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Can Dachshunds Swim? Breed Facts & How to Teach Them

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

dachshund puppy swimming at the beach

The best thing to do on a hot summer’s day is to spend the day in a pool, cooling off and catching some sun, and if you have a sweet Dachshund that you would love to share the experience with, you may be wondering if Dachshunds can swim?

Swimming does not come naturally to Dachshunds because they are hunting dogs, and swimming can be an exhausting activity for the short-legged canines.

Dachshunds can swim, but it will take some time and training because of their long body and short legs. They are not the best swimmers and will need more time to learn how to swim properly. In this article, we cover everything you need to know.

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Do Dachshunds Like Water?

Dachshunds do not like water. They were originally bred as hunting dogs, and they are less inclined to climb into the water. While Swimming comes naturally to many of them, some may not enjoy being in the water.

Wet belly syndrome is also a problem for some Dachshunds. Wet Belly Syndrome sounds serious, but it’s just a behavior where Dachshunds despise going outside during the rain. They grow out of it or learn to live a normal life despite it, but others never recover.

If your Dachshund has Wet Belly Syndrome, it may influence their desire to want to learn to swim or go near water. Some tell-tale signs can help you determine if your Dachshund has wet belly syndrome, such as resisting going through a doorway that leads outside, not going potty outside, avoiding shiny surfaces that look like water, and more of an eagerness to walk when it’s dry and sunny.

a Shorthaired Dachshund on the beach in summer
Image by: Masarik, Shutterstock

Can Dachshunds Swim with their Small Legs and Size?

Most Dachshunds prefer land to water. Their short bodies and legs can hamper their ability to swim. They will need to kick more often to keep them afloat, which may fatigue them quickly. They can easily sink and possibly drown if they become fatigued and exhausted. Swimming is a strenuous and tiresome exercise, and just ten minutes of continuous swimming is equivalent to a one-hour walk.

Every dog is different, and the best way to tell if your dog can swim is to expose it to water and see how it reacts.

Is Swimming Good for Dachshunds?

Despite their small size, they require regular exercise to stay fit and build strong muscles to support and protect their backs. Swimming can be a great activity for Dachshunds as it eliminates jumping.

Due to their size and shape, Dachshunds are especially prone to back injuries, so swimming can help them strengthen their backs, as well as their joints. If they had to undergo surgery, swimming can also be a great rehabilitating activity.

dachshund dog swimming in the river
Image Credit: fuertefoto, Pixabay

How To Teach Your Dachshund to Swim

Dachshunds are obedient and smart little dogs, which makes it easy to teach them how to swim.

Patience is the first thing to remember when teaching them to swim, as Dachshunds can be stubborn. They may take some time to learn, and it needs to be a fun and pleasant experience for them. If they are not enjoying it, don’t force your dog and try another day. Positive reinforcement is also crucial to making it a positive experience.

Start the process in a step-by-step manner:
  • Introduce them to water in the shallow parts of the pool or even in a bathtub. Allow them to wet their paws and get familiar with the feeling of being wet. Daily water exposure is the best way to teach your dog to be confident in the water.
  • When you feel your dog is ready, hold it firmly but comfortably by its waste over the water and allow it to paddle with its legs. Check for any currents that might make it difficult or frightening for your dog to move freely in the water, and try to avoid them.
  • Keep repeating this step until your dog feels confident and can keep its feet securely on the ground.
  • You can now gradually bring your dog into deeper water. It is also a good idea to be in the water with your dog; it will feel more confident and safer around you.
  • Keep praising and rewarding your dog to keep them motivated.

For extra reassurance, consider using a life jacket; make sure it is comfortable and is the right size. They get tired quickly, so a life jacket can provide extra safety while they are learning.

How To Swim Safely With Your Dachshund?

It’s essential to keep your pet safe around water, especially if it is learning to swim or is not too fond of water.

Here are some tips for safe swimming:
  • Invest in a life jacket for your dachshund for extra safety.
  • Always keep an eye on your Dachshund and be close by, even if your dog knows how to swim.
  • Keep your Dachshund hydrated both before and after they go swimming.
  • Make it an easier process for them by teaching them where the exit and entry points are.
  • Keep the training session short. They can swim for about 5 minutes while they are still learning.
  • If your dog appears tired, take them out immediately.
  • Never force your Dachshund to swim; if your dog seems resistant, wait for another opportunity.

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Even though Dachshunds are small with short legs, they can swim only if they want to. The case will be different for each dog, but with patience and training, they can become great swimmers. It is great exercise for your Dachshund, and the activity can help strengthen their backs and joints. Training should never be forced; it requires patience and positive reinforcement from the owner. Once your dog has grown confident in the water, swimming can be a fun activity for you and your companion.

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Featured Image Credit: Denis Moskvinov, Shutterstock

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