EP 7: Swimming Dogs on the Wasatch Front

Splash Time at Barley's

What you’ll learn about dogs in this episode:

  • Swimming is a good and enjoyable exercise for all dogs, particularly older ones
  • Some dog breeds naturally take to swimming, while others need be introduced more slowly and methodically
  • Doggie Day Care is a relatively new service and reflects a change in how people view and care for their dogs
  • Dogs, like people, vary in their approaches to learning new things
  • Successful Aversion training, specifically rattlesnake aversion training discussed in this episode, results in protecting both dogs and their owners when hiking on trails

Welcome to another episode of Free Range Dogs Podcast

In this episode, Web talks to Mike Parmley, owner of Barley’s Canine Recreation Center and Rattlesnake Alert in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Inspired by the needs of his girlfriend’s elderly dog, Barley, Mike’s Recreation Center started with the idea of providing a swimming pool for older dogs to swim and get exercise. Since then, it has expanded to provide swimming opportunities for all dogs, as well as active daycare (that includes swimming) and specialized training classes.

Web and Mike talk about the variety of dog breeds and their approach to swimming, with some dogs jumping right into the pool and others needing a slower introduction with an assisted swim. Mike’s experience has been that once a dog realizes he isn’t going to die, he figures things out and starts to enjoy himself. The dogs in Day Care, which socialize together as a large group of 8-15 dogs, will all play in the pool together.  For dogs that are timider and not yet socialized to be with groups of dogs, Barley’s takes it slow and provides smaller groups until they get acclimated.

Web and Mike talk about the broad spectrum of dog behaviors and how dogs, much like people, can have a wide variety of responses to different experiences. Some are bold and jump right in while others may stand back and observe for a bit before getting involved.  

Lastly, Web and Mike discuss their experiences providing rattlesnake aversion training for dogs and their owners. This highly specialized training protects dogs and their owners when they are out hiking on trails, camping, or even in their own backyards.  An essential part of someone attending the training with their dog is to learn how their dog will respond when encountering a rattlesnake. Again, much like people, dog reactions can range from dramatic, such as jumping into your arms, to very discreet behavior such as looking away from the snake. 


Mike Parmley of Barley’s Canine Recreation Center

Contact Information:  https://swimatbarleys.com

Or  https://rattlesnakealert.com

(801) 467-6069