Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
Are Dalmatians water dogs? Considering these dogs love to be active and exercise most owners consider taking their Dal swimming at some point. This article has everything you need to know.
Most Dalmatians love the water and are naturally good swimmers. If your Dalmatian has had a bad previous experience with water then they will likely be apprehensive until reintroduced properly.
Why Some Dalmatians Like The Water (And Others Don’t)
Dalmatians can be considered one of the perfect all-around breeds. They have it all; they are loyal, naturally friendly, affectionate, intelligent, trainable, and are very active.
Does their history hold the answer?
Dalmatians were famously used in the United States throughout the mid-nineteenth century as support dogs who would run alongside horses and coaches across the country.
As they were such great mascots to the horses, they were utilized by the fire departments to run behind the fire trucks when attending fires. The dalmatians helped to keep the horses calm and provided all-around support.
But there’s no mention of water, the ocean, or swimming throughout the history of the breed. This is likely the reason why some Dalmatians just don’t like the water.
In fact, considering that dalmatians were never used as water dogs, it’s surprising that the vast majority of Dals are actually fond of it.
For those that do like swimming, it’s likely because Dalmatians are very physically capable and love physical exercise anyway.
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Encouraging Your Dalmatian To Enjoy The Water
If your family are very much “water-people” it’s no wonder you want your Dalmatian to love the water too.
But If your Dalmatian is currently apprehensive with water, you have to start slowly and be sure to not pressure him in any way.
In order for him to enjoy playing in the water, he must feel comfortable and safe.
Tips for introducing water and swimming positively
● Let him join in at his own pace. If you’re having a lot of fun splashing around in the paddling pool, your Dalmatian will not be able to resist forever. Let him join in when he’s ready.
● Don’t spray the hose on him. The hose can make or break a dog’s relationship with water. Taunting a dog with the hose who doesn’t obviously love it, will only create negative associations that will be hard to overcome. Avoid bad experiences!
● Get a paddling pool. The more your Dalmatian is exposed to water games, and water in general, the more likely he is to become familiar and interested. The quickest way to regularly do this is by investing in a high-quality dog paddling pool Top Recommendation
● Keep it fun, use his toys, and be generous with treats. It’s all about the experience, and the more positive you can make it, the more your Dalmatian will love it. After all, the whole point of swimming and using the paddling pool is to have fun, right?
● Be a part of the activity with him. There’s nothing more encouraging for your Dalmatian to get in the pool other than you being in it yourself. Dalmatians love to follow their leaders and if you’re in the pool, he’ll be compelled to join you. This will also act as a great bonding experience.
● Use your voice to constantly reassure him. Throughout swimming sessions or general playtime, you can use your voice to constantly reassure your Dalmatian that he’s safe, being a “good boy” and that this is all super fun. This will leave him excited for the next time.
Your Dalmatian Might Not Be Able To Swim Initially
Liking the water and swimming are two different things, and it’s really important not to assume your Dalmatian can swim if you’ve never seen him swim before. Some breeds like labradors don’t need to be taught how to swim, but other breeds do, and dalmatians certainly fall into this category.
Even if your dal loves playing with the hose or sprinklers in your back yard, take caution and keep him on the leash when you visit a beach or lake for the first time. It’s likely that his survival instinct will initially keep him from entering bodies of water, but it’s not always the case. Use the leash until you’re certain.
So is it possible to teach your Dalmatian to swim? Yes, it is and it’s a good idea to go through training, just so you know that your dalmatian can swim if he ever needs to. But it’s also important to note, you must approach swimming slowly and should never cause too much stress for your dalmatian if he really doesn’t like the water.
Is Swimming Good For Dalmatians?
This is a great question and it’s particularly important if you have a Dalmatian that already loves swimming. The answer is a simple yes! swimming is a great form of exercise for dogs.
Swimming is both mentally stimulating and physically tiring and the best part is that it has virtually zero impact on the joints and bones.
This isn’t to say that swimming is necessarily better than running or chasing their ball, but it does help to limit the constant impact that typical exercise usually involves.
Swimming can be particularly good for older dalmatians that are struggling with their joints, or if your furry friend is managing an injury.
Swimming does involve some level of risk and you should always be aware of that. Even for dalmatians that can already swim, it’s crucial to be watching your dog closely to spot any signs of struggle for moments where you may need to help. It’s also important to choose appropriate locations to swim. The ocean is ok, as long as the current isn’t strong and there are no waves. Fast-flowing rivers are (obviously) a bad idea.
This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag | www.thepuppymag.com
Teaching Your Dalmatian to Swim
If your dalmatian doesn’t like the water, or he can’t swim, you may want to start teaching him. The best place to start introducing the idea of swimming must happen in a controlled environment.
To keep your Dalmatian safe you must avoid using the beach, river, or lake. Use a swimming pool in your yard, or a specialized doggy swimming pool center.
Using a doggy lifejacket like this one is strongly recommended
Teaching your Dalmatian to swim in 4 steps:
After your Dalmatian has his lifejacket on, get in the pool yourself, starting at the shallowest point, and encourage your dal to get in the pool with you.
Do not force anything at this point, it’s extremely important to avoid creating a frightening or negative experience. Keep it fun, have toys present, and speak reassuringly to your Dalmatian.
Once your dal gets in the pool, it’s normal for there to be a lot of splashing. That’s fine and most dogs will be all over the place, to begin with.
Use one hand to support his chest or use the handle on the lifejacket to help him keep steadily afloat. Continue to verbally encourage and reassure him.
Take a second to look at his legs and ensure he’s moving all four. Sometimes dogs will move just the front two, but in order to be efficient and effective, all four legs must be paddling.
If his back legs are not moving, you can gently touch them, and this will likely trigger them to paddle.
Spend 5 minutes moving around before getting out of the pool again, reward him with a lot of praise and treats. Keep the lesson short and sweet. If he seems up for it, try another 5 minutes. But remember to stop after a second time.
Swimming Safety Precautions For Your Dalmatian
Knowing what to do is important, but knowing what not to do, is even more important. Take a look below at a few key things you shouldn’t be doing when swimming with your Dalmatian.
● Staying too long in the water. It’s really important that you keep swimming sessions short. Playing around a sprinkler is different, but swimming is very tiring and should be kept to only 5 minutes or less before getting him out of the pool to recover his energy and strength.
● Letting your Dalmatian get too cold. This goes hand in hand with staying too long in the water. It’s easy to suddenly get too cold in the water and even more so when getting out! So unless it’s a genuinely hot summer day or the temperature is above 20°C, swimming should be avoided.
● Leaving your Dalmatian unattended around bodies of water. Even if he’s a competent swimmer, you should always keep an eye on him whenever he’s around deep bodies of water. Accidents happen and he may for some reason need your help, even if he knows how to swim.
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Always consider how your Dalmatian feels around water. If he genuinely loves water as many do, then he may already be able to swim, or at least very eager to learn to swim.
But for some, they may not be so keen, and so it’s necessary for them to be carefully introduced to water at a slow pace.