Weimaraner in water

General info, Training

Do Weimaraners Like Water? Swimming Guide For Your Weim

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full affiliate disclosure policy

Weimaraners are a high-energy dog breed, made for action; they need exercise and lots of it. On land, Weimaraners enjoy running long-distances, playing fetch, and generally romping to their heart’s content. As a Weim owner, you want your dog to enjoy a full range of activity.

Most Weimaraners like water and many take to the water instantly. Most Weimaraners like to swim, particularly if an early introduction to swimming took place during puppyhood.

Many people believe that this dog breed is naturally predisposed to excel at swimming; however, this is not always true; there are reasons for this, and we will explore those in the following paragraph.

Can Weimaraners Swim?

Many Weimaraners can swim of course but there may be reasons that prevent a Weim from swimming confidently or well. If the Weim in question is yours, let’s look at why he or she may not like swimming, to help you gain insight into this dilemma.

  • Perhaps the Weim’s parents weren’t good swimmers themselves, and so your puppy didn’t inherit a love of swimming,
  • maybe your canine companion had a traumatic experience involving water,
  • or your dog wasn’t introduced to swimming early enough.

As a loving dog owner, you know that you can’t force your dog to like water and swimming. If you bring your Weim to the beach and he’s reluctant to play in the sea, let him decide what he’s comfortable doing.

If you have a puppy, you should explore how to teach Weimaraner to swim. Prepare for the fact that teaching your puppy to swim may take longer than you would like, so hang in there.

Safety

Before I delve into the intricacies of how to teach your Weimaraner to swim, I’d like to point out a few things about safety.

Life Jackets

If your Weim is afraid of water or just learning to swim, consider buying him a doggy life jacket. It will keep your dog safely afloat when swimming and all doggy lifejackets have a handle on the back in case you need to step in and get your pooch out of the water.

If you and your dog are around water often, I suggest getting the Hurtta Lifejacket (check it out on Dog.com). Make sure to measure your dog first for a perfect fit and let him get used to the feeling before stepping into water.

Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) Is Toxic To Dogs

In summer 2019 there have been numerous reports of dogs dying after swimming in cyanobacteria infested waters. Who would’ve guessed that a fun day at the lake could have fatal consequences for our dogs?

The New York Times reported on this and several states have also issued a warning. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency had also set up a webpage about the blue-green algae. MPCA also links to images of infested waters as well as how to test if your local lake or pond are affected.

Since your pup swallows some water as he plays fetch, he or she is more prone to poisoning.

If you suspect your dog has been in cyanobacteria-infested waters, do the following:

  • Hose them down quickly with clean, fresh water
  • Call your vet
  • If they begin to show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, difficulty breathing, weakness, drooling, take the dog to the vet immediately

Unfortunately it can take as little as one hour for fatal consequences to set in. The symptoms of toxin posioning might not be apparent rightaway and can even take days to show up.

Blue-green algae is not only toxic to pets but also to people, so be careful and avoid these places if possible. As the MPCA says, when in doubt, best keep out!

Why Is Swimming Good For My Dog?

Swimming is a great exercise for humans and dogs alike. Weimaraners have a lot (A LOT) of energy and a few rounds of fetch in water can tire your pup out.

  1. Burning excess energy – Weims are highly energetic. ‘Tired Weim is a good Weim’ is a common saying among owners. Weimaraners are prone to separation anxiety that can result in destructive behavior, so making them tired is definitely a good way to prevent this from happening.
  2. It improves health – Swimming strengthens heart and lungs, burns calories, speeds up metabolism and improves circulation. Swimming is great for overweight dogs.
  3. It’s great for joints – Swimming is a low-impact exercise with minimal stress on joints and tendons. Weimaraners are prone to bone and joint problems, especially displasia which can lead to arthritis. Swimming in warm water can alleviate joint pain and aid in recovery.
  4. Pefect way to cool down in summer
  5. It’s great fun! – ‘Nuff said!

How To Teach Your Weimaraner To Swim (From Puppy To Adult)

Teaching your Weimaraner to swim requires patience; a trick that works for one dog may not work for yours. You must read your dog and pick up on his body language, as you don’t want to push him too far. Before I delve into the how, keep these things in mind before each lesson:

Checklist:

  • your puppy is wearing a life jacket with a handle
  • the water isn’t cold but no too warm either
  • you have treats or favorite toys that can float
  • leash, according to the leash laws in your area and especially in open body of water
  • make sure you have your own watersource to rinse your puppy afterwards (both in natural waters and if you use a human swimming pool with chlorine)
  • never leave your dog unattended in water

Getting a Sense Of The Water

You must get your puppy to feel the water under his legs as early as possible. A beach, where there is a gradual decrease, is the ideal location to begin this training.

You can also start with a wading pool for kids. As a puppy, Nelly didn’t like getting her paws wet, so we brought out an old inflatable kiddie pool, which was already popped, but it didn’t really matter because we needed just a little bit of water to get her used to it.

The optimal way to get your puppy to feel the water is by holding him tightly and letting him paddle his legs in the water, of course, making sure; the water is warm. Once you feel your puppy starting to support his own weight in the water, you can relax as you hold him. Turn in the direction of the shore, allowing him to paddle a little by himself.

He will instinctively paddle toward the shore. Try repeating this process a few times, but always check to see if it’s scaring your dog. Be aware that many dogs don’t like water getting inside their ears; you may notice your dog shaking his a lot as he gets used to the water. Many dogs that don’t want to swim, just don’t like water getting inside their ears, but they get over it in time.

NOTE: If you are teaching an adult dog how to swim, encourage him to go as far as he can without having to paddle. Then gently support his chest and belly and slightly lift him up, the water will help distribute his weight.

Encourage Your Puppy To Swim Further

Once your puppy begins to swim more confidently and able to swim at least ten feet into the water, wade into the sea, and encourage him to swim to you, you can try using his favorite toy. If your pup is a natural swimmer, he will do this easily, and give him lots of praise. Try to move your puppy onto another activity as you don’t want to push him too far when he’s doing so well.

Getting Your Puppy Into The Water By Himself

Getting your puppy comfortable in the water without you is the next logical step. You can distract your puppy by throwing in floatable treats, some dog owners swear by popcorn or cheeseballs. Throw a treat far enough where your puppy has to push himself to get it – once he does, it will be his reward.

You can toss his treats further out each time, strategically working on his momentum. Consider tossing his treats in succession, to keep him running after them; this should help him swim in a very natural way, and help him lose his fear of the water.

Learning When To Offer Praise And When To Keep Quiet

Every Weim is different, and you must learn when to offer encouragement and praise and when to keep quiet, allowing him to work out things by himself. Always give your pup plenty of praise when he does swim. When you feel assured that your dog feels relaxed in the water, you can encourage him to retrieve a toy or other object from the water. If your pup has a favorite toy, why not throw that in for him to retrieve.

Have Realistic Expectations

Your Weim may well be comfortable with water in one place like a sandy beach, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be comfortable in a pool, pond or lake the first time he sees one. The process you applied to get your pup used to swimming well in one place may need repeating elsewhere, even if he’s an adult at this stage. You may find that the warmer the weather, the easier it will be to train your dog to swim.

In Conclusion

Most Weimaraners are comfortable in the water, so it’s hardly surprising that an owner would feel concerned that his dog is feeling uncomfortable or fearful around water. Each dog is unique, and some will take to swimming quicker than others; you shouldn’t force your dog into the water if he is resisting. If your dog feels pressured by you to swim, it may only increase his anxiety, and he may never learn.

Gentle encouragement is the way to go with your Weimaraner pup, get him used to the sensation of the water beneath his legs. You can begin by supporting his body, and when he begins supporting his own weight, let him paddle a little by himself. You can assist him by getting in the water and calling him to you.

Always praise him when he swims, use floatable treats to make him swim that bit further. Use his favorite toys to get him retrieving in the water. More importantly, don’t stress too much as this should be an enjoyable and enriching experience for you and your Weimaraner.


Did you teach your Weim how to swim? How did it go? Let me know in the comments! 🙂



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *