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Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Like Water? Make Them Feel Comfortable

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cute bernese Mountain Dog swimming in a lake on a hot summer

With thick coats and massive bodies, the Bernese Mountain dog just looks like a swimmer. But before you head out to the beach, lake, or pool with your pup, it’s a good idea to try and figure out if these dogs like water in the first place.

While every dog has their own personality, many Bernese Mountain dogs don’t like the water even though they can swim. But why is this the case, and is there any way to get them more comfortable around water?

We’ve highlighted everything you need to know about Bernese Mountain dogs and water for you here.

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Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Swim?

Yes. While Bernese Mountain dogs might not be the best swimmers, almost all of them possess at least some ability to swim.

If they ever fell into the water, they should be able to paddle enough to stay on the surface for a little while, and if they’re not too far from shore, they should be able to make it.

bernese mountain dog sitting near the edge of the hill
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Like to Swim?

While most Bernese Mountain dogs can swim, that doesn’t mean they enjoy the activity. Because of their larger size and thick coat, many Bernese Mountain dogs don’t enjoy swimming.

Sure, they have the strength and stamina to do it for a little while, but keeping that much weight and wet fur above the surface takes a lot of work. Because of this, most Bernese Mountain dogs prefer to keep their paws on dry land.

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Getting Your Bernese Mountain Dog Comfortable in the Water

Just because your Bernese Mountain dog doesn’t like the water now doesn’t mean it always needs to stay that way. While you don’t want to throw them in the water and hope for the best, there are a few things you can do to get them more comfortable in the water.

With enough time and patience, you can get your Bernese Mountain dog to enjoy their time in the water!

Start Young

One of the most effective things you can do to get your dog comfortable in the water is to expose them to it early on. The more exposure they get as a puppy, the more likely they are to feel comfortable and enjoy the water when they grow up.

bernese mountain dog puppy
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

Start With Shallow Water

If your Bernese Mountain dog doesn’t enjoy the water yet, don’t just throw them in the deep end. Start with shallow water and let them get comfortable with standing water when they can still reach the bottom. This is a great baby step that can get your dog comfortable in and around the water.

Slowly Increase Exposure

Once your Bernese Mountain dog gets comfortable in shallow water, slowly start exposing them to deeper and deeper water. Eventually, you need to expose them to an area where they must paddle some to stay on the surface.

But when they reach this milestone, allow them to get right back to an area where they can reach. This will help them build the confidence they need to spend more time out in the deep end in the future.

bernerse mountain dog swimming on a beautiful spring day
Image Credit: Jacob.OFC, Shutterstock

Provide Plenty of Praise and Treats

Every time your Bernese Mountain dog goes into the water, swims for a bit, or does anything else you want them to near the water, give them plenty of praise and treats. This will help them associate time in the water with a positive experience, making it more likely they’ll want to do it again in the future.

Get in With Them!

Nothing quite shows your pup that the water is all right like you going for a swim. If you have a strong relationship with your dog, they’ll naturally want to stay with you, and having them see you swimming will show them that it’s a perfectly safe and enjoyable activity for them.

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Final Thoughts

Before you take your Bernese Mountain dog out to the water, keep in mind that they might not want to be there. Sure, you can put in the work to get them more comfortable in and around the water, but unless you need them to do something around the water, is it worth all the effort?

There’s nothing wrong with them not liking the water, and there are plenty of other fun activities you and your pup can enjoy together.

Featured Image Credit: JeDo Foto, Shutterstock

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