Australian Shepherds are hardworking and athletic dogs which frequently excel in a variety of sports.
These dogs love to run, jump, and are outstanding at agility.
Some people still use them today for herding, as they are hardy, energetic, and live up to their work.
The Australian Shepherd is a highly trainable dog, making him fit for a variety of jobs. They learn fast and adapt well to a number of different environments.
But can Australian Shepherds swim?
This article discusses whether or not Australian Shepherds like water, can Australian Shepherds swim, how can I teach my dog to swim, and more.
Do Australian Shepherds Like Water?
Yes, most Australian Shepherds do like water. This is due to a variety of factors.
One reason is that this breed loves the outdoors, as they were originally bred to work outside and herd flocks.
As a result, they will prefer much more to play or swim in the water outside than to stay at home.
Another reason why the majority of Australian Shepherds like water is because they enjoy physical activity.
These dogs are very active and need around an hour of vigorous exercise each day to stay fit and healthy.
Swimming allows them to release their energy and engage in physical activity, which they can do it in a fun way.
Due to the fact that Australian Shepherds like to try new activities, swimming can be a great alternative to walking.
It provides a lot of mental stimulation for them, especially when they can play interactive games in the water.
As well as that, Australian Shepherds always want to be with their families. They are social dogs that enjoy working with people and being with them.
They form a close bond with their family members, so seeing them in the water will incline them to join in.
Experiencing positive memories and events in the water will usually make them like it even more.
However, it is true that every Australian Shepherd is a different individual. In spite of most enjoying a swim, some Aussies may simply not like water.
This could be either because of their temperament, or negative former experiences.
Can Australian Shepherds Swim?
A lot of Australian Shepherds instinctively know how to swim. Other Australian Shepherds may need to be taught how to swim.
Unlike breeds which were specifically used for water purposes, Australian Shepherds were bred to work on land.
Resultingly, it will more depend on the individual whether or not they can instinctively move around in the water.
Nonetheless, this is an adaptable and fast-learning breed, so it is not difficult to train them in the ways of swimming.
Whether self-taught or trained by their owners, all Australian Shepherds can swim remarkably.
These dogs have many assets which make them fit for this activity. One of these is their agile and athletic build.
They have a large chest, slim frame, and possess much strength which allows them to move through water with ease.
As well as that, the hardy Australian Shepherd has very high energy and stamina. They can swim for a long time without getting tired, making this a perfect activity for them.
As a result of their swimming ability and agility combined, these dogs excel in a number of water related sports.
This includes competing in dock diving and freestyle swimming races.
How To Teach My Australian Shepherd To Swim
Provide A Life Vest For An Anxious Aussie
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Most Australian Shepherds will readily take to water and will enjoy the experience of swimming.
However, if you see that your Australian Shepherd is nervous or anxious, you may provide a life vest for him.
A life vest designed especially for dogs makes it easier to stay afloat.
This will help your dog learn to swim and make him feel safe and secure.
Do Not Force Your Australian Shepherd In
An important rule is not to drag or force your dog into the water. This will make him more frightened and form a negative link with water.
Instead, encourage your dog to come in or follow after you. Australian Shepherds are a breed which will tend to come in after their owner into water without much effort.
If your dog refuses to come in, you may encourage him in with a toy or a treat.
Keep Your Australian Shepherd On A Leash
Keeping your dog on a leash will ensure you can have control over him. You can use the leash to guide him toward the shore or the steps of a pool.
This is especially crucial for puppies or young dogs learning to swim. By knowing which way to leave the lake, river, ocean, or pool, your dog will feel less anxious and more secure.
A leash can also guide him further into the water after you if your dog refuses to move.
Hold Your Aussie Up
Once in water deep enough for swimming, place one hand under your dog’s chest, and place the other under your dog’s belly.
This will allow you to hold your dog up and provide support. It will also assure your dog and prevent any nervousness or panicking.
While holding him up, move him along in the water as he begins to swim.
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When your dog being to move his paws or paddle, praise and reward him for his efforts. Most dogs will naturally take to swimming once in deep water.
Once he gets the hang of it, you may want to praise and reward him for doing a good job.
Let Him Swim On His Own
Try to let go of your dog to see if he can swim without support. You may still want to keep the leash on him, at least the first few swimming lessons.
Also, always be there by your dog’s side. This way, if he panics or becomes nervous, you will be there to grab him on case of sinking.
Be Consistent But Don’t Overdo it
Try to take swimming lessons regularly until your dog gets the hang of it. Extend the length of the session gradually.
During the first session, you may want to keep it shorter – around 10 minutes. You can increase it each day to around half an hour or 40 minutes.
Most often, your Australian Shepherd will not need much swimming lessons, and will learn to swim on the first or second try.
These dogs are already adapted to various types of environments, highly energetic, and learn at a very fast rate.
Swimming Safety Tips For Australian Shepherds
Supervise Your Aussie
This is especially important when your dog is swimming in a deep pool, or just learning how to swim.
You must note if your dog is able to get out of the pool, or has access to the steps.
Don’t Let Your Aussie Swim After Eating
If your dog has eaten, don’t let him go swimming straight after. Wait out at least two hours, otherwise your dog could be susceptible to his stomach twisting.
This often occurs if dogs perform vigorous physical activity after a meal.
Only Allow Him To Swim Where It Is Safe
Do not let your dog swim in an area where there are waves, riptides, currents, or blue-green algae.
Also, ensure that there are no cliffs or rocks, which poise a significant danger to dogs. The best places for your dog to swim are in calm, slow-moving waters.
The least risky places would include lakes, rivers, or pools, rather than the ocean or reservoirs.
Provide Life Vest For Certain Breeds
If your dog has a short muzzle, short legs, or gets anxious easily, it may be ideal to provide a life vest.
This also goes for dogs that like to venture far off into deep water.
Don’t Let Your Aussie Drink Salt Water
Provide your dog with plenty of fresh water to drink if he is going swimming in the sea or ocean.
If he is thirsty, he may be tempted to drink the salt water, which can cause illness.
If your dog is hydrated, this reduces the chance of him wanting to gulp down large amount of salt water.
However, if your dog still drinks from the sea or ocean, you may need to take him swimming somewhere else.
Benefits Of Swimming For Australian Shepherds
Helps Burn Off Extra Energy
Dogs such Australian Shepherds need plenty of physical activity to burn off their extra energy. Swimming is a fun and vigorous way for them to exercise.
In fact, only one minute of swimming is equivalent to four minutes of running, so it is a great activity for restless dogs.
It helps them tire out quickly, making them feel calmer and sleep better.
This kind of exercise is additionally not strenuous to dogs, and doesn’t cause exertion or soreness.
It Improves Blood Circulation In Dogs
Swimming is a great way to get your dog’s blood pumping, and it stimulates the cardiovascular system.
It also helps blood to circulate more efficiently around the body, warming up the muscles.
If your dog is experiencing pain, swimming can promote blood flow to that area.
A Way To Cool Off
Whether you live somewhere hot, or are experiencing a heatwave during summer, swimming is a great way to cool off.
Extremely warm weather may be a nuisance to many dogs, especially if they have thick fur. As a result, they may avoid going outside altogether.
Since they don’t sweat in many areas of the body like humans, dogs could easily overheat.
Swimming can not only be a fun outdoor activity, but can help them cool off in high temperatures.
Good For The Joints
Swimming doesn’t put pressure on the joints like other exercises, such as running or jumping.
This is because it is a low impact activity and doesn’t weight your dog down.
In fact, swimming helps the joints stay healthy, supports them, and provides lubrication to them by improving synovial fluid.
For dogs suffering front joint pain, swimming can help loosen the joints up and acts as a natural pain reliever. It can even reduce swelling.
Some working breeds, such as the Australian Shepherd, need to be kept busy to stay happy.
Otherwise they can easily get bored and even prompted to dig or chew.
Swimming is a fun way to stimulate their mind and give them something to do.
Improves Mobility Of Dog
Swimming improves the mobility of your dog, and helps with conditions such as arthritis or elbow dysplasia.
It is also good for ageing dogs with stiffer legs or muscles.
When your dog swims, his range of motion, as well as his stride frequency and stride length are significantly increased.
Whilst swimming, he will also able to strengthen and stretch his muscles and joints.
Proper Skin Care For Australian Shepherds Who Swim Frequently
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Applying a dog conditioner on your dog before he goes swimming has a number of benefits.
It helps moisturize and hydrate your dog’s skin and coat, and helps prevent any moisture loss.
It will also keep your dog protected from drying salt water found in the sea and ocean.
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Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can be found in fish such as salmon, oils such as sunflower and safflower oil, and grass-fed beef.
Some premium dog foods also contain a lot of these beneficial fatty acids.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids provide extra moisture to your dog’s skin and coat, and helps keep it healthy.
Dry Your Australain Shepherd Properly
After swimming, dry your dog’s skin and coat properly with a towel or blow dryer. This will prevent any dampness remaining in your dog’s coat.
Excess moisture, especially in dogs with shaggy coats, can lead to a sore and itchy condition called hotspots.
Bathe Your Aussie Once A Week
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Dogs who swim frequently should be bathed once a week with a moisturizing shampoo .
This will help keep your dog’s skin and coat hydrated, and wash away any remaining chemicals, dirt, bacteria, salt water, or chlorine.
Make sure that the shampoo you choose is suitable to be used every week.
The best option for your swimming dog would be a shampoo with moisturizing oils or oatmeal.
Provide Sunscreen For When Your Aussie Goes Swimming
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Sunscreen designed for pet use will protect your dog from ultraviolet radiation and sunburn.
This is especially true for dogs with a thin coat, which have less protection against the sun’s rays.
Sunscreen is important to use on sunny days when your dog goes swimming, as water attracts solar radiation.
As a result, a dog can get more easily burnt in the water, so needs to be protected.
Can Australian Shepherds swim?
The majority of Australian Shepherds can swim, and do like the water. Swimming is great way to burn off their excess energy and get exercise.
Australian Shepherds love exercising, so for most swimming will be a highly appealing activity.
Swimming is not just fun, but it also has many benefits for your dog.
It promotes joint health, improves blood circulation, strengthens muscles, improves mobility, and keep him cool in hot weather.
Even though swimming comes naturally to many Australian Shepherds, some will need to be taught.
These dogs are, however, fast learning, so it won’t be long before they get the hang of it.
It’s important to take a number of safety precautions when your dog goes swimming. Watch out for waves, currents, rocks, and other potential dangers.
In addition, keep your dog’s skin and coat moisturized, and provide pet sunscreen on sunny days.