direction.

Perfecting Your Doggy Paddle Technique

To become proficient at doggy paddling, practice is key. Try the following steps:

1. Practice the Flutter Kick: Spend time perfecting the flutter kick while keeping your legs low and your hips balanced.

2. Experiment with Arm Movements: Try both the scooping and extended freestyle pull techniques for your arms to see which one feels more comfortable and efficient.

3. Maintain Momentum: Work on maintaining a consistent pace to ensure you stay afloat.

4. Seek Feedback: Consider recording a video of yourself doggy paddling and send it to us for feedback and tips for improvement.


Watch Video


While doggy paddling may not be a competitive swimming style, it can be a valuable skill to have in certain situations. Remember to prioritize balance, momentum, and efficient movements to become a pro at this unconventional stroke.

So, if you found this guide helpful, don’t hesitate to share this article with your friends and family and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more swimming tips.

Consider becoming a member to access even more exclusive content and merchandise. If you’re looking for personalized swim lessons, whether in person or online, schedule a swim lesson today. We’re here to help you become a confident and skilled swimmer, no matter your swimming style preference.

Now, armed with the knowledge of doggy paddling, get ready to rock the water with confidence and style!

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