It’s normal for all dog parents to wonder if their lifetime companion can swim, especially when the dog parents are swimming enthusiasts.
So, if you are a loving parent to a Norwegian Elkhound or you are thinking of adopting one, and you can’t help but ask,
Do Norwegian Elkhounds like water? And Can Norwegian Elkhounds swim? Then ease your mind as you have searched for the right article.
I will be giving you factual answers which are backed up with hard proof evidence on whether these loyal and affectionate breeds love water and if they can swim.
I will also provide you with a complete guide on how to teach your hound to swim.
Be sure to read to the end of the article, as I will also be providing you with the must-know swimming safety tips for your dog.
Do Norwegian Elkhounds Like Water?
Yes, Norwegian Elkhounds naturally like water.
In fact, this dog breed’s love for water goes way back to the ancient times when Vikings ruled Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway, and Sweden).
They are referenced in Norse mythology and history as companions of Vikings who traveled by ship.
Can Norwegian Elkhounds Swim?
Yes, Norwegian Elkhounds can swim.
Their agility and stamina, thick and water-resistant double coat, adequate lung capacity, and instinctual love for water and intelligence make them have great potential to become exceptional swimmers.
However, their short legs, unwebbed paws, and curled-up tails may make it harder for this obedient dog to swim naturally.
This necessitates that you adequately train them how to swim at a young age.
I recommend that you teach your dog to swim when it’s around 2-5 months of age. During this period, your Norwegian pup is usually very receptive to commands.
It has more agility and endurance, all of which are essential features/qualities if your dog is to become a good swimmer.
How Do I Teach My Norwegian Elkhound To Swim?
Despite their unquestionable love for the water, not all Norwegian Elkhounds are able to swim naturally.
This makes it essential that you know how to teach your hound to swim.
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Floatation devices work to keep your dog afloat and help it learn to paddle on its own.
Through a life jacket , your Norwegian Elkhound will be able to paddle both his front and hind legs without fear that it will submerge into the water.
Ensure that you get your hound a fitting, brightly colored (it should be yellow, orange, or red) quality life jacket and have it put on anytime you go out swimming.
Pro-tip; Before letting your dog wear its life jack, first make certain that it has no rips or tears and that all the straps are attached and in good order.
If you notice any lumpiness or mildew on your dog’s vest, please don’t use it and safely dispose of it.
NEVER dry your dog’s vest directly under sunlight or fold it. Ensure that you also put on a quality life jacket when training your dog to swim.
#Desensitize Your Dog To Its Water Fear(s)
Most dog parents assume that all dogs aren’t afraid of water. However, this is not true.
Research has shown that at least 40% of all dog breeds fear water at some point in their life.
And some Norwegian Elkhounds also fall in the 40% of dog breeds who fear water. Get to know why your Elkhound is water phobic (also known as aquaphobic).
Some of the causes that may make your dog fear water include; first time, past traumatic experience, and sounds caused by moving waters.
In case you are a dog parent of a Norwegian Elkhound who fears going in for a dip, please consider desensitizing it from its water fear(s).
Gently lead it in the water while physically holding it. NEVER throw your hound inside the pool or water.
You not only risk having it injured and drowned but also you will increase its water phobia by 2-4 folds.
#Physically And Emotional Support Your Hound
While in the waters, let your canine companion know that you got its back, ‘literally.’
Hold it in a position that it can move smoothly without any hindrance to paddle water. Make sure that you give it praises each time it improves its swimming skill(s).
#Train Your Dog To Exit And Enter The Pool
Use verbal gestures to train your dog to safely exit and enter the pool. Consider installing ramps which are convenient to use and easily accessible.
NOTE! Most of the times, your Norwegian Elkhound will mimic what you do. So, always exit and enter the pool using the same exit and entry points you are training your dog to use.
If you don’t join your dog in the pool, please sit by the exit point and have your dog put on a fitting collar and a long non-stretchable, waterproof, and heavy-duty leash on.
Always keep an eye on your hound, regardless of it being a newbie or a swimming expert.
#Use Incentives To Motivate Your Dog
Use anything that will motivate your dog to perform better in swimming training.
Please have a friend bring their dog who knows how to swim, and let them swim with you while you train your hound to do the same.
You can also give it treats, place its favorite toys in the water, and take it out for a walk after a successful swimming training session.
Pro-tip; Ensure that your dog’s treat doesn’t exceed 10% of its daily diet. For treats to be an effective tool to train your hound how to swim;
Consider feeding your Norwegian Elkhounds soft and sweet-smelling treats, which take a bit more time to chew.
Also, change the flavor of your dog’s treat on a daily basis.
This helps break any monotony that may arise from your dog eating the same flavor all over again.
#Practise Patience And Consistency
Practice patience and work within your hound’s ability.
Note! Overwhelming your hound may cause it to relapse on its training.
Norwegian Elkhounds may also become strong-willed, especially when they feel overwhelmed; this may cause them to refuse to make an effort.
Practice consistency. Avoid skipping a day or 2 when teaching your hound to swim. Consistency is vital as it will help your hound grasp its training fast.
4 Swimming Safety Tips For Swimming With Your Norwegian Elkhound
#Ensure Its Adequately Hydrated
Ensure that your Norwegian Elkhound is adequately hydrated before and after you go out for a swim.
For instance, if your Elkhound weighs around 20kgs, ensure that you provide it with around 900mls of clean water in a day.
You may need to increase the amount of water you provide your dog with if it’s lactating or highly energetic or during extremely sunny days.
If you notice your Norwegian Elkhound is excessively drooling thick saliva, has sunken eyes, dry nose, and tacky gum, and seems restless as though it’s searching for something, please provide it with water as all these signs are indicative of a thirsty/dehydrated dog.
#Carry With You A First Aid Kit
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- Styptic pencil (5 grams)- Dip into water and apply to wound to help stop bleeding
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Accidents are unpredictable and sometimes unpreventable, especially when training a dog how to swim.
So it’s always good to have a dog first aid kit with you.
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Just like humans, dogs are also at risk of getting sunburned.
So be sure to use a dog-safe sun spray that is waterproof, zinc oxide-free, and contains a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30.
Please note! Excessive exposure to the damaging effects of UV light may predispose your Norwegian Elkhound to get skin cancer(s), especially if its light furred (gray in color).
So, ensure that you apply a dog-safe sun spray on its coat 15-30 minutes before you head out for a plunge.
#Get Your Norwegian Elkhound A Life Jacket/Vest
Never go out for a dip without having your hound put on a life jacket .
Do Norwegians Elkhounds like water? Yes, they do. And Can Norwegian Elkhounds swim? Yes, they can.
Use treats, toys, and praises to motivate your dog to perform better when swimming.
Ensure that you practice patience and consistency while training your hound to be a good swimmer.
NEVER let your Norwegian Elkhound swim without its life jacket on.
Also, NEVER throw it in water or leave it unsupervised even if it’s a pro at swimming. Always carry a fully equipped pet first aid kit with you whenever you go out swimming.
It will also help familiarize yourself with how to perform basic but lifesaving first aid techniques on your dog.