Can German Shepherds Swim?

German Shepherds (GSDs) are very popular for various reasons, including their athletic and adventurous nature. However, many GSD owners and those considering getting one wonder can German Shepherds swim. 

German Shepherds aren’t born swimmers but can be taught how to swim correctly. German Shepherds are quick learners. 

Table of Contents

Can German Shepherds Swim

Why aren’t GSDs born swimmers?

GSDs are multi-talented dogs that excel in a variety of disciplines. They are primarily bred for law enforcement careers (i.e., military, police, etc.) and herding.

They are not known for swimming, which other breeds such as Labrador retriever, Irish water spaniel, Portuguese water dog, etc. are known for since they have no reason to swim while performing their assigned tasks.

However, the various tasks GSD is assigned to do, it has made them exceptional in speed and durability. 

Are German Shepherds afraid of water?

Some dogs are terrified of water because they have been traumatized or are terrified of it, which can make learning to swim difficult. 

If a negative experience occurs, some GSDs may develop a fear of water.

Many owners report their GSDs fleeing from water, regardless of how fearless they are in other situations. Do you have a German Shepherd who is terrified of the water? 

How to teach a dog to swim

Here are some of the most effective methods to adapt them to water and make them comfortable enough to swim:

1. Be slow and steady

Things can get worse if you rush. For instance, If you push your GSD too far, he or she may regress.

2. Enter the water yourself!

In the past years, this method has proved to be very helpful.

3. Use treats

Make use of treats as incentives and positive affirmations to boost confidence.

4. Introduce water gradually

Use a hose and a kiddie pool to introduce water gradually. Begin with the paws, then move on to the back of the neck, and so on. If they perform admirably, reward them with a treat and proceed.

It takes time to overcome fear. But, on the other hand, swimming and bath time will be much easier. In severe cases, you may wish to consult a professional dog trainer.

How do I get My German Shepherds Swim?

Some people may find it easier to train their German Shepherd than others. However, before going out to try, you must consider a few things when teaching your German Shepherd to swim.

1. Be patient

It’s a gradual process, and patience is required, just like you would teach a human child. It’s unlikely that they’ll be perfect at the first trial.

2. Clean swimming water

Make sure the water is clean. Ensure your GSD swims in clean water at all times. Do not allow your dog to swim If the water is polluted or there is trash in it. Allowing him to swim in clean, flowing water is preferable because it is less likely to be polluted or dirty.

3. Avoid staying out for long.

Just like we human beings, German Shepherds become tired. Staying in water or the sun for too long can lead to weariness, and not in a good way.

4. Don’t allow drinking swimming water

Do not allow your GSD to drink the water in which he swims. Even if it is swimming in freshwater, do not allow him to drink the water because it may contain pathogens and bacteria, which can be detrimental to your dog’s health.

5. Check if the water body is safe

Make sure the water your dog will be swimming in is safe. For example, if you’re going to take him swimming in a rough sea, you should probably avoid it. Likewise, if the freshwater currents are strong, it would be best not to let him swim. Also, ensure no objects could injure your dog in the water when swimming or jumping.

6. Chlorinated pool

Do not let your German Shepherd to swim for a long time in chlorinated pools. Allowing your German Shepherd to swim for an extended period in a recreational swimming pool is not recommended, especially if it is highly chlorinated. The chlorine may irritate your pet’s eyes or skin, and it may even dry out his coat.  

7. Supervision

Do not let your GSD swim without supervision. GSDs are amazing, and when they are not yet perfect swimmers, they may endanger themselves. For this reason, always pay close attention to them when in water

Why Is Swimming Beneficial to German Shepherds?

Swimming is highly beneficial to dogs and can provide numerous advantages to your German Shepherd, such as:

1. Form of Exercise

Swimming is one of the best exercises for your dog since it allows him to work all of his muscles. Swimming regularly can assist to tone your pet’s entire body while also improving the movement of its major joints. 

As a result, it helps boost your pet’s overall fitness and muscle tone, as well as enhance stamina, boost circulation, and keep the heart and lungs healthy.

2. Low-impact activity

Swimming is a low-impact activity and is the most suitable exercise for large breeds like German Shepherds prone to hip dysplasia.

3. Mind-Body Connection

In addition to strengthening his muscles, swimming is suitable for your German Shepherd’s mental health and overall functioning. It stimulates the brain and releases neurochemicals that help your pet feel better by reducing tension and boredom.

4. Relaxing activity

On a hot or sunny day, swimming is the ideal sport for your German Shepherd. It will not only keep your pet healthy and active but also help him cool off in hot weather.

What kind of water is suitable for your GSD?

When training your GSD to swim, keep in mind the type of water he will be swimming in. As a starter, the pet may ingest a lot of water; therefore, it is best to start training him in freshwater.

If your pet swallows freshwater, it may not be detrimental to his health; however, he may become ill if there is too much chlorine in the water (e.g., pool water or seawater).

Saltwater is the worst alternative for your GSD. Apart from being challenging for a dog to swim in the sea, salt can also induce poisoning, leading to dehydration, inflammation in the brain, and convulsions.

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