Some dogs love water
We've probably all seen, on a day at the beach, dogs arriving with their owners and going straight into the sea, cool down in it, play in it, and even swim. And it is easy to assume that dogs love water, after all they all know how to swim by instinct.
But while all dogs can swim in theory, not all dogs like water or even are made for swimming.
Breeds that love water
Some breeds are more likely to love water than others, some were breed to work with water, either for hunting or rescue and some even have webbed feet. They include the Newfoundland, Labrador, Golden Retriever, Barbet, English & Irish Setters, Spanish & Portuguese Water Dogs, Poodle, American & Irish Water Spaniels, Border Collie, Jack Russel, Cocker Spaniel.
Breeds not good with swimming
Some breeds are simply not made for water, which doesn't mean that they won't like to walk or lay in a small pool of water. Indeed some breeds and just not good swimmers due to their anatomy, either because their legs are too short, their body too bulky, their fur too long weighing them down when in water, or because they have flat faces with breathing difficulties when exercising. These include many of the smaller breeds such as Pugs, French and English Bulldogs, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Maltese, Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, but also Boxers, Chow-Chows, Corgis and others.
It is however important to get these breeds used to water even if they don't swim, as many have long fur and will need grooming.
Some dogs hate water
And breed aside, some dogs absolutely hate water, whether it's going in a lake, taking baths, walking in puddles or even just being in the rain.
There are several reasons, but the main one is usually due to lack of exposure to water from a young age. Short haired breeds who do not need grooming may not be bathed often, you may not walk your dog in the rain because you don't like the rain, they may associate rain with thunderstorms which frighten them, or with fear of a large body of water or with a bad experience that involved water.
Advantages of liking water
However, there are any advantages to having a dog who likes or at least tolerates water :
- It will make a trip to the dog groomer, or a bath at home a lot easier.
- They can have great fun in the water, whether swimming in a pool, sea or lake, on a summer's day.
- Going in water is an effective way of cooling down on a very hot summer's day.
- They feel comfortable going to pee in the garden on a rainy day, or going for a walk when it rains.
- Not being fearful of swimming in a lake could save their lives in some situations such as floods etc.
Ways to get your dog used to water
If you have a puppy, the best way is to get him used to being bathed from a very young age, to play in water and to walk him in the rain, so that he grows up used to water.
If you have an adult dog who does not like water, it will be a process that will require patience and reward. It will often includes you getting wet and showing the example by going in the pool, or in the rain, and enticing your dog with toys that he loves.
It will likely not bring results overnight, but with patience, keeping on trying, with rewards, it will bring its fruits eventually. If you have friends whose dogs love water, and who get on with your dog, it is useful to put a pool out for all the dogs. Seeing his furry friends happily jump in the pool and having fun getting wet will encourage your own dog to have a try.
At DogStroll Day Care Center, we have a small safe lake at our disposal in which dogs can swim in the hot summer months, and we happily go in the water with them to play with them. We also put out small pools for dogs that are not good swimmers but enjoy water, and for dogs that may be more shy around large bodies of water but who like to play or cool down in a small amount of water.
Dogs who do not like water may be enticed by trying it out by seeing other dogs enjoying themselves in the water.