Huskies are a very athletic and energetic dog, so it’s easy to want to go and do a lot of things with them. When I first got my Husky, I did a lot of research about what I could and couldn’t do with my new companion. I also wondered if I could go swimming with my Husky. Here is what I learned.
Can Huskies swim? Siberian Huskies are not great swimmers. Where Huskies originated, swimming was generally not a practice. Husky owners find that the fear of water is a common problem for their dogs. That being said, you can teach a Husky to swim and to love the water.
Even though Huskies are not known for their swimming abilities, through practice and training training a Husky can become as good a swimmer as any other breed of dog. Just make sure you keep a watchful eye on them.
Huskies and Swimming
I’ve heard that Huskies are good swimmers, but in reality, most are not. There are a lot of different dog breeds out there that swimming comes naturally to, but this is not the case for the Siberian Husky.
Furthermore, some Huskies can pick up swimming better than others. Huskies generally paddle a little bit, but they aren’t swimming as much as just trying to stay afloat.
Huskies do like to splash around in pools of water. I recommend leaving a kiddie pool out in the yard for a Husky to splash in on hot days. However, they don’t usually do great in bodies of water much deeper than that.
Huskies are typically known as sled dogs, but they do really well everywhere. They are also very energetic and have a high endurance, making them excellent companions for those who like to go outdoors to the lake, or hiking. It seems kind of unusual that these amazingly-built, athletic dogs are not strong swimmers.
Adaptation has been kind to Huskies in a lot of ways, but not in the case of swimming. In fact, the region they come from plays a big role in why they are not known for their abilities to swim, like some other breeds are.
Why Huskies Aren’t the Best Swimmers
A big impact on why Huskies aren’t swimmers is the fact that they come from a frigid place where getting into a big body of water to swim was not a normal or “fun” thing.
Basically, Huskies never had the chance to learn how to swim, and the traits that made dogs better at swimming were never passed down in the breeding process.
You know that Huskies are built for the coldest regions on earth. They were bred by the Chukchi people in northeastern Asia to pull sleds over long distances.
If these sled dogs ended up in the water, it was really bad news. The waters were freezing. Getting caught in the water almost always equaled death.
Even though this is really sad, it is true. They didn’t have to get in the water to learn how to sled, and their owners never taught them because the water was too dangerous, anyway.
Since these skills weren’t learned, and no adaptations were made or passed down, the Huskies that we know and love today are in the same boat.
The feeling of being in water is just not a natural sensation for these dogs.
Huskies and Their Fear of Water
Not being able to swim seems to have a negative effect on some Huskies. Many owners have found themselves facing a Husky who is afraid to get in the water. This could be anything: rivers, lakes, a kiddie pool, or even the bath (although some dogs don’t like bathtime for another reason).
Whether it’s the unfamiliar feeling that Huskies are afraid of, or a bad association with water itself, sort of depends on each individual pup.
To prevent this, you might not want to use the spray-bottle training method. For some Huskies, they automatically associate “water” with “bad dog”, not the “no barking” you intended.
You might also want to make sure that when it rains, your Husky is sheltered. Associating water with being cold or miserable is enough to make any dog not want to get in it. They definitely won’t want to splash and swim around in it.
If preventing a fear of the water is a little too late at this point with your particular pup, you can try some of these methods.
- Get in the water yourself – A lot of dogs respond better to things when they see their owner participating. Huskies, in particular, start to develop some of the traits of their owners. So, if your dog sees you comfortable in the water, he or she might start to lighten up.
- Start small and slow – You shouldn’t just throw your dog into the water, especially if he or she is already afraid of it. Start small with a child’s pool, or at the shallow part of a river. Get your Husky’s paw wet, and then pour some water on their back. If they start to panic, stop. Just start with the basics and slowly build from there.
- Start in warmer water – Huskies will not respond well to cold water right off the bat. Their fur keeps them warm, but a wet coat will not. So start with some water that is more bearable.
Some methods will work better with certain dogs than with others. Think of your Husky as an individual.
After you acquaint your Husky with water and they become more comfortable, you can teach them to swim. Or use some of these techniques to help them swim better than they already can.
Teaching Your Husky To Swim
This is not an easy task, but it is doable. It is easier if your Husky is not afraid of water already so he or she does not have one more thing to overcome.
When you are training your Husky to swim, you should have a doggy life-vest. This is a great way for them to become comfortable with the swimming motions while remaining safe.
Here are a couple of really great options that are not too pricey:
You will also want to start with warmer water, as I mentioned above, for Huskies who are not comfortable with water in general. This will make it more bearable for them and help them enjoy the sensation more.
Similar to the methods for getting a dog more comfortable to water, the first thing that you will want to do is to get them comfortable with the water they will be swimming in.
Get them comfortable with the water they will be swimming in.
Start in the shallow end of the pool. Make sure you are not forcing them because you don’t want to create bad memories or connotations connected to water. Get deeper into the water very gradually.
As your pup begins to splash, support some of his or her weight. Keep a hand on the life-jacket. The goal here is that your Husky learns to use all four limbs to swim. Using all four legs will help with endurance. You don’t want your Husky to get tired too fast, and sometimes they only doggy-paddle with their front end. Help them adjust.
What to Keep in Mind:
While you are teaching your Husky to swim, there are some things that you, as the trainer, need to know.
- Huskies tend to get cold in the water – Try not to go swimming on cold days, especially at the beginning of the training process.
- It’s a process – Just like if you were teaching a human child, you must have patience. They won’t be perfect the first time.
- Don’t stay out for too long – Huskies get tired just like us. Too much time in the sun or too much time in the water could lead to exhaustion.
- Rinse them- If you go to a chlorinated pool to swim, make sure you rinse them. The same goes for dirty lake water.
- Watch them- Lastly, and most importantly, don’t let your Husky swim off unsupervised – Huskies are known to wander and if they are not good swimmers they might be put in danger. Pay special attention when they are in moving water.
Through some patience and hard work, there is no reason that your Husky can’t learn how to swim. Check out this Husky, a lover of water and a pretty darn good swimmer!
Are Huskies afraid of water? Some Huskies have a natural aversion to water. Having adapted to a cold and icy place, they were not well acquainted to swimming in water. Bad experiences can also contribute to Huskies being afraid of water. Not all Huskies are afraid of water.
Can Huskies swim in chlorinated pools? Dogs can swim in chlorinated pools. They can accidentally drink some of the water and get water in their eyes. Make sure you rinse off your dog and that your Husky does not drink the water. Knowing how to swim more important that the type of water.