In this blog post, we will answer the question: Can Akita dogs swim? We will guide you and with just eight simple steps you can ensure that your dog likes the water and enjoys swimming along your side whenever.
Can Akita dogs swim?
Akita dogs can swim, in fact, they have the right body for it! The size of its head is proportional to the body. Their ears are rather small, triangular, and are held upright and slightly inclined forward. The nose is usually black in color, as are the eyes. Its legs are webbed, which allows it to swim without difficulty.
Let us now dwell on this well-held misconception that all dogs are born with the innate ability to swim. And no, not all dogs can swim and some will actually hate water!
However, it will be very common to see dogs swimming without having had any specific training beforehand and having the natural reflex of flapping their paws once in the water. This reflex will moreover be more like a survival reflex, quite simply so as not to sink.
But not all dogs will have this reflex and it is also very dangerous to push a dog in the water to “learn on its own” as I have seen many times! Some dogs, not knowing what to do and animated by a monster panic, could then let themselves go. And even without imagining such a fatal outcome as that of drowning, a dog forced to swim will be a dog that may later develop a fear, or even a phobia, of water.
Teaching an Akita to swim
Before offering you simple learning to swim with a few steps, here are some tips to apply throughout the learning:
- Don’t go too fast in learning, your dog has to associate water with something positive! Do not create in him a trauma or even a phobia resulting from an accumulation of bad experiences.
- Be sure of yourself! Your attitude will be decisive in this learning because if your dog feels a certain fear on your part, he will not be comfortable and will prefer to avoid the situation. Thus, you will become a real guide for your dog, a trusted referent that he will follow without thinking.
- Choose a quiet and safe place to start learning. Your dog should feel good and not be distracted or disturbed by various potentially anxiety-inducing stimuli.
- Just as the environment should be calm, so should the current. In short, do not opt for the first outing in rough seas.
- Pick a location where your dog can see the bottom through the water. It is, therefore, best to choose a river, for example, with a weak current and a fairly low water level.
- The ideal learning experience is to accompany another dog who loves water and that your dog will enjoy following. Remember that the dog learns by habituation, of course, but also by imitation. The presence of a friend who likes to swim will therefore be a plus in learning.
Finally, do not hesitate to get wet and accompany your dog on his first steps in the water: it will reassure him!
How to teach my dog to swim: the 8 steps
Now let’s move on to the concrete steps to gradually teach your dog to swim:
Step 1: Choose a place where your dog has “legs” and the water is clear so he can see the bottom.
Step 2: Do not tie up your dog, he may feel obligated and forced and therefore steer in a situation that he cannot escape.
Step 3: Get in the water and motivate your dog to come with you. If he’s playful, feel free to “taunt him” with his favorite toy or a stick for him to come and get it.
Step 4: Be rewarding and reassuring! Encourage even a small step in the water or (even better) in the water that your dog will take. Don’t hesitate to provide yourself with treats to warmly reward your pet.
Step 5: As soon as your dog has his paws in the water, do not try to go further in a place where he will not have a foot: prefer to reinforce this simple action of having his paws in the water by playing with him or giving him treats for example.
Sometimes these first 5 steps will need to be repeated regularly before you can move on to the next ones. Do not be too demanding with your dog and prefer to offer him short but repeated sessions of habituation to the water.
Step 6: It is then when your dog has had several very positive experiences with you in the water, that you can for example throw his toy further and further, encouraging him to swim to fetch it. Be careful, the distance of the throws must also be progressive: first 1 meter, then two, etc.
Step 7: When your dog has no legs, do not hesitate to support your dog by placing your hands under his belly to help and reassure him in his action.
Step 8: As soon as you observe your dog at ease in the water when he has no legs, you can then test to gradually withdraw your hands from under his belly so that he does not end up evolving on his own in the water.
These steps can take more or less time depending on the dog, their character, and especially their attraction (or not) to water at the base.
The most important thing here will be to work on familiarization with the water because for some dogs it will not be easy! And it is only if you implement the above steps and tips in a very gradual and positive way that the learning will be successful.
Benefits of swimming for your dog
Currently, many puppies are overweight or have hip dysplasia, for them many veterinarians recommend that they swim. In fact, swimming dogs have many benefits, not only for those with a specific condition, but it is recommended for all dogs.
Many dogs have a taste for water in their genetics, generally, they are dogs with long tails and hunters, such as the Labrador, Golden Retriever, or Irish Setter. On the other hand, dogs like the Pug or the Chihuahua are not so given to naturally play in the water, even so, with a little play they can enjoy a lot in the water.
Some of the benefits that swimming brings to furry animals are:
- Improves cardiovascular condition.
- Improves overall physical condition.
- For large breeds, it helps to increase muscle mass in the chest and legs.
- In small breeds – and especially flatbreads – it helps to develop the chest and regulate the heart rate. In many cases for these breeds, it is advisable to wear a vest to help them support their own weight.
- For dogs with overweight and hypothyroid problems or who cannot jump, it helps them burn fat without putting their joints at risk.
- For puppies that have just had surgery, it helps relieve joint or muscle pain.
- For shy dogs, it helps them socialize.
As you can see, swimming is a very good option for your pet, besides being fun it has many benefits.
Final words and important recommendations
Loving and educating your dog also means protecting him against the vagaries of life. This is why I strongly recommend that you take out dog health insurance as soon as possible. This will save you astronomical veterinary fees in the event of an accident or illness.
Swimming is also prescribed in the case of dogs, and animals in general, affected or having been affected by fractures, tendonitis, inflammation, etc. Swimming is a means of rehabilitation that has proven itself and works miracles!
In fact, it allows you to play sports like on dry land, but with more advantages and far fewer disadvantages:
- Relieve the joints without brutalizing the bones, tendons … by the impact of the legs on the ground.
- More intensive use of muscles and therefore faster bodybuilding.
- Do not damage the bearings on the asphalt, in the stones …
- Beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
- Perfect sport for older dogs.
- Hot water, finally lukewarm, relaxes the tissues: a case used in animal hydrotherapy.
Things to keep in mind:
- A life jacket for those who wish and as a precaution. Safety jacket for dogs.
- Be careful with hydrocution despite being less sensitive to it than we are: always wet everything before entering the water, especially during hot weather.
- Avoid stagnant water points.
- If the pool is chlorinated, it is better not to let it go, or if so, for a short time as the chlorine is dangerous for the dog. Salt can cause diarrhea and often vomit after ingestion.
- As a precaution, shower the dog on the way home to avoid irritation, especially if he has bathed in the sea, the ocean, the swimming pool …
Getting your dog used to water:
Confidence at the water’s edge, learn to swim through play … All the while remembering that some breeds of dogs are more predisposed than others to love the water and to swim. Plus, a dog who doesn’t like a shower can definitely like water!
You must choose a calm and reassuring place, especially avoiding water points with the current for swimming. Let it move through the water on its own and don’t rush it!
Please let us know if you have any comments on the content or recommendations when it comes to dog swimming!
FAQ on Can Akita dogs swim?
Do Akitas like swimming?
While Akitas can swim, they do not necessarily like swimming. This is not a breed that enjoys spending time in the pool or in the sea.
Are Akitas clean dogs?
Akitas are very clean dogs and are also easy to potty train. This is why they are always compared with cats!
Can small dogs swim?
Many small dogs can swim, but they get tired more easily and have a higher risk of drowning. This is why Chihuahuas are not famous for swimming, for example.
What breed of dog can not swim?
The following breeds of dogs can not swim very well: The Bulldog, Pug, Dachshund, Pekingese, Basset Hound, and Boxer. These dogs do not have the most ideal anatomy and may struggle with staying afloat.