When we think about dogs, we often think “All dogs….” and we have a list. Many things people think all dogs do are bark, chew, fetch, dig and of course swim. Interestingly enough, not all dogs do these things. Because of their breed and their build, they may or may not. Even within a breed, they may not do the same things. These are all things that were necessary as a dog in the wild, and some have carried over to domesticated dogs. But not necessarily to all dogs.
For instance, not all retrievers, golden or labrador, swim. This is a breed we think of taking a dive into a river or pond to retrieve! But no, some are actually fearful of the water! The poodle was bred to be a water dog. That foo-foo hair cut you’ve seen poodles sporting originates from when it was used for hunting- and retrieving the kill out of the water. But not all poodles swim.
So how do you know if your dog swims? What do you do if he doesn’t, and you would like him to? If you have a young puppy, the best thing you can do is expose your puppy to the beach, pool or the river young. The more exposure, the more confident your puppy is and will try his dog paddle out! You should not toss your dog into the water to sink or swim… like you hear of people doing. That could be very traumatizing, let alone dangerous. With an adult dog, the same rule follows to introduce them and let them build their confidence. Join them in the water, first to their paws, then their elbow’s etc.
In the past couple of years I have heard of doggy swim lessons. I am just fascinated! Ankar is a lucky puppy that has recently had his first swim lesson. He is a Copper and Gibson puppy. He must be lmost 11 weeks of age. He is a puppy student at www.martingausrotterdam.nl. Included in his puppy course is the opportunity to have swim lessons at www.hydrotherapiehonden.nl . This place is actually for therapy for dogs, but they have teamed up with the school to offer swim lessons.
They put a doggy life jacket on the puppy. He’s not all that big, so finding a small enough one is a bit of an issue 🙂 This is what Daniella had to say about Antar’s swim lesson: “When he went into the water at first he was looking very strange, because his foot became wet, then he was helped into the water and swam immediately. He was swimming very good! He didn’t even want to come out of the water. But when he did, I was there with a nice towe for him. It’s really strange to see him that wet, where is the dog? He looked so small!!!! “
Antar lives in The Netherlands now. And if you know the Netherlands, you know there is lots of water, so the ability to swim is imperative!
So, do all dog’s swim? No. Can a dog learn to swim? In many breeds, yes, perhaps it could with a little work.
Happy swimming Antar! Thanks for sharing your swim lesson with us!