We all like to think of our dogs as natural born swimmers. They just go into the water and naturally start to dog paddle like the dogs in the movie, “the Incredible Journey” ( yes, the original 1963 movie which always keeps tissue companies in business). That movie saw an English Bull Terrier crossing a river…this is one breed of dogs who are not adept at swimming. That gets me thinking about movies which start to make certain breeds popular when indeed research, research and more research is needed. Sorry, I do digress. I will talk about this in another blog.
Everyone thinks Golden Retrievers can swim…right? Well yes, it should be true. We have a Golden girl client who abhors the water!! The reason? Someone thought it would be a good idea to throw her into the water when she was just a very young pup…2.5-3 months old. I mean literally throw her in to get her to swim. Well she did paddle her way right out of the water and has never wished to set foot in water of ANY sort. Swimming would be a great exercise for this dog but she was traumatized from that early age. Thankfully, she is a confident dog in every other area, with the type of walking experience Canine Nanny offers. We do stay on dry land and keep our dogs away from dirty bodies of water anyway. It would be great to take her for a swim in Georgian Bay or some calm body of water that is relatively clean but that is not to be with her.
Now, before I tell you about the types of dogs that really can’t swim there is a story that I must tell. This is for those who have athletic swimming dogs. So one of our beloved Golden Poodle clients decided that he should do some very important duck chasing. Now, he became totally oblivious to every call to come… it was a team of ducks with a parent and babes in tow. The mother lured the dog away from the babies and just kept swimming until the dog started to tire. Thankfully for my quick thinking clients, they were able to catch up to him with their boat and rescue their dog. Sure there was an obvious training problem here and there was also the dog being a dog and literally almost getting swept up in the activity. This begs the question about life preservers for pets…I say an unequivocal yes. I am the last person to humanize a dog, however, if the dog is travelling in a boat, canoe or might be easily distracted then I’m all for safety for all.
The dogs who REALLY are not suited to swimming include the brachycephalic breeds (this is the scientific name for punched in face breeds) such as Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers,Pekingese and then there are the dogs with short legs like Bassett Hounds and Daschunds who are not natural born swimmers.
Here is a quote from one of our clients regarding her Boxer…” and he went in the water today. He walked with me and the water got a bit deeper. He seriously dropped like a rock. Sunk right down to bottom. I pulled him right out. It was unbelievable. He kept playing in the shallow water so I don’t think he was too traumatized. So I guess he can’t swim!!!!”
Quick action from his guardian is the reason that this guy wasn’t traumatized.
As always, safety is a top priority in the water for humans and for our pets too!