What German Shepherds Were Bred For
The German Shepherd became a recognized breed in 1899. After many years of fighting among dog experts in Germany attempting to standardize dog breeds in Germany. The Shepherd was bred for that purpose: herding and protecting sheep, cattle, and other animals that often needed the guidance of a friendly, stronger animal.
As such, these dogs were bred with the traits that would make them successful in this purpose. Which is intelligence, strength, speed, and cleverness.
It may not be a well-known fact among readers, but sheep and cattle are not strong swimmers. They do not tend to do well in the water. With this in mind, the first German Shepherds naturally learned to keep their flock away from water where they could accidentally drown.
Through years of breeding with this being a taught behavior. German Shepherds over time learned that water was not bad but going into it could be. Because of the years of this being only what they knew, most German Shepherds are not natural swimmers.
This does not mean German Shepherds are afraid of water by any means. If you have a pool and a Shepherd, it is not uncommon to see your companion get in the pool. They would probably play in the pool if the water hits about mid-leg height on them. German Shepherds actually love water!
Unlike hunting dogs such as Labrador Retrievers. Their primary purpose involved protecting their flock from anything threatening. Which could be anything from wolves and coyotes or the nearby pond.
Consider Your Dogs Fears
As a dog owner, you must be responsible enough to consider your dogs fears. Some dogs are scared of water, and should your German Shepherd be one of those dogs, do be patient. Again, training your German Shepherd to swim is a long process that will require you to keep your cool, especially when it comes to fearful dogs.
Taking Your German Shepherd Swimming Keep This In Mind
One of the most important things to avoid is scaring your German Shepherd.
If you calmly and slowly expose them to water early in their lives, most likely, theyll love the water and enjoy swimming with their owner or other dogs.
Dont throw your dog into the water. This will traumatize the dog in some cases, and they wont want to get back into the water.
Always work with them slowly and patiently and offer plenty of reassurance. Dont force them to go in if you can tell they are terrified.
Its best to also closely monitor young puppies for trouble swimming or in case they find themselves in a difficult situation. Being close to them will also increase confidence and make the process easier.
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Can German Shepherds Swim Naturally
If you just plop your shepherd into the water, will they swim? Can German Shepherds swim naturally? The short answer is perhaps. Almost all German Shepherds, barring a disability, should naturally be able to swim if you put them in water.
Every dog has a different personality and different experiences though, so its hard to say whether your dog will like to swim or not. Some dogs love to play with the hose but hate to swim. Other dogs hate getting a bath but love going for a swim. The only way to really tell if your German Shepherd enjoys swimming is to give them a chance to try.
There are some breeds that tend to like swimming more than others. German Shepherds are one of those breeds! Although they werent bred for swimming, their behavioral and physical breed traits make them naturals in the water.
So can German Shepherds swim? See how your dog responds.
If your shepherd does love swimming, this opens up other possibilities when on vacation like going camping at the beach with your dog.
Tips To Introduce Your Dog To Water
There are lots of different approaches you can take to safely introduce your German Shepherd to water and swimming.
Be Patient: not all dogs have an affinity to water. For some, new situations are scary. You must never force your dog into water. Allow them to approach and check it out on their own. It may take several attempts before they are comfortable enough to get their paws wet.
Get In With Them: our dogs look to us to lead and take control of new situations. If your dog sees you calmly getting into the water, it shows your dog that the water is safe and nothing to be afraid of.
Start Small: it is unrealistic to expect your dog to jump straight into a lake the first time they see water. Try setting up a small doggy pool or kiddie pool in your yard. With the water only deep enough to cover their feet, it is much less intimidating than a deep swimming pool.
Lots of Praise: verbal praise and encouragement will really help to relax your dog and make them more comfortable with getting into the water. Praise them just for stepping close to it, even if they dont get in. the more positive experiences they have, the easier it will be to get them used to the water.
Swimming Lessons: yes, you read that right. Dogs can take swimming lessons! There are lots of facilities that offer swimming lessons for dogs, as well as hydrotherapy sessions. You can also search for outdoor dog pools. Some facilities offer doggy pool parties for friendly dogs!
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Interested In Training Your Husky The Right Way
If you havent trained your Husky properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether its barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.
The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.
With Brain Training For Dogs youll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog wont listen, youll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, thats given proven results. Not to mention the fact, youll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.
So instead of worrying about whether theyre going to be well-behaved or not, youll only have to worry about how much fun youll have with them!
And in most cases its still going to be:
- Cheaper than hiring a professional.
- Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
- And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.
Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Husky completely and never worry whether theyll be naughty or not. Instead, youll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOURE NOT.;
Swimming And Webbed Feet
The most natural evidence we have that webbed feet in German Shepherds may be beneficial is that other breeds with webbed feet are found to be excellent swimmers and retrievers in the water. Webbed feet make swimming easier because the extra skin and webbing increase the paws surface area.
This increased surface area of their feet and toes may translate into a stronger swimming stroke as the foot pushes through the water with quickness and ease.
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Fun Activities That Incorporate Water
- Getting a kiddie pool
This is a relatively cheap idea that can give hours and hours of fun.; You can also get some water dog toys and use those to play games in and around the pool.; Plus, if you have kids, this will be fun for the whole family.
- Taking a trip to a beach that allows dogs
Dog beaches are a fun day trip that can be a good outing for everyone and allow your dog to get some exposure being around water.; With other dogs around, you dog may even dip their paws in the beach water.
- Swim lesson or play times at a dog pool
Swim lessons or going to a dog pool can help your dog become more confident swimming as well as give your dog exercise.
Can German Shepherds Swim Safely
It isnt hard to picture a German shepherd swimming. Few canines can compare to their sheer athletic ability or physical prowess of the GSD. However, this doesnt automatically mean they can swim or that theyll be great at it.;
So what needs to happen for a German shepherd to swim safely? First, we should always start with the assumption that your German shepherd cannot swim. Just because your neighbors GSD is an excellent swimmer doesnt mean yours will be.
It is important never to put them in any large body of water until they have shown they know how to swim. Or at least until you teach them.
However, you can rest assured that the odds are your German shepherd has the potential to swim. As long as they do not have any major muscle or skeletal health concerns, that is.
Like most dogs, German shepherds should instinctively know how to swim. Which is fortunate, since we cannot communicate techniques to them otherwise. Still, there are some steps to take to ensure the learning experience goes smoothly.
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Physical Traits That Can Make German Shepherds Good Swimmers
Now, while theyre not natural at it, German Shepherds do have some physical qualities that can allow them to be excellent swimmers. These qualities are as follows:
Long Legs. German Shepherds have long and strong legs similar to natural swimmers like the Labrador Retriever and the German Shorthaired Pointer. These long and powerful legs help propel them in water.
Long Snouts. Short snouted dogs like bulldogs arent suitable for swimming due to the shortness of their snouts that make it difficult for them to keep their muzzles above the waterline. Such is why natural swimmers tend to have long snouts, another physical quality which German Shepherds possess.
Double Coat. German Shepherds are double coated, meaning they have undercoats that essentially make their coats waterproof. These waterproof double coats help regulate temperature when swimming as it acts as an insulator. They also act as a water repellent, which prevents the German Shepherds fur from being weighed down by the water, thus allowing them to swim freely.
Webbed Feet. While not as pronounced compared to the natural swimmers, German Shepherds have webbed feet. These allow them to push more water with each paddle, propel themselves better, and swim more efficiently.
Why Do Dutch Shepherds Sometimes Behave Strangely In Water
Sometimes, despite everything you may have heard or seen with other Dutch Shepherds and their owners, you may find that your dog behaves strangely around or in water.
This can especially crop up when you go into the water with your dog intending to have a fun swim together.
As this thread on the Dutch Shepherd dog owner forum illustrates, if your dog doesnt want to explore the water or behaves strangely when you go in, it may be due to this breeds strong protective and herding instincts.
Your Dutch Shepherd has a long breed lineage as a working dog breed that is responsible for herding and protecting both animals and people.
As the owners are discussing on the forum, their Dutch Shepherds often behave as if they are trying to rescue them back to shore!
Of course, you cant talk to your dog and explain that swimming around in the water is fun for you.
If your pup continually tries to herd you back to shore or bite down on your clothing to pull you back to land, you may need to do more training or even accept that swimming together may not be something that your dog finds fun.
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How Do Different Types Of Water Affect Your German Shepherd
Its certainly great news to hear that German Shepherd can enjoy the water and swimming. But please keep in mind that different types of water will require caution on the owners part.
GSDs, like all dogs, are known to swallow some water when theyre swimming. So it may be safer to stick to lakes and freshwater sources, as opposed to the saltwater of the ocean.
When taking into account the risks of ingesting too much saltwater, as well as the powerful waves and currents, we strongly advise owners to exercise caution when taking their German Shepherd to the ocean.
Where Did German Shepherds Come From
The German Shepherd, as the name suggests, traces its roots way back to Germany in 1899 where they were originally used for herding sheep. That is how the name shepherd was arrived at. The dog breed is classified as between medium and big in terms of size.
German Shepherds go with various names depending on where they are bred. Officially, the breed is known as the German-Shepherd Dog, or GSD.
In Britain, the dog was also known as Alsatian from the period post the First World-War, up until the late 70s when the name Alsatian was dropped and German Shepherd picked up again.
German Shepherds are closely related to the wolf in appearance. In fact, it is easier to confuse the two animals, especially in regions where wolves are not very common.
In terms of color, German Shepherds are either red/black or tan/black. However, you are also likely to find German Shepherds of rarer color shades such as pure-black, liver, pure-white, blue, silver, panda and sable.
The height of male German Shepherds is somewhere between 24 and 26 inches at the withers, while that of females is between 22 and 24 inches.
You will also notice their elongated body and tail, with a bushy tail that stretches up to their hock. Their heads are dome-shaped with long square-cut muzzles.
They have a black nose, medium-sized brown eyes and like most other members of the canine family, their jaws are very strong.
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The Dangers Of Salt Water
Although they can swim in saltwater, keep in mind that this breed usually swallows some of the water they swim in, so its best to limit saltwater swim sessions.
Try to limit lengthy water exposure to clean fresh water.
Saltwater ingestion can lead to vomiting and create dehydration. If the dog swims in open water in the ocean or sea, there are also strong currents and waves they need to navigate.
This water action can make swimming more challenging and may get them into trouble. Always watch German Shepherds while they swim in salt water and make sure to keep them out of rough seas.
Do Huskies Like Water
First of all its important to know whether huskies even like water. To answer the question, in most cases, huskies do not like water. They were bred to be sled dogs which means theyd rarely need to swim. With that being said, its always down to the individual husky, and its entirely possible for a husky to like water if theyre acclimatized properly.
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Get The Necessary Equipment
Before you begin swimming classes for your German Shepherd, make sure to get a doggy life jacket and a swimming leash. The swimming leash will help in supervising your puppy and preventing him from swimming too far. And, the life jacket will help to prevent your pet from drowning when hes learning how to swim.
Why Are German Shepherds Not Natural Swimmers
German Shepherds are highly active dogs and are generally good at anything that needs high energy; however, they may not be natural swimmers.
And, since they did not have to swim for the work they did, German Shepherds never really became good swimmers like other breeds. Nevertheless, these dogs are excellent in terms of their strength, speed and endurance. So, while swimming may not come naturally to them, its not very difficult for them to learn to swim.
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What If My German Shepherd Doesnt Like To Swim
Even though most German Shepherds are natural swimmers, some dogs dont take to the water right away. Your shepherd might be that dog!
The first thing you should do is try to determine the reason he doesnt like to swim:
- Has there been a traumatic experience with water in the past?
- Does your dog have a medical condition that makes swimming hard for them?
- Is it too cold outside for your dog?
- Does your dog typically take time to warm up to new experiences?
- Is there something in the water your dog doesnt like? Children or other dogs being in the water at the same time may make them nervous.
If you are able to get to the root of the problem, it will be much easier for you to help your dog learn to like to swim. Next up, we have some useful tips on how to train your dog to love swimming.
Allow Them To Get Comfortable With Water At Their Own Pace
If your German Shepherd has never been in water before, it may take them a while to adjust to getting themselves wet. Encourage them to stick their paws in, splash around, and gradually ease their way in.;
Theyll most likely want to keep their feet on the ground at first. It also may help if youre able to get in the water with them. That will help make them more comfortable with the idea.;
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