Golden retrievers are one of those breeds that seek attention and enjoy when it is given to them. As a result, taking the dog on vacations is something you may have considered.
Maybe the beach is your ideal location for your next vacation plan, but you are worried that your dog may not be able to swim.
As such, the vacation may not be fun without your furry friend to accompany you. This causes a question to pound your head.
Can golden retrievers swim? Well, yes, golden retrievers are excellent swimmers, and they tend to love water from an early age. Although instinctually they learn this, it is best when the golden retriever has been exposed to the habit as a puppy from about three months of age
Are Golden Retrievers natural swimmers?
Golden retrievers, as stated prior, are excellent swimmers.
They love splashing around in the water whenever they get the chance. Still, one may be wondering whether the dogs are instinctively natural swimmers or the owners of the golden retrievers trained their dogs over time.
The Golden retriever’s love for water is linked to their DNA. They were originally bred for hunting and mainly were used as an aid to the fisherman. Fishermen used them for retrieving shot games, mostly waterfowls from the water after they may have been gunned down.
Hence, the present golden retrievers are, in fact, natural swimmers because of this inherent trait passed down from the older generation. Aside from this, they have all the features that make them a good swimming dog, ranging from their moderate weight to their thick double coat.
Although being recognized as natural swimmers due to their DNA – together with their ability to learn as adults and without actually being taught when they go into the water – it is still best to introduce this swimming habit to them as pups.
Teaching them how to swim in the best way possible is essential, as an improper way of teaching can sometimes be traumatic to the golden retriever, and they may become scared of water as pups and later as adults.
As such, when introducing your pups to water for the first time, it should be done preferably when they are over eight weeks. Also, you should do it in such a way that is beneficial to them in the long run and help kick-start their natural instincts.
There are specific ways one can effectively introduce the golden retrievers as pups to get used to the water.
How Do I Introduce My Golden Retriever Pups to Water?
Effective introduction of your golden retriever pups to water is critical in helping them become the natural swimmers they are.
Although it is not compulsory to introduce them to water as pups, it helps in the long run as they become so much used to the activity before they even become adults.
As stated earlier, golden retrievers can be excellent swimmers instinctively because this DNA has been passed down to them. However, it is still not safe to assume they can learn by immediately figuring it out by jumping in.
Every golden retriever differs as some of them can be better at swimming than others.
Therefore, it is safe to assume that yours may not be as good a swimmer as they can be. During their first introduction to water, it is advisable to treat them as though they may not be capable of swimming at all and specific steps are to be taken.
This practical introduction is a MUST. Poor introduction can actually hurt your golden retrievers instead of helping them as intended. Here are some tips to consider when introducing your golden retriever pup to water
Take it slow
The first and most crucial step in introducing pups is taking it slow. Get your pup a life vest since it is their first time swimming to enable them to stay safe. Also, you should support them as soon as they get tired.
This may be more frequent since they are not so used to the water at that moment. Remember, every pup is different. Some may be more hesitant to go into the water than others may be.
Therefore, start by gently lowering the puppy into the water and not just dunking it or throwing it in. Lower it, feet first into the water with your arm supporting their stomach before gently releasing your arm and allowing them to move in the water.
Introduce your pups to small bodies of clean water first
Do not take your pups to the beach or ocean to learn how to swim for the first time. They can be susceptible to certain diseases and may be frightened by the sight of the large endless water.
Therefore, start by introducing them into a small pool, and when they get older, you can take them to larger bodies of water.
However, when talking to large bodies of water, be sure that they are safe as certain poisonous plants or animals can be dangerous to them.
Pay attention to your pups
The golden retriever loves water. However, when the puppies get used to the water, they may wander deeper or farther away from the edge and get tired.
Therefore, it is crucial to have that life jacket on and know when your pups need help or attention. The best option is to stay in the water with them or get a life jacket that can keep them afloat.
After swimming, ensure to dry them up properly to prevent infections and irritation.
How Long can Golden Retrievers swim?
Most dogs spend an average of 10 – 30 minutes in water, and like most dogs that are capable of swimming, golden retrievers can spend this much time in the water when swimming.
However, the time spent swimming depends on whether or not the dog is a beginner or is already a good swimmer.
For first-time retrievers, they should spend a short time of about 10 minutes during swimming sessions, and such sessions should be done once a week. This prevents water toxicity – a situation where the dog drinks too much of the water while swimming, leading to a stomach upset.
Taking a beginner dog once a week for 10 minutes swimming is essential to build its stamina and confidence. Once stamina has been established, sessions can be extended from once a week to three to four times a week.
The retrieval will be able to spend a longer time, an average of 30 minutes when it becomes used to swimming.
Golden retrievers are excellent swimmers, but some retrievers may not like water as much as others like people with preferences.
However, introduction at an early age can teach them how to love swimming. Even as adults, careful introduction to water one step at a time can be beneficial for them as forcing them may cause more harm than good and even repress their inherent ability and love for water even more.
Most golden retrievers are also excellent swimmers and barely need any help before instinctively catching on to how to swim.