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Can Vizslas Swim? Training & Safety Tips

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

wirehaired vizsla dog in water

While you think of a Vizsla as a hunting dog for good reason, they also have tons of waterdog tendencies that make them excellent swimmers. And while the likes and dislikes of each pup will vary a bit depending on their own personality and temperament, most Vizslas can’t get enough of the water.

They have several physical characteristics that make them outstanding swimmers, and most of the time, they’re extremely comfortable near the water.

Divider 7Are Vizslas Water Dogs?

While Vizslas are primarily hunting dogs, there are plenty of situations where a hunting dog would need to enter the water. One of the most common situations includes when they’re going to retrieve prey, but it’s also possible they need to enter shallow bodies of water while chasing after their prey.

This is probably why the Vizsla has webbed feet for faster swimming. However, unlike many other water dogs with a double coat that acts as insulation for them while in the water, the Vizsla only has a single coat.

Because of this, you need to be extremely careful when the weather is a bit colder. Still, there’s no doubt that the Vizsla is a water-loving dog!

 

When to Introduce Your

vizsla running
Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

to the Water

While your Vizsla will happily jump in open bodies of water pretty much as soon as you let them, this doesn’t mean you should rush puppies right out into lakes and rivers. Instead, you want to wait 2 weeks after they receive their last vaccines.

This gives their immune system the necessary time to build up protection against most of the more serious things that can affect them. The good news is that if you start your pup right away, there’s no reason they can’t enjoy time in the water beginning around the 4-month mark.

The 5 Tips for Introducing Your Vizsla to Water

When introducing your Vizsla to the water for the first time, you don’t want to throw them in the deep end and see what happens. Below, we’ve highlighted a few tips and tricks to help you get your Vizsla comfortable in the water as soon as possible.

1. Go at Their Pace

Some Vizslas will jump right in the water and start swimming, others are a bit more hesitant when entering the water for the first time. Don’t send your Vizsla out in the middle of the lake the first time they’re swimming but allow them to spend as much time in deeper water as they feel comfortable with.

In short, give them a safety outlet in case they start to struggle, but other than that, let them enjoy the water. Meanwhile, if they’re feeling a bit more uncomfortable near the water, give them the time and space to warm up to it slowly.

vizsla dog standing in a white sand desert
Image Credit: Barna Tanko, Shutterstock

2. Start Slowly

If your Vizsla is a bit more uncomfortable around water, go slow with things. Let them get used to shallow water and stay with them. Slowly increase the depth while you’re still with them, and then slowly give them a bit more space.

The key is to let your pup get and stay comfortable, even if it takes them a bit longer. Don’t push them too fast. If you allow them to acclimate to the water at their own pace, you’ll find them swimming everywhere in no time.


3. Use Positive Reinforcement

Your Vizsla wants to keep you happy, and if you keep giving them positive reinforcement when they’re near and around the water, it’ll make them want to go back for more. Make it a fun experience for them and avoid negative reinforcement entirely. Encourage them and stay happy, and if you need to take a break, there’s nothing wrong with that!

Image Credit: Shakarrigrafie, Shutterstock

4. Use Treats

Some pups need a little extra reward to dive into the water. When you’re training your pup in and around the water, give them a few treats to entice them to get wet.

Pick their favorite treats and reward them when they’re swimming. This will give them another reason to look forward to the water and can help push them past any minor discomfort they might feel.


5. Stay Consistent

If you want your Vizsla to get comfortable in the water, you need to give them plenty of time to acclimate. Not only does this mean giving them plenty of time during each session, but it also means giving them plenty of sessions!

You can’t expect to put your Vizsla in the water once or twice and then wait a year and have them fully comfortable in the water again. The more opportunities your pup has to be in and around water, the better.

Divider 7Final Thoughts

Just because most Vizslas like the water right out of the gate, that doesn’t mean yours will. But if you stay consistent and patient, there’s no reason you can’t have your Vizsla diving right into the water before long.

Once they get comfortable, they’re extremely strong swimmers that simply can’t get enough time in the water!


Featured Image Credit: Shakarrigrafie, Shutterstock

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