Goldendoodles are very active dogs and love joining their owners on big hikes into the wilderness. But what if, on this hike, you come across a large body of water – could you take your four-legged Goldendoodle in for a dip?
The short answer is yes: Goldendoodles are natural swimmers, which makes them the perfect companion for those who enjoy cooling off or performing lengths in the lake.
However, the long answer is: only if you’ve introduced your Goldendoodle to the water before! Although inherent swimmers, taking that first dip could prove challenging for your Goldendoodle. Like all good athletes, Goldendoodles need sufficient training and experience to swim like an Olympian.
To help make an expert paddler out of your Goldendoodle, the team at BarksInThePark will explore all you need to know about taking your pup to the water for the first time.
Table of Contents
- 1 Are Goldendoodles Good Swimmers?
- 2 Do Goldendoodles Like to Swim?
- 3 The Importance of Swimming to Goldendoodles
- 4 The Best Age to Introduce Your Puppy to Water
- 5 Introducing Your Goldendoodle to Swimming: Step-by-Step
- 6 What to do After Swimming with a Goldendoodle
- 7 Safety Tips for Taking a Goldendoodle Swimming
- 8 Are Mini Goldendoodles Good Swimmers?
- 9 FAQs
- 10 Final Thoughts
Are Goldendoodles Good Swimmers?
Goldendoodles can generally swim and often master the sport in just a few steps. However, that doesn’t necessarily make all Goldendoodles good swimmers. There are factors that impact the swimming skills of your Goldendoodle.
While Goldendoodles can still swim in old age, you can expect their enthusiasm for the water to wane as they get older. You can’t expect a 10-year-old Goldendoodle to swim as much as a 2-year-old.
Like age, the physical condition of your Goldendoodle will impact its swimming inclination. Most dogs that are healthy and physically able are happy to spend some time in the water. On the other hand, if your dog is poorly it may be reluctant to step into the water.
You can’t force a Goldendoodle to swim if it doesn’t want to. A Goldendoodle swims as little or as much as its personality dictates. In other words, some Goldendoodles simply don’t want to swim! They may have a general reluctance to water, or simply prefer exercising on dry land.
First impressions of water count. If you take the time to teach your Goldendoodle to swim, they’re more likely to view it as an enjoyable activity. However, if they’ve had a scary experience in the water priorly, your Goldendoodle may not be interested in the water from that point onward.
Do Goldendoodles Like to Swim?
We’ve answered the question ‘can Goldendoodles swim?’, but do they actually like paddling through the lapping waves?
The answer is a resounding yes! If Goldendoodles could speak English, they’d definitely declare their love of the ocean.
Once properly trained, a Goldendoodle will race toward a body of water unprompted. The reason for this breed’s close connection lies in their genetics. Although cross-breeds are often a case of opposing characteristics, both Golden Retrievers and Poodles love swimming in lakes, pools, the sea – you name it!
This love of water in both Golden Retrievers and Poodles can be traced back centuries. The Golden Retriever, although now considered a purebred pup, was originally a crossbred between a Water Spaniel and various types of retrievers. Water Spaniels were bred specifically to assist in hunting game through various terrains, from bogs to lakes.
Poodles, on the other hand, were bred as water retrievers and spent most of their working life swimming. Through this, Poodles developed a water-resistant coat and webbed feet, which made them powerful swimmers.
Goldendoodles take a lot from their parent breeds, namely a connection with water, a waterproof double coat, and even webbed feet!
The Importance of Swimming to Goldendoodles
The attraction of a pool is the same for dogs as it is for us humans. Swimming is important for your Goldendoodle for the following reasons:
To cool down
Primarily, Goldendoodles like to swim to cool down in the summer heat. If you live in a particularly hot climate, having a backyard pool handy at all times could really help your canine fare the heat.
Goldendoodles come naturally with a thick double coat. Although it creates a cooling effect, some climates are simply too much for your Goldendoodle puppy. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a body of water nearby at all times that your Goldendoodle can dip in whenever they feel the heat.
Overheating could lead to sickness or, in worst cases, heat stroke, which could prove fatal for your Goldendoodle.
All dogs love to play with their owners and Goldendoodles are no exception. When your Goldendoodle catches you lapping it up in the pool, they’ll more than likely want to join in the fun.
To make the experience even more exciting for them, you could play fetch or other dog games in the pool.
Giving your dog plenty of swim opportunities helps diversify its exercise routine. An adult Goldendoodle needs around two hours of exercise per day. That’s a lot more than smaller dog breeds and requires you to dedicate a huge chunk of your day to your dog.
With a pool outside, you can let your dog swim freely as part of its daily exercise routine.
Like humans, swimming sessions offer pain relief to Goldendoodles who suffer from chronic joint, bone, or muscle pain. These ailments may limit the amount of physical exercise they can do, so much so that swimming may be their only option.
Not only does it allow them to continue to exercise, but it also helps alleviate pain, which makes them feel better afterward.
Mental and physical health
Swimming is an exciting experience. Having a break from your dog’s usual exercise routine can work wonders on their mental well-being. Freshwater swimming with their owner will feel like an adventure to them.
Plus, swimming works wonders for your pup’s physical health. Specifically, the doggy paddle strengthens their lungs and hearts. It also strengthens their leg muscles, without tiring them out – unlike a jog over the park or a hike.
If you are out on a hike, taking a break from walking for a short swimming session could help your dog stretch out its muscles. This way, you’ll be able to hike for longer.
The Best Age to Introduce Your Puppy to Water
Can Goldendoodles swim from a young age? Yes, in fact, it’s better to teach young dogs than older ones!
Goldendoodles should be at least three months old before they start their swimming lessons. This gives them a sufficient amount of time to get comfortable on dry land before partaking in any water sports.
However, your individual dog’s personality may determine when it can start swimming. Although they’re water-loving dogs, they may show an adverseness to swimming pools initially. This is normal for all dogs, whether they’re natural-born swimmers or not, and should be respected. If they clearly don’t want to go in the pool, don’t force them!
Slowly introduce the idea of swimming to your Goldendoodle puppy to test their eagerness.
Introducing Your Goldendoodle to Swimming: Step-by-Step
Just because they have an innate love for swimming does not mean you can take your Goldendoodle to the pool and expect it to swim lengths right away. Just like humans, Goldendoodles need swimming lessons first!
Step 1: The practice run
When your puppy is ready to try out water, be sure to let them practice in a small, contained pool. You should not take them to any open-water source, even if there’s no current. Three-month-old Goldendoodles don’t have the muscles to swim in anything other than completely stagnant water.
At three months old, your Goldendoodle will still be small. So, you could let them practice first either in the bathtub or in a small paddling pool – anywhere with shallow water. We wouldn’t recommend letting them swim in an inflatable kiddie pool, however, as your furry friend may scratch the plastic.
During their first few dips, hold them in the pool or tub and guide them around. Their early swims are just about getting their feet wet and used to the motions of swimming. Don’t assume your pup will be able to doggy paddle right away!
It’s important to keep these early swimming sessions short and to only gradually increase their time in the pool. As a general rule, limit your pup’s first swimming session to 10 minutes, and increase their sessions by 5 minutes every month.
Step 2: Swimming on their own
Once your pup starts showing signs of swimming ability, it’s time to give them some independence. In a contained pool, let them swim on their own by either having them on a leash or strapped into a personal floatation device.
By doing this, your dog knows what it feels like to splash around on its own and will start to naturally unlock its swimming skills – inherited from its Golden Retriever and Poodle parents!
Most water dogs will start swimming with their front legs first. Although this is a good sign of progress, using only their front legs will tire them out quickly. For this reason, you should stay beside your puppy at all times and offer assistance whenever necessary. When giving them extra support, it’s best to hold them below the belly.
Step 3: The deep end of the pool
Gradually introduce them to the deep end of the pool, while keeping their life vest on and your arms in close reach.
This is an important stage of your dog’s swimming lessons as they’ll feel out of their depth for the first time. Naturally, your dog will start kicking its back legs.
Still, it’s important to give your pup plenty of breaks and assistance when required. In order to become very strong swimmers, Goldendoodles need lots of practice and lots of time outs to recover!
Step 4: Your Goldendoodle has mastered swimming!
Once they’ve mastered the deeper water and have started using all their legs, your dog is ready to go! Although Goldendoodles swim excellently on their own, we’d recommend always staying close by them when in the water. Plus, it’s a good idea to keep their life jacket safely fastened at all times!
What to do After Swimming with a Goldendoodle
Once your Goldendoodle is out of the water, there are some quick health checks you should carry out. You’ll also have to groom them after each swimming session.
Grooming Your Goldendoodle After Swimming
Whether they’ve taken a dip in freshwater or a quick paddle in a swimming pool, it’s important to groom your Goldendoodle post-swim in order to avoid matting.
Goldendoodles should be brushed at least once per week as standard, but you’ll need to increase this to once per swim if your Goldendoodle is an avid water dog.
Once your Goldendoodle has had its aqua fun for the day, we’d recommend giving your Goldendoodle a rinse down. You can do this either in the tub or with a light-spraying hose. This is to remove all the dirt and debris that will probably be stuck to your pup’s hair. It also removes the chlorine, which could set and make your dog’s hair extra stiff.
If your dog’s been paddling in the lake, make sure all dirt and sand is washed off before drying. You may need to shampoo and condition your dog if they’re particularly dirty after a swim.
It’s also worth checking their ears for any dirt build-up and using a dog ear-cleaning product as necessary.
Check their ears
While grooming them, it’s important that you check your Goldendoodle’s ears. Trapped water can cause ear infections, which are sometimes referred to as ‘swimmer’s ear’. If you notice any trapped water, we’d recommend using a dog ear cleaning product.
Avoid rinsing their ears with water, as this can actually worsen the debris build-up. Water can push the debris further down their ear canals, which increases the chances of your dog developing an ear infection.
You should consult your vet if you notice any ear canal discharge or swelling.
Make sure they drink
Swimming can be more dehydrating for dogs than running. It’s a full-body workout for them that leaves them thirsty. So, after swimming, it’s important that you encourage them to drink water.
Safety Tips for Taking a Goldendoodle Swimming
Although Goldendoodles love swimming in big open spaces, it’s important to keep an eye out for dangers that they may face out there. Swimming in unmonitored bodies of water can be dangerous for anyone, and dogs are no exception.
Here are some extra tips to keep in mind to keep your Goldendoodle safe:
Watch out for algae
It’s important to make sure that the surface of the water is free from algae. Algae is a type of bacteria that forms on top of the water and can be poisonous to dogs. It can form in both open bodies of water such as lakes and rivers, and can also form on top of swimming pools that aren’t properly cared for.
Although it’s easy for us humans to learn not to swallow water when swimming, it’s difficult to communicate this rule to dogs. Naturally, this means dogs will swallow a considerable amount of water when out swimming.
Swallowing algae, even a small amount, can make your Goldendoodle sick. So, we’d recommend checking the water before allowing your dog to swim in it. Algae form most prominently in late summer, so be particularly vigilant for it during this time.
If you suspect your Goldendoodle’s swallowed algae, consult pet medical advice.
Take plenty of water
Although it may be difficult to get your dog to stop drinking the water they’re swimming in, you can certainly encourage them not to. Swimming is a lot of work, so hydration is essential. We’d recommend taking plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink in between sessions in the water.
Being well hydrated, your pup may be less inclined to drink the water they’re swimming in!
Older Goldendoodles may take timeouts naturally, but younger ones don’t have this instinct. If you feel your puppy has been swimming for a long time or if they start to look tired, take them out for a break!
Define exit and entry points
It’s best if you go in the water with your dog, in order to demonstrate to them how you get in and out of the water. Dogs can lose spatial awareness when swimming, particularly in a body of water they are unfamiliar with. Try as best as you can to define where the entry and exit point is.
Get a life jacket with handles
A life vest is an essential piece of kit when letting your Goldendoodle swim at the beach or in a lake. Most Goldendoodles don’t even notice when their life vest is fastened, so it won’t interrupt their swimming. Try to get one with handles so that you can easily grab your dog out of the water if needed.
Are Mini Goldendoodles Good Swimmers?
All varieties of Goldendoodles swim excellently, including standard, Miniatures, Moyen, Toy, and Teacup Goldendoodles.
However, with smaller Goldendoodles, keep in mind that the water will be twice as deep for them. Plus, they won’t have as much energy as full-sized Goldendoodles, so they may not be able to swim for as long.
Are Goldendoodles natural swimmers?
Yes! Goldendoodles are great swimmers and largely love the water. This enjoyment for swimming comes from both their parent breeds, the Golden Retriever and the Poodle, who both enjoy the water.
At what age can a Goldendoodle swim?
Generally speaking, a Goldendoodle can be introduced to swimming at around 3 to 4 months old. However, this will ultimately depend on the pup’s personality, coupled with whether they want to enter the water of not.
Can Goldendoodles swim? Goldendoodles are natural-born swimmers and love nothing more than exercising in cool water on a hot summer’s day. These avid water lovers will follow you as you dip into a lake or run into lapping waves.
However, it’s important to provide sufficient training for your Goldendoodle before tackling any wild water. Pet owners should take their Goldendoodle into a contained pool to practice assisted swimming beforehand.
Once your Goldendoodle is showing proficiency in shallow water, move them onto the deeper end. After that, arrange a playdate with your Goldendoodle at the beach!