The new Splash Moraine?

W hat happens when you have dogs leaping through the air, splashing into a pool and swimming frantically after a toy? You get epic splashes that would make a 300-pound man jealous, a serious pool cleaning regimen, and the satisfaction of your dog experiencing pure joy as they paddle through the water. Splash Your Pup, […]

Splash Your Pup makes indoor waves

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s…Woody, the flying Weiner dog!

By Andrea Kowaleski

What happens when you have dogs leaping through the air, splashing into a pool and swimming frantically after a toy? You get epic splashes that would make a 300-pound man jealous, a serious pool cleaning regimen, and the satisfaction of your dog experiencing pure joy as they paddle through the water. Splash Your Pup, located in Moraine, is home to an indoor, heated swimming facility that offers private swimming lessons, certified trainers, short-dock diving competitions, and hydrotherapy for
your dog.

Head trainer Danielle O’Neill, who is also the head trainer of Train Your Pup, explains that it’s a misconception that dogs are talented swimmers. “Even retrievers we put a lifejacket on them for safety because when they hit that water they panic. Yes they can swim, but sometimes their brain doesn’t realize they can swim.”

Splash Your Pup opened a little over a year ago when O’Neill, who performs with her dogs in dock diving competitions, had the opportunity to buy a pool. Since Splash Your Pup is the only full-sized indoor dock diving pool for dogs within several hundred miles, O’Neill says clients use the pool for multiple reasons. “We do multiple assisted swims every week for dogs who’ve been injured. We’ve got dock divers that need to practice. There were the world finals for several organizations this year, so we had a lot people here over the winter training for that. We also get a lot of people right before summer because they have a boat and they want to make sure their dog is comfortable in
the water.”

Each dog must have a “first splash” appointment where their swimming ability will be evaluated and they become familiar with the facility. During our “first splash” with my dog, Ellie (who has some form of canine anxiety), I realized the dog has to want to get in the pool on their own. Our instructor, Kathleen, patiently worked with Ellie to inch closer to the water. She reminded us that every dog is different and may not swim on their first visit. Even though Ellie only managed to get her paw wet, she still accomplished something by climbing the steps and walking down the ramp by herself. She left with her tail wagging and full of treats.

“We don’t promise that your dog is going to get in the first time. Sometimes it takes several times. It really is what the dog is comfortable with. We want to make this a pleasant experience for your dog so they want to do it again,” explains O’Neill.

The pool features an inviting ramp so that timid dogs, like Ellie, can slowly walk into the pool rather than jump in. The Splash Your Pup staff keeps chlorine levels as minimal as possible and follow a strict cleaning and water testing schedule. “Everyone who works here has a dog who swims here. So it’s one of those things that if it’s not safe for our dogs, it’s not safe for clients’ dogs,” says O’Neill.

Not only can swimming be beneficial for your dog physically, but it can increase the dog’s confidence and strengthen the bond between dog and owner. “It’s a big confidence builder. Anytime you have a fearful dog and they can learn something new, that builds their confidence,” says O’Neill. “Anytime you teach your dog anything you’re improving that bond because you’re increasing the level of communication.”

If your dog enjoys the water, then you can try competing in Splash Your Pup’s frequent short dock diving competitions. Dock diving is a sport where the owner will throw a toy off of a dock, the dog will chase after it and jump into the water. The dog that jumps the furthest wins. Any experience level and breed of dog can compete in Splash Your Pup competitions. I recently watched a Splash Your Pup competition and witnessed a spunky dachshund, named Woody, jump just as far as some of his larger canine peers.

Not only does Splash Your Pup stand out as one of the few dog pools in the region, but they also give back to the Dayton community. Every year they host an open swim fundraiser that benefits the Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals (SICSA). Additionally all active military and police dogs can use the pool for free. “We get a lot of service dogs and it’s a nice fun event for them. They get to let loose and be silly,” says O’Neill.

Mostly Splash Your Pup is about the owner and dog having a good time together. “Most people just want to have fun with their dogs. It’s a dog in the water. What can be more fun than that?” says O’Neill. So when you see your dog flying through the air, with slobber rippling behind her, and gracefully bellyflopping into the water, you’ll know it was time well spent.

Splash Your Pup is located at 4792 S. Dixie Dr., Ste. 3, Moraine, Ohio 45439. To schedule a “first splash” call (937) 607-8524 or visit their website at

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"Andrea is a Daytonian with a slight Kentucky slur. She's a J.D. who made the potentially poor decision to pursue writing instead of law. She loves watching too much TV, horses, soccer, stories of triumph, and cold beer." Reach DCP freelance writer Andrea Kowaleski at

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