Last Updated on April 20, 2021 by Dogs Vets
Can Labradoodles Swim?
Just like we humans, some dogs are more comfortable swimming in water than others. One reason could be that some dog breeds were bred to work in the water. But you can teach almost any dog to have a more positive attitude toward water.
What is a Labradoodle?
A Labradoodle is a mixed-breed dog created by crossing the Labrador Retriever with the Standard, Miniature, or Toy poodle. The term first appeared in 1955, but was not popular initially. Labradoodles are considered a good choice for people with allergies to dog hair, as some have the same hypoallergenic coat as their poodle ancestors.
Wally Conron of Australia was already credited with naming the Labradoodle in 1989. The Australian Labradoodle Association of America, an organization run by Labradoodle breeders, says that they are “generally considered healthy dogs”. However, they also state that hip and elbow dysplasia are common problems affecting the Labradoodles dog breeds.
|Labrador Retriever, Poodle
|Not recognized as a breed by any major kennel club.
Do Labradoodles like baths?
Although labradoodles have a variety of coat types, they do not require frequent bathing, as dirt and mud will likely fall off their coat without bathing.
Having a labradoodle that likes water can have several advantages. Partly because swimming and playing in the water is a very gentle form of exercise. And partly because it’s great to be able to cool off in the water on a hot day.
Most Labradoodles love the water, and playing in the water can be a great way to exercise your Labradoodle.
Many people keep asking this question “Can Labradoodles swim?” Yes, the Labradoodle is an excellent swimmer and will usually dive into the water naturally if introduced as a puppy.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. So, if you have a Labradoodle that shows no interest in playing in the water, don’t force it.
Watch this video of a Labradoodle learning to swim:
What makes the Labradoodle a good swimmer?
The Labradoodle is a cross between a Poodle and Labrador Retriever. Both breeds were originally bred to be water dogs and are good swimmers.
The Poodle was developed as a “duck dog”. A poodle’s job was to retrieve ducks shot from the water and bring them to the hunter.
The Poodle’s odd-looking show coat was originally for a purpose. The coat was shaved to help reduce the weight of water absorbing the fur. The odd puffs of fur were left in strategic places to protect joints and organs from freezing water.
The Labrador Retriever was also originally bred as a “duck dog” and friend of fishermen. The tail of the Labrador Retrievers functions as a particularly strong rudder and makes this breed a good swimmer.
Since the Labradoodle is a mix of two water-loving breeds, it makes sense that the Labradoodle would also love the water and be a great swimmer.
How to teach your Labradoodle to swim (and love the water)
Some Labradoodles won’t automatically love playing in the water. But there are a few steps you can take to change this. It really comes down to how you socialize your puppy to the water. As with all socialization experiences, playing in the water should be positive and safe.
There are several important factors in getting your Labradoodle to enjoy water and swimming. Our tips are below:
Get the proper equipment: Life jackets for dogs are extremely common and provide flotation for your Labradoodle if he gets tired of swimming. It also helps contribute to a positive swimming experience, since his head will always be above water.
Get your Labradoodle used to the water: Your dog must know how to get in and out of the water to know how to swim. Most Labradoodles will not simply jump into the water until they know how to get out of it.
Make sure your Labradoodle does not get tired of swimming: Make sure your dog has really good swimming experience! This means that they should not strain to swim and should not get too tired.
Teach your labradoodle to swim slowly
There are several tricks you can implement to teach your labradoodle to swim. But stressing him or trying to force him won’t do any good. We want him to like the water on its own and not by pressure.
A simple sandy beach works wonders
If you want to teach your Labradoodle to swim, it’s best if you find a beach with easy access to the water. Big hills and lots of rocks are not the best environment. A flat beach where the dog decides how fast he wants to go is preferable.
Can labradoodles swim? – Treats and toys
Let your dog play along the water’s edge. If he likes toys, perhaps bring a toy that floats. You may even find that your labradoodle forgets he’s in the water and simply concentrates on playing.
If your dog prefers treats to toys, you can even get treats that float. Throw a bunch of those in the water and let your dog splash after them.
When the dog is comfortable with the water, try throwing the toys or treats even more into the water, and see if your dog might even dare to give some petting behind them.
Learning the technique
At first, when the labradoodle is learning to swim, there may be a lot of splashing, as the dog will mainly use its front paws on the surface of the water.
The dog may seem a little scared, but as soon as it discovers that it actually floats, it usually calms down and discovers that it is easier to swim with its front paws below the surface of the water.
Join the dog in the water
If you want to help the dog realize that he will float when he is in the water, you can put a life jacket on him to start with. And you can join him in the water, where you can hold him on the handle that is usually attached to the back of a dog life jacket.
This will be a great help and a sense of security for your dog.
Experienced dogs make good teachers
It might also be a good idea to take a dog that is extremely comfortable in the water and let him play with the unsure dog. It usually won’t be long before the experienced dog’s behavior carries over to the other dog, and he will try to follow you during the walk.
Can labradoodles swim? 10 Tips to teach Labradoodle how to swim
- Start early: When teaching a dog to swim, it is best to start a puppy when they are young (around 12 weeks and older).
- Start with a small body of water: Giving them just a few inches of water in a kiddie pool is an excellent first introduction – even if the puppy doesn’t need to swim at first and can just splash around in the water, that’s great! Be sure to make it fun for the puppy.
- Start in the shallow end: The best way to get your dog to swim is to stand in the shallow end of the water and encourage him to “come” to you. If that doesn’t work, try playing a fetch game in the shallow end using your favorite Labradoodles toy. Labradoodles love fetch!
- Easy access out of the water when needed: It’s best to offer the puppy easy access to get out of the water if he needs that too. Swimming is intense exercise and can wear a puppy out quickly. Be sure to keep a close eye on your dog whenever he is swimming to make sure he is safe.
- Make it fun: Making the water fun is an important part of water socialisation.
- Turn it into a game: Playing fetch with a toy that will float is great. Start easily by tossing the toy near the shore and in a place where the dog can easily access the water.
- Don’t force your Labradoodle to swim: Throwing your dog into a pool is the worst way to teach him to swim. Let your Labradoodle get comfortable with the water and the environment.
- Follow your dog’s cues to know when he is getting tired and when he is ready for more challenges.
- If your dog is swimming in a large body of water or in water with fast currents or undertows, be safe and have your dog wear a life jacket.
- Positive reinforcement: Once your dog enters the body of water, quickly reinforce the experience with treats and praise. Your Labradoodle’s body will experience new sensations in the water, so you want to quickly make him feel comfortable.
A life jacket can also help prolong the fun. They will slightly reduce the amount of effort Labradoodle needs to keep afloat.
What water sports can a Labradoodle do?
If your Labradoodle really likes the water, you may want to try some water sports with him. Be sure to wear a life jacket when appropriate and bring plenty of fresh water for both of you on your excursion.
Kayaking can be a lot of fun with your dog! It’s a good idea to get your dog used to staying in a kayak before you put him in the water! Also, something to keep in mind is the ducks or geese that may be on the water.
Just like kayaking, you can also take your dog paddling. This activity requires good balance, so it’s best to practice in shallow water with your labradoodle first.
Again, it’s best to start your dog on land rather than in the water, and be sure to use a board that your dog’s feet can grip.
Dogs can also enjoy surfing. Again, make sure you are using a board that your dog’s feet can grip. Introducing the surfboard on land is a great idea. It’s also helpful to get your dog familiar with swimming in waves before you start surfing.
Taking your Labradoodle for a boat ride can also be fun. Just be sure to keep them safe with a life jacket and keep an eye on them.
Dock diving is a competitive water sports option for dogs. The basic concept is that the dog jumps off the end of a dock after a toy or other thrown objects. There are three different dock diving competitions: Big Air, Speed Retrieve and Extreme Verticle.
Big Air is basically a distance jump into the water. Speed Retrieve is timed, how fast can the dog get the item and return it to you. Then Extreme Verticle is where the dog jumps off the edge of a dock to grab a toy that is suspended and then lands in the water. The toys are high up and rise with each pass. Check out this video showing the dogs diving off a dock.
Can you wear a life jacket for your Labradoodle when swimming?
It makes sense to mention dog life jackets, as they can be very helpful for safety.
You can use a dog life jacket to help in the training process to help your dog enjoy the water or to keep him safe for boating or other water sports. They are also useful for older dogs.
Buoyancy is an obvious thing to look at, but it’s worth mentioning. Some dog life jackets will have floats only on the top and sides of the dog. This will be sufficient for some, but I prefer life jackets that also have flotation in the belly area. This provides better overall flotation.
You will also see some jackets that have a portion that floats under your dog’s neck/head area. This is not necessary for all dogs, but may be helpful for some. It is especially good for dogs that have short noses. It will help keep their head upright so they can breathe easier.
Bright colors and reflective strips are also a good idea. This will help make your dog more visible to you and others who enjoy the water. Especially boats and jet skis.
One thing you should look for in a dog life jacket is a handle at the top. These are sometimes called “rescue handles.” They can be very useful if your dog falls or jumps out of your kayak, boat or board. You can also use it to help support and guide your dog when you are getting him used to swimming for the first time.
Depending on what you intend to do with the life jacket, it’s a good idea to look for a jacket that has a hook on the back that you can also attach with a leash. It can be very useful for taking your dog into the water or keeping him on a leash while in the boat or on board. Whether you want your dog tied to you in the boat or on the board is your choice. Use your best judgment.
Also, look for a life jacket that is highly adjustable. While it’s important to buy the right size vest for your dog, it’s also great to be able to adjust it to fit your dog perfectly. Make sure your dog can sit, lie down and be himself in the life jacket.
You’ll also want a well-made jacket. One that will last for many outings. You don’t want one that falls apart the first time you use its handle to carry your dog back to your kayak.
Can labradoodles dog get ear infection from swimming?
Labradoodles can be prone to ear infections and excess water in the ear from water sports can cause problems.
Labradoodles can also get what is called “swimmer’s ear”. This is not an infection, but an inflammation of the ear canal. It is caused by an allergy, usually to food or something in the environment.
You’ll know if your labradoodle’s ear hurts because he’ll touch and always scratch it, shake his head and he probably won’t want you to go near it.
If you take your dog to the vet, treatments for ear infections and swimmer’s ear may also include antibiotics, antihistamines, liquid ear cleaners and pain relievers.
If your dog suffers from frequent ear problems, you may want to take a more holistic approach.
I like to use a little organic witch hazel on a cotton ball or in a can to help dry the ears. You can also buy dog ear wipes that are antiseptic and contain aloe vera and eucalyptus. If you get into the habit of using them once a week, they can help stop ear infections and inflammation by keeping them clean.
It also gets your dog used to touching his ear and cleaning it, which makes it easier to apply medication if needed at some point. Just be careful when using them and never stick your finger in your dog’s ear, as you risk damaging the inner ear and eardrum.
Can all breeds of dogs swim?
There are very few dogs that cannot swim.
Usually these breeds have short noses (like the bulldog, pug or boxer), short legs (dachshund, corgies) or heavy chests (bulldogs), or are very small like the Shih Tzu, Maltese breeds.
Even these dogs can be taught to enjoy the water with proper safety precautions, such as life jackets and towels to dry them off.
Other than these breeds, most dogs can swim; however, not all dogs will enjoy it!
Yes, Labradoodles can swim! The Labradoodle is a designer dog that is bred from two water loving breeds, Poodles and Labrador Retrievers. That said, not all Labradoodles will love the water.
You can help make sure your Labradoodle loves the water with proper water socialization. And fun, positive water experiences.
There are a variety of water sports you can do with your Labradoodle if you choose. From kayaking to surfing to dock diving, Labradoodles can have fun playing water sports.
Be sure to be safe and choose a high-quality life jacket for your dog when necessary – and keep their ears clean!
Have fun swimming in the water with your Labradoodle!
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