It’s a beautiful summer day, and you and the family have driven to the beach for the weekend. The water is inviting, and you can’t wait to jump in and splash around for a while. The family fur-baby came along for the fun in the sun (as if you could get away without them!) and joins right in…
Do Goldendoodles like to swim? Yes! Most Goldendoodles love water and swimming and are excellent swimmers. Both of the old ancestral dog breeds (Golden Retriever and Standard Poodle) were bred as water dogs, and that fondness for the water and swimming was passed down to Goldendoodles.
Long before the parent breeds were used as service dogs (and guide dogs), they were bred to be work dogs in deep water.
A mini Goldendoodle will love the water just as much as a larger breed, and both are great swimmers. A miniature Goldendoodle (from Golden Retrievers and toy Poodles mix) can be trained in the water easily by one person, but a larger Goldendoodle might need a two-person team to extract him from the deeper water in an emergency. Even though these puppies are natural good swimmers, they will need to build up endurance and learn “water smarts”. Even “high-energy dogs” can get exhausted and need assistance.
Water Safety – Teaching Your Goldendoodle Puppy To Swim
The First Experience
Dogs, especially high-intelligence dogs like Goldendoodles, are impressionable, and it will take a long time to counteract a bad experience. Never, ever, toss your dog into the water as the first experience. If there is a panic reaction to being in the water, it could severely impact the dog’s courage for swimming for the rest of its life.
Keep your dog’s first sessions in the water to around 10 minutes, gradually adding 5 minutes at a time when the dog has built up the muscles and endurance. DO NOT let your dog swim alone…this is just inviting tragedy. Letting your Goldendoodle swim with you is the best way to train in a swimming pool.
Using A Life Vest
Whether your dog breed is a natural with water or not, it is a good idea to start with a life jacket on…just to make sure. Get your puppy used to wearing it around the house and yard before even thinking of heading out to a pool or lake. This prevents the dog from having to deal with more than one sensation at a time.
Life vests are inexpensive and a must-have if you go anywhere near the water. Here are a few models of vests available.
When using a wading pool, step out into the pool while coaxing the dog to follow you. Use treats and praise to convince him that this is a fun activity to join you in.
After he/she is used to getting their feet wet, try tossing a favorite toy out into the pool for them to retrieve.
If you are training your puppy in a lake or from a beach, start in a shallow spot. Be sure and get in the water with the dog, slowly working your way out, further and further from shore. Don’t move out of the shallow area until your dog is comfortable where he is. The goal is to eventually make it necessary to paddle out to you to get the treat or toy.
Rewarding your dog with a treat for getting into the water will make him want to get into the water even more often.
Teach your dog where to find the exit to the pool or body of water. Direct the dog toward the ramp or shallows where they can exit safely. If you aren’t in the water with the dog, then stand near the exit and coax them to get out where you are. It is essential that your dog knows how to get out of the water as well as in.
Check carefully for current strength before allowing your dog in, and make sure he stays safely in shallow water. Oceans have strong currents and riptides, and Goldendoodles are just as susceptible as humans are to being carried out too far from the shore. Riptides can easily overwhelm the best swimmers.
For this reason alone, I would not let my doodle out there without the life vest buckled on. Most of these vests have a handle you can grab and pull your dog to safety should they get into any difficulty. Keep a leash (preferably a floating variety) on your pet during the first forays into the new environment.
Keep your doodle well hydrated and bring fresh water along with you. Bacteria and algae abound in natural water areas, and you don’t want your pet drinking that stuff as it can be poisonous enough to cause serious harm.
Always be aware of your Goldendoodles physical condition as the day wears on. Even when wet, they can get overheated and need fresh water. Pay close attention to how tired they are getting and call a halt to the water fun when they get worn out. An exhausted puppy is prone to drowning, and heavy breathing will start sucking in water as well as air.
While we are on the subject of possible drowning and heat exhaustion, investing in pet first aid and CPR lessons would be a good idea. This is an easy course to take and keeps you prepared in case the worst happens. Veterinarians are an excellent source to ask advice on this, and the local chapter of the Red Cross may offer a class you can take.
Are Goldendoodles Natural Swimmers?
There are three different swimming types of dogs: Natural swimmers, teachable swimmers, and those that cannot physically stay on top of the water without a life vest.
Yes, Goldendoodles are a natural when it comes to hitting the waves. Because of their bloodlines, they have powerful limbs and somewhat wide feet that make them confident in the water. Most will have inherited the webbed skin between the toes, which gives excellent speed and direction control in the water.
You always want to supervise them and provide positive reinforcement, however, when first introducing them to water. Even though they have the natural instinct to “dog paddle,” they could panic if this is new to them.
There are a few items available to aid in getting your doodle ready to start swimming, like a hard plastic wading pool. The inflatable type of pool can’t stand up to the sharp nails.
If the pool used is deep enough that it is over your dog’s head, be sure to fence around it or provide a sturdy cover over it.
If a larger body of water is available like a creek or lake, a life vest would be advisable.
Swimmer’s Ear In Goldendoodles
Because the L-shape of the Goldendoodles ear canal travels down and then inward, water and bacteria can get trapped and fester. The result is Swimmer’s Ear, much the same as in humans, and results in pain, itchiness, redness, discharge, and sometimes smelly odor. Your veterinarian comes into play when you reach this stage.
Consult with your vet on methods to clean out the ear canals and prevent swimmer’s ear in your pet after swimming or bathing.
Can Goldendoodles Swim In Chlorine Pools?
For the most part, yes. Swimming pools have a negligible amount of chlorine that is safe for humans and is safe for your dog as well. Your dog, however, is going to see it as one big water bowl, so keep fresh water nearby and don’t allow them to drink from the pool whenever you can prevent it.
The real danger is forgetting to check your Goldendoodles ears for dampness after they exit the pool. Those floppy ears can keep the water in a warm dark environment that can breed bacteria and ear infections.
Water Games For Your Goldendoodle
Okay, so now your Goldendoodle is a water-loving crazy animal, and you were wondering what kind of games they like to play. Here’s a list of possibles, so after you go through them, use your imagination.
- Water Fetch
This, of course, involves throwing a floating toy or ball into the water so they can retrieve it. A tennis ball is perfect for this because not only does it float, but it’s comfortable for them to carry in their mouths. Retrievers love this because they are ingrained with fetching back ducks or waterfowl. Their descendants, the Goldendoodle, will undoubtedly inherit this trait.
- Pool Dive
Using a weighted toy, toss this out into a pool for your doodle to learn diving. You would start with very shallow water at first, and then work your way out to a little deeper water (not too deep).
Running or swimming away from your dog will almost always get them to chase you, and this can be done in the water or around a yard sprinkler. Dogs that love the water love the sprinklers even more. They seem to think the water is playing tag on its own and often try to grab the water stream as it squirts out.
- Dock Launch
Chasing a thrown Frisbee or floaty toy out over the water from a dock or even poolside will get your doodle to launch out over the water. They will achieve greater and greater distances as they warm up to this game. Try to get them to actually return it to you instead of bringing it close and then dashing off with it (they do that a lot).
- Water Rafting
Flexible solid-core rubber mats, like a thick yoga mat, are fun for Goldendoodles to crawl onto and free float around the swimming area.
- Inner Tube Towing
Hook a tow line to your inner tube or raft and let them drag you around in the water. Not all dogs will catch on to this, but doodles are pretty smart and will enjoy the game once they get the hang of it. It is similar to a “tug of war” in the water.
Why Do Goldendoodles Like The Water?
A Goldendoodle’s ancestry comes from two different breeds, but BOTH are water dogs (bred to work in water and swamps).
The Golden Retriever was initially bred as a hunting dog for retrieving ducks and other waterfowl. They are believed to be descended from a cross between the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel and a Yellow Retriever.
The Golden Retriever is a breed built to retrieve water-fowl, and swimming is as natural to them as playing “fetch.”
Originally thought to be a German breed, the name poodle is derived from the German word Pudelhund, which translates roughly to “puddle hound” or “a splash-about dog.” The poodle was standardized in France and was used as a water retriever.
The poodle’s tight curly coat is efficient in shedding water and aids in the frequent forays in and out of the cold water.
More About Goldendoodles
This seems like a lot of unnecessary education for getting a supposedly “Natural Born Water Dog” used to the water, but sometimes it is just common sense to give your pet the best experience when jumping in for the first time. If you and your family spend a lot of quality time at the lake or on a boat, it is so much better to have your canine buddy join in, too…because they ARE family. Right?
Read more about Goldendoodle facts at https://www.thesprucepets.com/goldendoodle-dogs-and-puppies-4169955
Amazon also has an excellent selection of how-to guides, including “Goldendoodles – The Owners Guide from Puppy to Old Age – Choosing, Caring for, Grooming, Health, Training and Understanding Your Goldendoodle Dog”
Also available in Kindle