Do Doberman Pinschers like water? After all, they’re descended from several breeds that were used to hunt for game in wet locations. It’s well known that most dog breeds take to water pretty well, and sometimes you can’t even get them out of it. But is this the case for Dobermans?
Generally, Doberman Pinschers can become very good swimmers with proper training and practice, which may take some time. You can do this yourself or hire a trainer or swim coach to get them comfortable in the water.
Many dog experts suggest that you wait until your puppy is at least three to four months old before starting it on its swimming journey. And remember that a bad swimming experience can scar a puppy for life, so you always want to keep a watchful eye and ensure that your pup is safe (and comfortable) at all times.
The 4 Benefits of Teaching Your Doberman to Swim
Teaching your Doberman to swim while it’s a young pup can be very helpful, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of introducing your Doberman to the water early.
1. It Prevents Drowning Accidents
Did you know that nearly 5,000 family pets, many of which are dogs, drown in the U.S. every year due to a lack of safety protocols and swim training? Dogs know how to paddle with their front legs but not their back. Dogs that don’t move their rear legs create more splash and are more vertical in the water. They become tired quickly from this “panic swimming”, which causes them to be stressed and get very tired. So, it’s helpful to teach your dog how to swim properly and safely in a small pool or tub so that it can know how to move its legs when submerged in water that’s above its head.
2. It’s Great Exercise
Swimming offers many health benefits, not just for humans but also for dogs (especially older dogs). Swimming is good cardio exercise and can help reduce stress. Swimming is very beneficial for joints, as it can strengthen cartilage and muscles. It’s great for older dogs because, unlike other physical activities, it’s very gentle on the joints.
3. It Can Build Confidence
Your Doberman pup may be afraid of water initially. Swimming is a daunting task for dogs, even if they’re naturally a water dog, such as a retriever. Your pup will soon feel at home around water if you give them the right training and patience. And just like any other confidence booster, this can also give your pup the confidence and willingness to partake in other activities in which it’s unfamiliar. Ever seen a dog skateboard or run through a backyard agility course?
4. Allows Them to Burn Off Extra Energy
Swimming is a great exercise option for dogs of all ages, as it’s an efficient and safe way to burn energy. It can also give your dog a way to burn off extra energy in calories while staying cool in the summer without overheating. If you have a newborn pup or young adult, introducing them to the water early can help them burn off that extra energy that they seem to have during the day.
The 6 Safety Tips for Taking Your Doberman Swimming
Before letting your Doberman go in the ocean or pool, it helps to be aware of safety precautions. Here are a few things to remember.
1. Provide Hands-on Support
Be sure first to hold your puppy while it’s in the water to provide it with continued support. Once its feet are lifted off the ground, continue to hold on to it as it learns how to move in the water. To teach your dog how to swim, ensure that their bottom aligns with their heads – they’ll usually instinctively begin paddling.
You can help with this by placing your hand under their chest. You should make sure that your dog feels safe and secure the entire take. Talk calmly to your dog during this time and give them verbal assurance – and treats wouldn’t hurt during break time.
2. Never Leave Your Dog Unsupervised
Even though Dobermans are generally strong swimmers, they can sometimes get in trouble in the water, especially if it’s deep. It’s important that your dog be supervised at all times while swimming, so be sure to remove the dog when you go to the bathroom or make a quick run to the car.
3. Check the Water Temperature
Water that’s too cold can cause muscle cramps in your dog and could even lead to hypothermia, which could be fatal. Dog experts recommend waiting for your pup to be at least 3 or 4 months old before you introduce them to the water. And it’s best to start them in warm water (in a bathtub), to prevent them from getting too cold. Remember, young puppies are still working to regulate their body temperature, so even reasonably cool water may be too cold for them.
4. Use Doggie Life Jackets
You can always use a doggie life jacket if your pup is new to the water or if you are taking it to a larger pool or open bodies of water that have strong currents. This will keep your dog safe from drowning and help prevent them from getting in trouble in the water if they get too tired to paddle. Also, when visiting the beach, be aware of strong currents and rip currents that could pose danger to your dog.
5. Prepare a First Aid Kit for Emergencies
Always be ready in case of an emergency when you take your dog swimming – even if it’s just to the local beach. Things to include in your kit should include a breathing barrier, gauze, waterproof bandages, and antiseptic cream.
6. Never Force It
If your Doberman has a fear of water and doesn’t seem to enjoy being in the pool, don’t force it. The best way to get over their fear is to use positive reinforcement (rewarding their positive responses). Negative reinforcement, such as tossing the dog in the pool or repeatedly placing it back in when it attempts to get out, can actually increase a dog’s fear of water and make the situation worse. Remember, patience is the key.
Wrapping Things Up
Dobermans are a breed that loves to be in the water. They will happily go for a swim in a pool, but should be supervised and will possibly let off the leash if they have the opportunity. Dobermans who enjoy swimming will absolutely love their water-based exercise, and swimming is a great way to keep their muscles and joints healthy.