Dachshunds are playful and lively animals. If you own one, you probably already know that they are an energetic dog breed. Thanks to their lively personality, they tend to overheat rapidly, especially during the summer months.
Well, what do you do when your dog feels hot? The first instinct is to take it out for a swim. But can Dachshunds swim at all? Yes, they can, and they might even begin to love it if introduced to the water gently.
However, one thing you should know about Dachshunds is that they are not natural swimmers. So, if you straightaway take the dog out for a swim in a lake or swimming pool one day, there is a good chance that it will show some reluctance in getting into the water.
But why doesn’t swimming come naturally to Dachshunds? Is there anything you can do about it? How do you introduce your beloved doxie to the wonderfulness of cooling itself in the water? If you are looking for answers to these questions, read on to know more.
Why Are Dachshunds Not the Best Swimmers?
If you are a proud owner of a Dachshund and you find that it is not an avid swimmer when compared to, say, a Labrador retriever, there are good reasons for this. Let us dive deeper into some of the characteristics of Dachshunds that prevent them from being natural swimmers.
Although the short legs of a Dachshund are ideal for running around on land, these same legs become a hindrance when it comes to swimming.
These short legs do not have enough strength when your Dachshund has to make forward movements in the water. Dachshunds also have smaller thighs that make it doubly hard to find the stamina to keep pushing their bodies through the density of the water. It is due to these short legs that Dachshunds get tired quickly when going for a swim.
Along with the short legs, Dachshunds also have a distinct elongated body. This physical characteristic is a disadvantage when adventuring into the water. Its neck remains much lower and closer to the surface of the water, and it has to work extra hard to keep its head out of the water. Just imagine the strain! For this reason, Dachshunds do not feel like remaining in water for a long time.
Dachshunds get their name from century-old badger-hunting practices. Their hunting ability never included being in or around water, which is why in the previous century, no one thought of training a Dachshund to swim. Fast forward to this century, and Dachshunds still cannot swim unless they are taught. Related Post: Are Dachshunds Hunting Dogs?
How to Keep Your Dachshund Safe When Out for a Swim
All said and done, if you do teach your Dachshund to swim, it might very well enjoy it. However, given that its natural bodily proportions are against the very concept of swimming, you must take certain precautions when your favorite pet is out there in the water. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
Use a Dog Lifejacket
As mentioned above, Dachshunds will tire in no time while in the water. Now, it is not always possible to notice the precise moment at which your Dachshund starts to feel fatigued. This is why it is always advisable to make your Dachshund wear a lifejacket before getting into the water. In this way, even if it ceases to swim, and you are not somewhere near to immediately take it out of the water, it will safely float around the surface. That is what life jackets are for – saving lives. Use them well.
The best life jackets for Dachshunds are available on amazon. Check them out.
Avoid Rough Water Bodies
When going for a swim with your Dachshund, it is best to choose water bodies that are still, for example, lakes and ponds. If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, that works the best.
If you are craving a soothing dip in the ocean or a river, go for it yourself. Do your Dachshund a favor and leave it behind at home. For such small dogs with short legs, it is almost impossible to paddle through the high waves of the ocean and the swift current of the river. It is too dangerous for your doxie to swim against tides, and making them do so can cause accidents.
How to Teach a Dachshund to Swim
When trained in the right way, Dachshunds can not only swim but are most likely to enjoy the activity with you. But as they are not natural swimmers, you must take a step-by-step approach to teach your Dachshund to swim.
Here are a few general steps you can try, but do remember that every dog is different. So, if at any point you feel your training is not going according to the plan, stop and try another day.
Walk on Shallow Water
Remember when you first learned how to swim? It was within shallow waters, wasn’t it? The same rule applies to your Dachshund, too. But before you let it swim, try taking walks alongside a water body, maybe a small pool or a nearby shallow lake.
Then slowly, start taking walks inside the shallowest portion of the pool or lake, all the while making sure that your dog’s tiny feet can reach the ground below the water.
Watch the Dog Paddle
Once your dog is used to walking on shallow water, it is time to move on to the next level. Move to a slightly deeper part of the lake or pool, and check if your dog begins to paddle. If it is not ready, remove it from the water immediately and let it have enough time on land, where it feels comfortable, before trying again.
Join Your Dog
When your furry friend begins to enjoy paddling in the water, the best way to encourage it to continue doing so is to get into the water yourself. Watching you swim will help to eliminate any fear of water that it may still hold. After all, in the company of a friend, one can overcome any challenge.
Watch Over Your Dog
Never let your dog out of sight when it is swimming, even if it is an expert swimmer. It is because no matter how much your Dachshund comes to love swimming, the fact remains that swimming doesn’t come naturally to dachshunds.
It may sound horrible, but accidents can happen, and your dog can drown if not watched properly. You cannot be too careful when it comes to a Dachshund playing in the water. Related Post: Hiking and Camping with a Dachshund
Do Dachshunds like swimming?
Your Dachshund may not be a natural swimmer, but that does not mean that it cannot be your swimming buddy when you train it well. However, the reverse is also true. No matter how much you train a dog, there will always be some Dachshunds that will remain averse to swimming. Take note of your dog’s personality and change the training regimen accordingly.
Also, even when your Dachshund is ready to go for a swim, never overwork it while in the water. Play safe and use a life jacket, and always, always, watch for early signs of fatigue. Carefully planned swims with Dachshunds can be a fun activity that creates lasting memories for your lifetime. Related Post: Traveling with dogs