Not all dogs can swim, some even need a life vest


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(Commonwealth Union)_Is your dog enthralled by every body of water he sees? Perhaps you can’t walk by a creek or pond without your dog jumping in. Perhaps your dog views water as the enemy and would go to any length to avoid it. Every dog is unique, and not all are born with a desire to be wet. Can all dogs, however, swim?

Depending on the breed, your dog may be a natural in the water or find swimming difficult. Whether your dog enjoys swimming or prefers to stay on land, it is critical for his safety that he learns to be comfortable in and around water.

When you consider a breed’s historic role, it’s easy to see why some will be drawn to the water. Certain breeds were born with the ability to swim since they were bred for water jobs. Take the Labrador Retriever or the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, for example. These dogs were developed to retrieve waterfowl for the hunter. Some breeds even have water in their names, such as the Portuguese Water Dog, which was bred to assist fishermen in the water, or the Irish Water Spaniel, which has a characteristic curly and water-repellent coat. These dogs have the physical structure to be outstanding swimmers, and the majority of them will like nothing more than swimming.

According to Michele Godlevski, NADD Dock Diving Judge, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Certified Canine Behavior Consultant, and owner of Teamworks Dog Training in Raleigh, NC, some breeds appear to know how to swim from the moment they see a body of water, whereas others simply don’t see the point. “There are also some breeds with a weight distribution (like as Bulldogs) that would prevent them from swimming properly without a life vest.” Dachshunds and other short-legged, long-bodied breeds can also suffer in the water.

So, do all canines have the ability to swim? Although it is a fallacy that all dogs are natural swimmers, every breed should be able to get around in the water with a life vest and some dog swimming training from you.


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