It is not a secret that some dogs are more likely to love water and swimming. When I bring my Cattle Dogs to the beach, they seem fine leaping through the waves, but they rarely go deep enough to dog paddle. So, I wanted to know, would my dogs like to swim?
Australian Cattle Dogs (ACD) are a breed that naturally loves the water and they love to swim. If you find a Cattle Dog that cannot swim, it is usually more of a confidence issue than a natural disability.
Regular physical exercise will keep ACDs active, and help them to stay out of trouble, and swimming is a great way to exercise. So, do all Australian Cattle Dogs like the water, and if not can they be taught to like swimming? Read on to learn more about ACDs natural interest in water and ways to introduce them to swimming.
Do Cattle Dogs Like the Water?
Similar to many other dogs, some ACDs love water and some will run off at the sight of water. Regardless of whether they love jumping into a pool or lake, ACDs typically don’t want it in the form of a bath. They prefer to run, swim and play in the water. Since they need to be physically active and mentally challenged, swimming helps ACDs to expend their energy productively.
However, it is essential to note that every Australian Cattle Dog is an individual, and they don’t all love water the same way. While some Cattle Dogs love water, some might be neutral about it, and a few may not love water.
If you happen to have an Australian Cattle Dog that doesn’t like water, it may be due to underlying confidence issues. Therefore, it is best to introduce your Heeler to water at an early age to help them get used to it.
You can still introduce adult Cattle Dogs to water gradually and watch their reaction. You might eventually get them to love water, especially if you use their favorite toys to guide them into the water. Another way is to slowly wade into the water with them to make them feel comfortable. Read on for more on how to introduce an ACD to water and help them enjoy swimming.
Are Cattle Dogs Natural Swimmers?
Cattle Dogs do not only love water, but they are also natural-born swimmers. An ACDs swimming ability is innate, hence, they are natural swimmers, like my brother’s boy Koda in this clip.
Some ACDs may not like water, but this does not mean that they are not natural swimmers. They most likely have not had the opportunity to explore their innate swimming ability.
An initial introduction to water will help you bring out their innate swimming behavior without stress. This step will help them realize their swimming ability and embrace it.
The fact that Australian Cattle Dogs are natural swimmers does not mean that they are extensive swimmers. Swimming makes them tired and burns energy quickly. It’s important not to compare ACD swimming endurance with other physical activities, like long-distance running.
How to Teach Cattle Dogs to Like the Water
What should you do if your Australian Cattle Dogs don’t like water? There are ways to teach your Cattle Dog to love water. It is all about introducing them to water and building their confidence.
For most Cattle Dogs, liking water is innate. Even if you don’t introduce them to water early enough, it’s never too late for you to teach your Cattle Dogs how to swim.
Start by introducing the water to your heeler, help them get used to it, and then build their confidence about it. When a dog’s paws don’t reach the bottom when they get into the water, instinct and fear of drowning will make them start paddling.
So it is essential to note that you have to take your time introducing your ACD to water. It must be gradual and steady if your ACD lacks prior exposure to water. It might be too drastic and yield poor results if you start by dropping your dog in the water.
Start with shallow water, and let your Cattle Dog get used to having the water all over its body. Some might love the water on the first contact, while others will require more attempts before they start liking it.
Help them stay calm in shallow water until they begin to enjoy their time. If you notice that your cattle dog is panicking, becoming overwhelmed, or becoming restless, you should give it a break. Take your ACD out of the water for a little rest time or playtime.
You can make swimming fun for your cattle dog. Consider tossing their favorite toy or ball in the water. Raise their enthusiasm about getting it out of the water. If you are using something like a kiddie pool or shallow natural body of water, you can get into the water yourself and ask them to follow you.
This teaching process sounds simple and fun, right?
Well, the process is not always as easy. Some cattle dogs might be reluctant to learn and run away each time you try to teach them. In this case, you need lots of patience and innovative strategies, depending on your dog’s behavior.
Another factor to consider throughout this process is the safety of your dog. Let us consider some water safety issues that might arise while teaching your Australian Cattle Dogs to like water.
Safety Issues to Consider When Teaching Cattle Dogs to Like Water
It is essential to identify the potential risks and safety concerns while teaching your ACD how to swim. Some safety issues to look out for include;
- Drowning: One of the risks in teaching your Cattle Dog to like water is drowning. Ensure that you pay attention to their reaction to water and know when to pull them out. A life jacket might be essential if you are teaching them how to swim.
- Swallowing Water: Swallowing water is similar to drowning. Ingesting too much water can lead to water intoxication in dogs.
- Water in Ear: If your Cattle Dog submerges, it may get water in its ear. This situation can lead to ear infections. If this happens, ensure that you dry out your dog’s ear. Tilt and shake the dog and clean its ear with a dry and clean cloth.
- Fatigue: Swimming is one of the activities that rapidly drain out energy from your dog. As stated earlier, ten to fifteen minutes of continuous swimming is equivalent to a forty to sixty-minute walk. Keep an eye on your dogs and know when they are tired and need a break.
- Chlorine: Chlorine in swimming pools can irritate a dog’s eyes, coat, and skin. Consequently, it is essential to always rinse off your dog with fresh water after swimming.
There are numerous physical traits interesting about Australian Cattle Dogs, and their swimming ability is undoubtedly one of them. Cattle Dogs are generally natural swimmers that will jump into the water and have fun. For the few Cattle Dogs exceptions that appear not to like water, you can teach them to enjoy water and swim. Bottom line is, that swimming is a great, physical activity for Cattle Dogs and their humans!