Does your dog love to play in water?

  • While many dogs enjoy messing around in water, in puddles and ponds, there are many breeds that seriously delight in being in deeper water
  • Not all breeds of dogs are built for water activities
  • How to get your dog used to enjoying the water

It’s mistakenly believed that all dogs are “born swimmers” as the majority have the reflex to allow them to do the doggy paddle when in deep water, yet this movement won’t necessarily carry them to the edge of the pool or lake.

Are all breeds good swimmers?

Dogs can, as a rule, be categorised into those that are naturals in the water, others that don’t enjoy water activities at all, and others who you can possibly teach to swim. When attempting to swim for the first time, some dogs will find it awkward to master the paddling action, with lots of splashing but not getting very far. However, with practice, this skill will improve.

When to introduce your dog to water

If you can introduce water play for your new pup from around 6-8 weeks onwards, they will have plenty of fun just splashing around in a bowl of water in the garden.  When a little older, take them to a lake or an algae-free pond with slow moving or still water, preferably not a river where the currents can be quite strong. Spend time playing at the edge of the pond, and look for somewhere with a gentle slope where your dog can enter the water easily. A favourite toy or even entering the water with them, maybe all it takes for a hesitant dog to begin to swim.

Don’t rush things, and certainly make sure that your dog is totally confident in deeper water before asking him to retrieve things.

If your dog is afraid of water

It could be that your pet has had a nasty experience while being in the bath at home, and is very reluctant to enter water outside. Some pets are quite timid and are apprehensive about trying a new sport. Begin by filling a kid’s paddling pool and encourage him to play and chase his favourite toys, rewarding with treats and cuddles. Move onto large puddles and ponds, with plenty of encouragement and enticement, but as always, don’t rush or pressure your dog. He will soon come to see it as another fun activity.

Keep your dog safe in water

Water temperature plays a huge part in your dog’s safety in any water. If you couldn’t bear to stand in it yourself, it’s probably too cold for your dog to be in there for any length of time. Other safety issues are always to keep him within your sight when he’s in the water, and ensure that he has a good recall response. If he’s a dog that sometimes ignores you when he’s not on the lead, it’s probably not a good idea to allow him to swim at the beach or in a pond.

Allow your dog to spend time in the water and have fun times; just make sure that he has a good exit line of attack, and that he is warm enough.