Do German Shepherds Like Water? Plus a Swimming Guide

You love swimming and want your dog to like water, but it’s a German shepherd. Do German Shepherds like water? Unlike other dog breeds, German shepherds are not wired to love water by birth.

However, after so many training sessions you might be able to say that your German Shepherd likes to swim.

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Do German shepherds like water?
Do German shepherds like water?

You may think that your German Shepherd hates water because that’s quite usual in the dog world. Some dog breeds love water while, on the other hand, some hate to get wet.

But when it comes to the German Shepherd, it is different. They do not particularly like or hate water. But can German Shepherds swim?

Are German Shepherds afraid of water?

It is true that most German Shepherds do not like water, but some dogs are afraid of water for good reasons.

If your German Shepherd is not familiar with water, it may react weirdly and may get afraid of water. This can be the case when your German Shepherd is grown up with a water fear.

Moreover, there is a possibility that your German Shepherd is associating water with some other traumatic situation and may get afraid of it.

Also, there can be a situation in which your German Shepherd is afraid of cold or warm water but not of normal-temperature water.

The depth of the swimming pool or the overall structure of your bathroom frightens your dog.

Make sure that you are not taking your German Shepherd to small lakes or ponds because they may not like it and get afraid of water.

Similarly, dogs are also afraid of larger lakes and as well as oceans so select a small beautiful swimming pool with clean water.

Can German Shepherds swim naturally?

Yes, some German Shepherds are natural swimmers, but they are not bred to be swimmers. 

I mean, ask yourself if your German Shepherd has webbed feet, and if they do not, it reflects that your dog does not have proper swimming genetics.

Why German Shepherds don’t like water?

You may notice that your German Shepherd does not like to go in the water, and you may wonder what the reason is. Know that German Shepherds are wired this way. It is an inherited trait that they do not like water.

Sometimes it is because they are not familiar with water. Also, some sort of bad experience with water may make a dog avoid going in the water.


German Shepherds do not like water because they are unfamiliar with what is happening and what is going to happen next. There is a possibility that they do not feel safe going into the water or pool.

Bad experience

There is a possibility that your German Shepherd had a very bad experience with a pool of water. For example, it was thrown into the deep bathtub when it was a puppy, or the water was cold. So your German Shepherd is afraid of water because it is associated with the experience.


Maybe your German Shepherd does not like water because they do not like how it feels. They don’t like to keep their coat wet or don’t want the wet feeling on their skin. You can make them feel comfortable with the proper training.

So if you want your German Shepherd to like water, then you will have to help your dog overcome these issues.

How do I get my German Shepherd to like water?

German Shepherds are easy to train, and learn new lessons quickly. So just by following these steps, you can get your German Shepherd swimming in a pool.

Don’t throw your German Shepherd into deep water

Throwing a German Shepherd forcefully into the water, especially in deep water, is the worst thing to do with them.

Rather than throwing them into the sea, start with a small pool of clean water and let them learn slowly. Ensure that the creek, pond, or pool contains multiple places for standing so your dog will be more comfortable in it.

Praise their very first step into the water so that they will feel dedicated and motivated.

But, if you are throwing them in deep water, it may end up as trauma, and German Shepherds will learn to hate water.

Go In With Them

German Shepherds like to follow their owners because of their trust level. Rather than forcing them to swim, convince them to follow you while you are entering the pool.

When you and your dog are both in the water, it becomes fun to teach your dog about loving water. Your German Shepherd will learn to swim easily.

Place a life vest on your German Shepherd

There is a possibility that your dog is not strong enough to be a swimmer, but you still want it to dive into the water.

Once your dog understands that it’s safe, it will start liking water and will follow you while swimming. The overall idea is to keep your dog in its comfort zone even when you are teaching it something new.

Provide them treat

Treats are the key to teaching your dog any new behavior. While bringing your dog to the swimming session, make sure to get his favorite treats.

Soon, your German Shepherd will associate the treat with water, and hence it will start loving water.

If your dog is in love with fetch games, use them positively in swimming classes. Throw a treat or toy into the water and wait to see if the German Shepherd is going to fetch it or not. Do not tire your dog out. They could drown. 

Also, you can go into the water and try offering a treat to your German Shepherd; there are chances that it will come to you in the pool.

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