Are you wondering if your Dachshund can swim? Maybe you’ve heard that some love the water and others hate the water, so what is it? This article covers everything about Dachshunds in the water. Let’s get into it.
Dachshunds can swim, but it usually takes a few practice lessons. With their short legs, dachshunds are not built for swimming which is why most find it difficult to begin with.
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Do Dachshunds Like The Water? The Simple Answer
Whether a dachshund likes the water, ultimately depends on how they are introduced to water.
Their initial experiences with water will determine how much they like it or are afraid of it. And this goes for any breed out there.
It’s certainly worth spending the time to introduce your Dachshund to water because if done correctly you’ll be able to teach them how to swim which is fantastic exercise, and stay still when you give them a bath!
Recommended: How To Prevent Your Dachshund Jumping Up
Why Dachshunds Aren’t Great Swimmers
Although Dachshunds can certainly learn to swim, they aren’t natural swimmers, and most are very hesitant of water, to begin with. Let’s run through two major things that hold them back.
Well, all breeds are made different and come in all shapes and sizes. The Dachshund, whether you’re talking about the standard or miniature size, are both small, have very short legs and a long back compared to their overall weight.
When a dog goes in the water, their natural response is to start kicking their legs and paws to keep afloat. For most breeds this is simple, but for Dachshunds with their very short legs, this task is considerably harder. Their physical make-up just isn’t well-suited towards swimming.
Secondly, and more importantly, Dachshunds were never used for water purposes. They were bred to hunt badgers and that’s what they’re good at. And this doesn’t require them to be good swimmers. So it’s just not in their history to swim.
If you take a look at any of the breeds that naturally love the water (Labradors, Retrievers, Spaniels) they all have an extensive history of being used in the water for working purposes.
Introducing Your Dachshund To The Water: Swimming Tips
This is going to be a really easy, stress-free, and safe way to teach your Dachshund to swim.
To be safe, you need to control the environment, so that means no rivers, lakes, or the ocean. All of which may have a flow, deep drop-off points, or unexpected variance.
Fortunately, Dachshunds are really small, so you can easily train him to swim from the comfort of your own home, in a paddling pool or even the bathtub.
The earlier you start training, the easier it will be, as Dachshunds can be a little stubborn once they’re adults. But this method will work nevertheless.
1. Getting Him Familiar With Water
The first step doesn’t involve getting in the water at all. It’s purely to familiarise him with water, what it is, what it sounds like, smells like, and looks like.
For this first step, it’s ok to expose him to rivers, lakes, and the ocean, just keep him on the leash. This will give him a chance to understand that big bodies of water exist. And that they’re nothing to be afraid of.
The more you can expose him to water without trying to make him get in it, the more comfortable he’ll become around it. Eventually, to the point where he doesn’t really care about it. And by this time, he may have even been curious enough to get his own paws wet.
So, the first step; expose him to water without making him get in it.
2. Getting His Paws Wet In The Shallow End!
If your Dachshund is no longer bothered when around water, it’s time to move on to step 2.
Now it’s time to move to your own backyard with a paddling pool. Here’s a great doggy pool.
Fill up the pool to about the height of his full legs, leaving his full body and head out of the water. He should be able to stand without needing to swim.
Get in the pool, and with his favorite toy, and encourage him to come in with you. If he looks excited and keen, pick him up and place him in the pool with you.
Keep talking to him in a reassuring voice, keep it fun, use his toys, and make it a game.
This stage is just about getting him used to being in the water. No swimming required.
3. Increase Depth So He Can Paddle But Still Make Contact
After he’s comfortable and happy to play around in the shallow water, it’s time to increase the depth.
Fill up the pool to where he will automatically start trying to paddle, but make it so his feet can still just about touch the floor.
This depth is ideal because he’ll be encouraged to start paddling for the first time, but he’ll be confident knowing that he can still actually touch the floor when necessary.
Again, you’ll want to be in the pool with your Dachshund, talking to him and ensuring he’s safe and happy.
Keep these sessions short. The first time he tries to paddle, not only will it be very tiring, but it can be an overwhelming experience. After 3-5 minutes of paddling around, scoop him out of the pool to let him calm down and rest.
If he’s still excited by the pool, go in again for another 5 minutes. Frequent exposure, little by little is the key.
4. It’s Time To Swim!
By now your Dachshund pretty much knows what swimming is, and what paddling does. But it’s necessary to increase the depth sufficiently so he can experience and learn to swim properly.
Many paddling pools will have a depth that’s taller than a Dachshund so this is ideal. You have complete control over the environment and there are no other distractions present.
Get in the pool first with some toys like before.
Encourage him to come, if he responds well to your encouragement, don’t let him jump, pick him up, and slowly lower him into the pool. You should see that all four legs start paddling before you let go. If the back legs aren’t paddling, gently touch them to trigger a response.
If your Dachshund went through all of the steps before now, he’ll be well on his way! That’s the whole point of taking baby steps.
Keep swimming sessions to only a few minutes each time. Swimming is very strenuous and you should always remove him from the water before he gets exhausted.
Tips on Dachshund Swimming
Before rushing to carry out this super simple training, take a look at the points below. Some are safety-related and others are general tips.
Consider Purchasing a Doggy Lifejacket ✔️
If you didn’t know they exist, you do now. Doggy lifejackets are great! And they make the whole process a lot safer.
The best part about doggy lifejackets (other than keeping your dog afloat) is that they have very helpful handles. A strong top handle makes it super easy to lift and support your Dachshund in and out of the pool. This is our favorite life jacket on Amazon.
Keep Sessions Short ✔️
Have you ever been swimming and after a few minutes you’re already tired? Well, now imagine what’s like for your Dachshund with his tiny legs! In all seriousness, it’s incredibly important to keep swimming sessions short. 3-5 minutes being the maximum.
The idea is to remove your Dachshund before he gets too tired. Getting exhausted is a safety hazard with big consequences, so keep sessions short.
Never Force Him ✔️
Taking a relaxed approach is the only approach. If your Dachshund is getting overly anxious and doesn’t want to join you in the pool, then don’t force him to. It’s much better to wait until he’s more comfortable being around water.
Pressuring him or creating a bad experience will only achieve the opposite of what you want. He’ll become more frightened of water than he was previously. Remember to take it slow 🙂
Not Too Cold, Not Too Hot ✔️
Keeping the temperature as neutral as possible is the goal. Using water that’s freezing cold, or even too hot will add to a bad experience and may put off your Dachshund from wanting to swim again. Test the water before you get in and ensure it’s neither too hot nor too cold.
Be Conscious Of Your Dachshund Getting Cold ✔️
It’s very easy for dogs to get cold when swimming. Not only do you have to think about water temperature, the time he’s in the water, but also the outside temperature when your Dachshund gets out of the pool.
Even if it’s a hot summer day, it’s good practice to pat him down with a clean dry towel. This will prevent any kind of breeze from making him too cold.
Teaching your Dachshund to swim is something that all owners should do. Not only for safety reasons, but it’s a great form of exercise too!
So can Dachshunds swim? Yes they can, but it’s not a natural ability that this breed has, so you’ll need to teach him how to swim.
Remember to go slow, control the environment and make it fun!