German Shepherds are a breed known for their strong athletic abilities and intelligence. They can easily learn any new training, commands, or any new thing that they can be taught.
But, are German Shepherds good swimmers?
German Shepherds aren’t naturally good swimmers; however, they can be taught and trained to become good swimmers.
Can German Shepherds swim?
Yes, German Shepherds can swim; however, it doesn’t come to them naturally. They need to be taught and trained in swimming.
They need to be involved in rigorous training that will help them learn how to swim smoothly.
German Shepherds are known to have a strong athletic ability and an intelligent mind that helps them when learning new things such as swimming.
To teach your dog to swim effectively, you have to teach them to use all of their four limbs together. They shouldn’t be taught to only use the front or back limbs separately.
Why aren’t German Shepherds natural swimmers?
German Shepherds aren’t natural swimmers because they weren’t bred for swimming.
Instead, they were bred to be working dogs for herding and guarding sheep.
Later, they were used in different jobs such as being police and military dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs.
German Shepherds weren’t taught swimming such as Labradors and Retrievers who were taught to catch prey while they swam.
This trait of being good swimmers evolved with Labradors and Retrievers; however, because German Shepherds didn’t learn how to swim in the past, it didn’t evolve with them in the next generations.
So, it isn’t in something that they have inherited; they need to be taught and trained to be good swimmers.
How long should your German Shepherd swim for?
The minimum amount of time is 10 minutes while the maximum amount is 30 minutes for your German Shepherd to swim.
This mainly depends on your dog’s fitness level and how good they are at swimming.
If your dog is really good at swimming and has a high fitness level, you can let them swim for 30 minutes.
It differs from one German Shepherd to another because not every dog has the same fitness level and swimming ability.
How to teach a German Shepherd swimming?
Step one: Get a dog life vest
In the first step, you got to get your dog a life vest so they can float while learning how to swim; it’s important so they don’t drown.
They will learn how to swim in a circular motion while being safe.
Step two: Get your dog’s toes wet
Start getting your dog’s toes wet and working your way up to through their body.
Never rush your dog into swimming because they can become anxious and scared of water that they become won’t swim into the water again.
Step three: Remove your dog’s life vest
After your dog has become familiar with swimming and being in the water, you can remove your dog’s life vest.
However, you got to be sure that your German Shepherd can swim so when you remove your dog’s life vest, they won’t drown.
Tips when teaching a German Shepherd how to swim
Never leave your German Shepherd unsupervised
Always be with your dog while they go swimming so you can save your dog if there is a chance of drowning.
If it happens that you aren’t there, install a pool fence or a safety alarm that can stop your dog from entering when you aren’t there.
Use a leash or harness attached to a life jacket
You got to let your dog get used to wearing a life jacket so they can comfortably get used to it.
Also, they won’t panic when they are in an emergency situation.
To do so, let your dog wear the life jacket so they know that it is comfortable to wear in the water.
Let them into the water slowly
Never rush your German Shepherd into the water as they can become frightened and see it as a bad experience.
You got to also make sure that the water isn’t too cold that your dog becomes afraid of it.
You can instead lure them into the warm water by using a dog treat or water toy that they will follow.
Take frequent breaks
You got to also take frequent breaks when your dog becomes tired when they breathe heavily or if their back end begins to sag in the water.
If these signs happen, then it’s time to get your dog out of the water.
Vaccinate your German Shepherd
If you swim in lakes or other bodies of natural water, you got to vaccinate your dog against diseases such as Giardia which can cause your dog vomiting and diarrhea.
You got to also avoid areas of water that have a strong current and those that are used as boating and fishing areas.
Beware of sunburn
Your dog can also get sunburned so you got to provide them with sunscreen suitable for your German Shepherd.
Also, give your dog plenty of shade so they won’t get sunburned at all.
Wait for food to digest
Food stays in your dog’s stomach for a long time. For this specific reason, you got to wait for 1 1/2 to 2 hours after eating before letting your German Shepherd go for a swim.
Know pet first aid
You got to also know pet first aid so you can save your dog when they are injured. Also, know the directions to the nearest vet so you can safely transport your dog.
Can a German Shepherd drown in a pool?
Yes, like any dog, they can drown in a pool or any body of water when they panic because there is a strong current or become exhausted from being in the water for too long.
Ultimately, they can’t keep up swimming or with the tide
So, what can you do if your German Shepherd is drowning?
If your dog is in the pool, you can easily rescue them through swimming and holding them in your arms.
However, if you are in a big body of water such as a sea or ice holes, you got to have a hooked pole that you can use on your dog’s collar to bring them out or you can approach them closely carefully.
What to do when your dog is unconscious from a drowning episode?
- Lay your dog on their side while getting their head and neck extended on the ground.
- Open their mouth to clear any water or dirt from your dog’s mouth.
- Then, pull your dog’s tongue forward and gently push on the chest and stomach. Each time, put pressure, release, and repeat while keeping your hands away from your dog’s mouth to prevent an accidental bite.
- Check your dog’s pulse by checking the inside fold where the rear leg meets the body. If you can’t find any pulse, begin CPR.
- If your dog isn’t breathing but there is a pulse, give your dog artificial respiration.
- Keep your dog warm while you transport them to the vet with you.
A German Shepherd can learn how to swim when you train and teach them to do so.
You got to follow certain steps and tips when teaching them how to swim.
Never leave them alone or unattended because they can drown.
Share your experience. Have you ever taught your German Shepherd how to swim? How did it go?