Can German Shepherds Swim Naturally
Some dogs are known to be good swimmers, while others do not swim well. For example, Labradors are natural swimmers. They were bred to retrieve birds or other prey from the water and return them to their owners. Physically, youll notice these natural-born swimmers tend to have webbed feet that act as paddles when they swim.
Other top swimming dog breeds include dogs with water in their names , golden retriever, English, and Irish setters, the standard poodle, and the schipperke.
On the contrary, some dogs, because of their anatomy and facial structure, are not made for swimming. Some dog breeds that cant swim, such as greyhounds, will even sink faster than a rock! Dogs that should never be allowed near deep water include greyhounds, pugs, dachshunds, bulldogs, basset hounds, and Boston terriers.
German shepherds fall somewhere in between these two categories. They were not explicitly bred for swimming, but their strong work ethic, intelligence, and natural athletic ability make them capable of becoming good swimmers if appropriately trained.
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Do German Shepherds Like The Water
In general, most German Shepherds tend to play around in the water and like it, due to their high levels of energy. There are usually no problems as they are athletic and courageous dogs.
Whether your German Shepherd likes water or not, however, completely depends on his/her individual personality. Some may like water, some may hate it, and then there will be some who neither hate nor love it totally.
Although some owners may find this insignificant, yet there can be many sophisticated reasons behind your German Shepherds reaction to water:
- He/she may hate or fear it due to a past traumatic experience.
- On the other hand, a German Shepherd might like the water if he/she have has had a positive experience with the water in the past.
- He/she may neither love nor hate the water if they have zero knowledge about it.
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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.
How To Train Your German Shepherd To Swim
- Choose a place for training
- Go along with a family member, lead/leash or a friend
- Observe how your German Shepherd reacts around the waters edge
- Move step by step towards the body of water
- Put on a life jacket to your German Shepherd and move to deeper waters
Now, lets discuss each one in much detail.
- Choose a place for training Lake water/Lakeside or beach is the perfect place for training your German Shepherd to swim as strong currents or waves can scare your dog
- Go along with a family member, lead, swimming leash, or a friend You may also take a fellow trainer for additional safety. After accomplishing your goal, give some treats to your dog.
- Observe how your German Shepherd reacts around waters edge Observe how cautious or scared your dog is around the water. Keep the training of your German Shepherd extremely short and slow if your dog is extremely scared and shows aggressive signs such as biting, shaking, snarling and whimpering.
- Move step by step towards the body of water Stand about 1.5m away from your German Shepherd on his/her leash and slowly get your dog to feel and touch the water with his/her feet. Be relaxed and calm around the water so that your dog gets the impression that there is nothing about the water that will harm him/her
- Put on a life jacket to your German Shepherd and move to deeper waters Do the same process out into deeper water once your dog is comfortable playing in chest-high water
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What To Keep In Mind When Your German Shepherd Goes For A Swim
Teaching your German Shepherd might be easier for some than it is for others. Before you go out and try, there are a couple of things that you should be aware of.
- Its a process. Just like if you were teaching your human child, you must have patience. They wont be perfect the first time.
- Dont stay out for too long. German Shepherds get tired just like us. Too much time in the sun or too much time in the water could lead to exhaustion, and not the good kind.
- If you go to a chlorinated pool to swim, make sure you rinse them. The same goes for dirty lake water.
- Lastly, and most importantly, dont let your Husky swim off unsupervised German Shepherds are adventurous and if they are not good swimmers they might be put in danger. Pay special attention to them in moving water.
Can You Breed German Shepherds To Be Natural Swimmers
In order to breed a German Shepherd to be a natural born swimmer, it must be mixed with another breed.
Since this comes down to genetics, breeding a GSD with a natural swimmer like the Labrador Retriever should produce a hybrid dog that is able to swim with ease.
Unlike GSDs, Labradors and Retrievers both have webbed paws which helps make them excellent swimmers.
But webbed feet arent the only traits that affect a dogs swimming abilities. Coat type and length, as well as a dogs size are other factors to consider.
Despite this, German Shepherds can still be taught to be swimmers.
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Do German Shepherds Naturally Like Water
I wouldnt say ALL German Shepherds take naturally to water. Some German Shepherds go right to the water, while others may need to get comfortable in and around the water first.
My German Shepherd loves the water, but it didnt come as naturally for her. My girl is a very confident working line German Shepherd. I thought it would be fun to purchase a kiddie pool for us to play in during the summer.
I set it up brought her outside and she just looked at it. Then she would go up to it kind of put a paw in then jump back. Mind you this was the first time she had ever been exposed to any type of pool.
So, I decided to get in the pool and kind of coax her in by showing her what to do. That worked!
She got in behind me and then didnt want to get out. Now, she loves the water!
I dont think that liking the water comes naturally for all German Shepherds, but I think some of that is just apprehension about what to do in a new situation. Once they are shown how to play with water, most German Shepherds will love the water.
Factors That Influence German Shepherds Love Of Water
German Shepherds, aka Alsatians, are part of the herding group of dog breeds, which means they are intelligent, fast, and obedient.
They were specifically bred as a working dog in the 1890s and their ability to protect, obey, and love their owners is what makes them such a popular breed today.
Unlike other dogs, for example Labradors, German Shepherds do not have specific physical traits that make them obviously happy with water-based activities.
Despite this, most German Shepherds are quite at home playing with water in some way or another. This could easily be down to their natural athleticism, which can make for a very strong and able canine swimmer.
Much like Australian Shepherds, GSDs have double coats meaning theyre more than capable of enjoying cold water in the summer and winter.
As any GSD owner will tell you, these pooches are incredibly high-energy and playful.
In the summertime, hey maybe even sometimes in other seasons, water-play can also be an ideal source of mental stimulation outdoors. Left entirely to their own devices, GSDs can easily tear up furniture and bark up a storm when theyre bored or teething .
For this reason, alongside their agility, many GSD owners love to train their pups to swim and play with water.
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Common German Shepherd Behavioral Problems And Personality Traits
Over the years working as a dog trainer, Ive probably worked with as many German shepherd dogs as any other breed.
Most often, they are an incredibly loyal breed, are devoted to their owners, and have really sweet and fun personalities. And so, to those of you who love the breed and wouldnt consider anything but a German shepherd in the future, I understand!
Yet, some people are terrified of them and feel they are dangerous dogs to own.
To those of you that are wary of German shepherds, I understand where you are coming from, too! First off, they are very large dogs and can come off very intimidating.
Second, their instinct to protect their family or property is strong and can lead untrained German shepherds to becoming very protective, aggressive, and scary dogs.
The keyword here is untrained, as any untrained dogregardless of breedcan have the same problems.
Over the last decade I really feel like Ive come to understand German shepherds and have personally fallen in love with this breed. Ive also realized that theyre so misunderstood due to poorly trained German shepherds often ending up in the news and how they are portrayed on TV and in the media.
For this reason, I wanted to write todays post in hopes that, if you are someone who fears this breed, are looking for help and direction with your dog, or you know someone who is wary of German shepherds, then this honest truth about this lovely breed might change your mind.
What Type Of Water Is Best For Your German Shepherd
When youre allowing your German Shepherd to swim, you must consider the kind of water he swims in. When your pet is learning how to swim, then its a good idea to start him off in freshwater as your German Shepherd may swallow a lot of water.
Swallowing fresh water may not be harmful to your pet however, if he ends up swallowing too much chlorinated water from the swimming pool or saltwater from the sea, then he could become sick.
Saltwater is the worst option for your dog because not only is it difficult for your pet to swim in the ocean, the salt can cause poisoning, resulting in dehydration, swelling in the brain and seizures.
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So Why Arent They German Shepherds Natural Swimmers
With all of these characteristics that can make german shepherds natural swimmers, why arent they? In fact, why do some german shepherds not like water?
Well, its simply because they havent been bred to swim. German shepherds have been bred as herders and guarders so its not in their nature to swim.
When you compare them to labradors that have been bred to retrieve, it becomes a lot more obvious why they arent natural swimmers.
What To Do When Water Gets Into German Shepherds Ears
- Try to remove the water yourself, however, this will be your liability and choice .
- Take your German Shepherd to the vet.
German Shepherds are quite flexible and robust with what their bodies are able to handle and tolerate. Therefore, they should be able to get the water out by themselves by tilting or shaking their heads. But follow the above-mentioned steps if the water gets trapped in their ears and stays there due to their long ear canals. Also, you should look out for signs of discomfort and pain such as:
- Rubbing his head on the ground
- After swimming, making sounds of discomfort or yelping
- Continuous pawning at his ears
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How To Teach A German Shepherd To Swim
When first teaching your German Shepherd to swim, put a dog lifejacket on them. This will help them feel more confident by giving them more buoyancy. In addition, dog lifejackets have a handle on them so you can hold you German Shepherd up or even grab them easily if they begin to panic.
Once they have gained some confidence you can even attach a rope to the handle on the lifejacket so you can control how far away from you they swim or pull them in if they need help.
Start them off in shallow water so they can walk around and comfortable and gain confidence. If you dont have anywhere where they can start off in shallow water, a paddling pool is a good option.
Once they are comfortable in the shallow water, you can take them out so their paws dont reach the bottom. In most cases, they will simply start to doggie paddle.
Stay next to them and stay calm yourself not to over-excite them. It is better to not talk to them if they are nervous or if you do, speak in a calm tone.You can give them support by holding the handle on the lifejacket or by supporting them underneath.
Give a little distance between your dog and your legs and body. If they start thrashing around they can scratch you with their claws.
Remember to be patient and stay calm. If your dog is panicking or becoming overwhelmed allow them to leave the water and have a rest. Then give it another go.
Can German Shepherds Swim In Swimming Pools
One of the benefits of a swimming pool is it allows you complete supervision over your dog. However, there is a downside as well. If your pool is chlorinated, it can strip your dogs coat of its natural oils and lead to dry, irritated skin.
But there are ways to pool-proof your dogs coat so they can enjoy a relaxing swim. Which a German shepherd would certainly appreciate in the summer.
Tips to pool-proof your German shepherd include:
- Spray their coat with a canine conditioner before they swim. This can lock in some moisture.
- Rinse off afterward. If you get the chlorinated water out of their coat it can minimize its effects.
- Comb out any tangles and provide a thorough brushing once a week to remove any residual chlorine.
- Dry out those ears. Keeping your German shepherds ears dry is important no matter where they have been swimming.
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How Swimming Can Benefit Your German Shepherd Dog
Swimming is a great sport for both people and dogs.
Teaching your German Shepherd to swim is one of the best gifts you can give your pup.
Swimming offers physical, mental and emotional benefits for your dog not to mention the pure enjoyment hell get from this activity for years to come.
Here are a few reasons why swimming is so good for your dog:
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Great increase the water level an inch at a time my current 80 lbs female gsd didn’t appear to like water, so i bought an 8′ round poll for her and she. This is most commonly due to the dog having a traumatizing prior experience associated with water, which then develops into an ongoing fear. See dutch shepherd puppies exploring the water for the first time. In this manner, playing or spending time with your dog will definitely make you feel energetic.
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Start Off In The Shallows
If you are expecting your dog to join you in a pool or lake, start off in shallow water. Ideally, you should let him start off in water shallow enough to stand in. Then gradually as his confidence grows, you can start taking him a bit deeper.
Dont take it too fast as this could cause him to have a traumatic incident. Once this happens it could scare your German Shepherd off!
Regaining his trust and confidence could prove to be tough if this does happen.
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.
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Can German Shepherds Swim Do German Shepherds Like Water
Can German Shepherds Swim?
Yes, German Shepherds can swim. However, unlike many other dog breeds, swimming does not come naturally for a German Shepherd. Instead, the dog needs to be subjected to proper training for him to emerge as an adept swimmer.
This means that a German Shepherd swimming ability depends on how rigorous and vigorous the trainings are.
But even though the dog is not a natural swimmer, the saving grace is that are renowned for their athletic ability and ease of training.
They easily obey commands and have a memory sharp enough not to easily forget the swimming skills imparted on them.
Of course, these skills need to be imparted when the dogs are still young as then, they are far easier to train than adult dogs.
This post shall delve deeper into the swimming ability of a German Shepherd and how you can effectively assist the dog in honing his swimming abilities.