Can German Shepherds Swim? Here is How to Teach Them Swimming

German Shepherds do not like water, do they? This is a common misconception.

German Shepherds are dogs that do not do well in water and would prefer to stay away from it. But this does not mean that they cannot swim or enjoy swimming. You just have to teach them how to do it right!

In this post, we will answer this question and also mention how you can teach your German Shepherd to swim. It might seem like a difficult task, but it isn’t!

You just need patience and some key points about teaching swimming to dogs that are important.

Do German Shepherds Like To Swim?

Yes. German Shepherds can swim, but they need to be taught how to most of the time.

The German Shepherd Dog was bred for a variety of tasks in Germany over the past 150 or more years.

At one point, it was selectively bred to be a herding dog and at others it served as a sheepdog, coonhound (a type of hunting dog), watchdog and sometimes as an assistant during hunts – among other occupations .

This wide range of breeding resulted in several behavioral variants which have been classified into three categories today. One group could not swim and this is what we call the “dry workers” who were used primarily for herding duties on land such as livestock guarding; another group would swim, these are “wet workers” who were primarily used for herding on water.

They also need to be taught how to swim at a very early age, but it can be done. The quickest way is to take the puppy right after they eat and place them in a cool swimming pool or body of water. The next person should offer food in their hands from the side of the pool until the dog is paddling over on its own. It’s important to make sure that the dog stays in shallow waters because diving deep isn’t recommended for large dogs like this one.

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For those who have older (and bigger) breeds, you might want to consider investing in an inflatable kiddie pond for your yard before embarking on training your pet how to swim!

Are German Shepherds Scared Of Water?

German Shepherds are sometimes plagued by the inherited heritable trait of being scared or intimidated by water.

The extreme sensitivity to liquids could be a consequence of how the dogs have evolved – whose ancestors were wolves and other predatory animals that hunted by scent – there would be no need for water-loving tendencies if they didn’t inhabit cold climates.

Additionally, because these canines are likely more susceptible to the unfamiliarity of taking a bath, many owners find themselves unintentionally reinforcing this behavior (especially those who push their pets into the tub).

German Shepherds need to be taught how to swim at a very early age,especially when they are puppies.

They are sometimes afraid of water.

That said, some German Shepherd owners have found success with taking their pup to a lake or stream in short amounts of time which usually helps them adjust to being around water. Training them using positive reinforcement is also important for overcoming fear on this issue.

How to Teach Swimming to German Shepherds?

The best way to teach your dog how to swim is during designated “float time”.

Start putting your German Shepherd in the pool or pond and let it just paddle around.

It will eventually start paddling back to you, which blows a muscle that innate instincts tell him he needs to row. Once they figure out the natural gravity of swimming, feed them treats as their training session is wrapping up.

Another thing that I’ve found helpful in my experience, when teaching dogs how to swim for competitions where we designate certain lanes for competition and others are not allowed on lane 2-5 so that another dog can pass through while they are waiting their turn before getting into the water, is using doggy life vests.

If these tactics work for your dog, then do it! If not, there’s always other ways to train them like using a doggy life vest.

The Do’s and Don’ts When Teaching German Shepherds How to Swim

Do take them into the pool or body of water right after they eat.

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Don’t be alarmed if your dog doesn’t go for it in the beginning as this is normal, just don’t give up!

Keep offering food next to the waterside until they start paddling their way over on their own.

Showing patience during training is key.

Try not to let them dive deep for long periods of time either because that can be dangerous with a larger breed like this one. It might also help you out if you have an inflatable kiddie pond around before going through all of these steps. The most important thing about swimming lessons for doggies is positive reinforcement.

How Fast can a German Shepherd Swim?

German Shepherds can be trained to become champion swimmers and can be excellent companions on a boat or for water sports.

They have an above-average intelligence (making them easy to train) and are intelligent enough to understand that they need a doggy life-vest if they take any swim courses.

When you are first training, you should think about getting a doggy life-vest. They make life vests for dogs specifically.

If your dog doesn’t like being on the boat as soon as it starts to move or if they don’t like water in general (sometimes pups will be accustomed to swimming but prefer to be nervous when closer to the edge of the boat).

Dogs can swim at speeds up to 1-2 miles an hour and have been clocked at a speed of upto 5 mph.

This is a pretty fast pace but most pets won’t need that kind of speed!

Aquatic fitness classes come with such activities as pools where there are machines which light up jump ropes for underwater tricks or toys with hoops that exercise all four paws .

Can German Shepherds Swim in Cold Water?

 Like Australian Shepherds, German Shepherd Dogs have double coats meaning they’re more than capable of withstanding cold water.

The double coat forms a layer of additional insulation that traps warm air inside their coat.

The two breeds also share a lot in common genetically and their double coat is one basis for this similarity.

German Shepherds can swim in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

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So between the both of them these breeds are quite hardy when it comes to swimming in cold water.

But you should always consult your vet if you have any concerns about whether or not a dog’s coat and/or his lifestyle will enable him to swim comfortably during the cooler months ahead!

Can German Shepherds Swim in Chlorinated Pools?

Yes. However, if the chlorine concentration is too high they could experience some skin irritation and should drink plenty of water.

German shepherds are equipped with a double coat that naturally repels dirt and sweat.

They can be bathed in chlorinated pools as long as they remain hydrated (most breeders recommend against frequent swimming).

It’s a good idea to rinse them properly after bathing to make sure they do not get skin irritation from the chlorine.

It’s very important to monitor their hairs for dissolving or nylon fibers when being bathed in a pool for an extended period of time.

Also keep your eyes peeled for any signs of chemical burns from cleaning products or other household hazards in the pool;

Some shampoos and rinses, such as hair dye, vinegar, lemon juice etc., can irritate them if spilled on their coat .

If you are bathing your dog for a particular reason, make sure his ears and eyes are clean and dry.

After bathing, there is always a bacterial buildup around the area that needs to be cleaned with soap and water.

Once washed, rinse well with clear water before exiting the pool.

It should take approximately two minutes in the pool to fully develop their swimming skills. 

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are smart and they are able to learn some of the basics by themselves.

But they need someone to teach them how.

If you have a German Shepherd who can’t swim well yet or is afraid of water, it might be time for some lessons.

It’s important that your pup learns these skills as soon as possible because not only does swimming provide exercise (and an opportunity to cool down), but also helps with weight management and relieves stress.

We hope this article was helpful in introducing you to methods on teaching your furry friend how to swim!

Photo of author

Immad Amir

Immad has a black Labrador who is his first child. With no prior experience of how to take care of his pooch, Immad started researching about what dogs love to eat. This blog is a journal of all the research Immad has done regarding a pet's diet.
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