We all have heard at some point that dogs are natural swimmers. And they manifest swimming just by entering into any water body. Well, this isn’t completely true. Not all dogs can swim or have a body structure perfect for swimming.
You may have a dog that might not pass by a water body without getting a dive in or a dog that always maintains a safe distance from the water. That said, even tho your dog can swim, he may say ‘No’ to swimming, and it’s okay. Always keep in mind that it’s inhumane to force your dog to go inside the water and swim because he may develop a life-long fear of water. Also, on the other hand, a dog that can’t or shouldn’t swim doesn’t necessarily stay away or refrain from enjoying the water.
Understanding The Swiming Ability of Dogs
All dogs start paddling when they are put inside the water. That’s ‘natural’, but doesn’t always mean your dog would be able to swim or even keep himself afloat. They all have different sizes and shapes depending on what breed they belong to. And that counts when we are discussing their swimming ability.
Some dogs, especially, water dog breeds have a specific type of coat, body structure, and facial features ideal for swimming. Those dogs were bred to retrieve prey from the lake or in general, meant to accompany humans where water is involved.
Whereas dogs like Bulldogs, Boxers, Pekingese, Pugs, Dachshunds, etc. cannot swim in any water bodies due to their physical attributes. In addition, some dogs who have ideal body shape and size have thicker coats that get heavier in water and have trouble keeping themselves afloat.
The common observations in non-swimmer dogs are that they have shorter and flat muzzles or have heavy and disproportionally large heads, or disproportionately small legs. Dogs with flat muzzles and square faces, like Bulldog and Pug, will have to position themselves vertically in the water in order to keep their noses above the surface line. And swimming in the water is too difficult when the body posture is vertical.
Dogs with disproportionally large heads have a similar issue. They have to position them weirdly in the water or try harder to keep noses and eyes above the waterline. While the dogs with stubby legs, for example, dachshunds, it is impossible to generate enough force to stay afloat or move in the water. And in this case, the size and shape of the face don’t matter.
Decide Whether Your Dog Can Swim or Not
Look up your dog’s breed online and see if your buddy can belong to a swimmer breed or not. Or simply, ask your trainer or a canine expert about your dog’s breed. Well, we believe that dogs would start paddling when they’re put into the water. This is not a rule. Sometimes you need to teach them how to do it with patience. Sudden exposure to deep waters can cause panic in your Fido.
Moreover, some non-swimmer dogs also find a way to keep themselves up and moving in the water. On the other hand, some swimmer dogs wouldn’t want to go near the water just because they hate getting wet and averse water. So, it really depends on a particular canine that he can swim or not after all.
In addition, some non-swimmer dogs love water but can’t swim. Considering that, they should be given a chance to stay in shallow waters of a river, pond, or dog pool in your backyard. You can also let them enjoy deep waters with a safety jacket or an air tube on. In a nutshell, you should not force your dog to like and enter water bodies and give them the chance to connect and enjoy the water.
Once you get to know whether your dog should swim or not, you can proceed with teaching him the swimming. Make sure that you are using a life jacket that allows you to attach a leash to it. This way you will able to have more control over your dog and he will always remain at a safe distance from you.
The life jacket should also always be put on dogs who are traveling through boat or when they’re near large water bodies. Swimming and splashing puddles are different things and if you think your dog can’t swim, you can let them have fun with water in many different ways.