Can All Dogs Swim? How to Tell if Your Dog is Water-Ready | Lifestyle

OK, dogs on Key Biscayne beaches have been a point of contention for some since they are not allowed on the island’s beaches. However, with a dog-friendly close by on the Rickenbacker, the question on swimming dogs is worth exploring.

Not all dogs can, or will, swim. Some dogs may love getting soaked and splashed on a hot summer day while others may avoid water at all costs. While every dog’s reaction to water varies considerably, there are ways to make dogs more comfortable in the water, yet some still may never change their mind.

Dogs that are (somewhat) natural

If your dog has webbed feet, a long muzzle, long legs, or a double coat, he is probably a natural swimmer. Dog breeds that were originally bred for hunting with humans, such as Boykin Spaniels, Otterhounds, and Flat-Coated Retrievers don’t usually turn down a chance to play and splash in the water. Other dogs that enjoy a good swim in the water include Standard Poodles, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, and Labrador Retrievers.

Since “Rescue” dogs continue to be a popular breed amongst pet owners, many pet owners have mix-breed dogs that have unique water preferences. Rescue dogs mean you might not be able to determine how they’re going to do in the water without giving it a try.

Dogs that aren’t “built” for swimming

Dogs that are top-heavy, barrel-chested, flat-faced, or have short legs don’t exactly love splashing around in the water. Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, and Dachshunds, since they fall into these categories, are not typically “built” for swimming. If you’re hoping to purchase a dog of one of these breeds it’s not impossible to get them in the water, but you just might need some water gear to help them meet the challenge.

There are always exceptions

While some people may not view Chihuahuas as strong and fearless, that doesn’t stop some Chihuahuas from developing a love and enjoyment for the water. German Shepherds may not be textbook swimmers, but their body structure and energy make them naturals in the water. Dogs are unique and have their own individual personalities that make them special, which is why it’s possible to find a Labrador Retriever that is afraid of the water or a Boxer that refuses to get out of the water when it’s time to go!

Can you teach a dog to swim?

Yes and no. Some dogs are easier to teach while some just can’t catch on. To test if your dog can swim, test the waters with a pet flotation device. If your dog is not comfortable, never force them to stay in the water. By keeping your dog in the water when they’re afraid, you can create fear, lead your dog to panic, or create a negative association with water that may prevent him from wanting to take a dip in the water again. If your dog is getting in the water for the first time, be sure to check your surroundings for any distractions, and start in the shallowest area possible. Patience is key.

There are no hard-and-fast rules regarding which dogs can or can’t go in the water. With patience, your dog could become a confident swimmer and begin to enjoy swimming and splashing in the pool or beach.

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