Rottweilers are very large dogs, and some may wonder, how could a dog this big be able to enjoy itself while swimming? This post will dive a little deeper into Rottweilers and swimming; how the two correlate, and how they don’t.
Rottweilers can swim and many enjoy the water. However, because of their build, they are not the best at swimming. With a little practice, it is possible that Rottweilers can learn how to swim, but not all dogs Rottie’s will enjoy swimming so take it easy at first and make the process fun.
Even though Rottweilers are not naturally water dogs, they can learn how to swim with patience from their owner and practice in the water. There are different ways to teach your Rott how to swim, each of which can help your pup to join you in the water on those hot summer days.
Rottweilers and Swimming
Many Rottweilers can and do swim, however, it is uncommon among their breed to find a large number of swimmers.
Rotts are heavier set, muscular, and just really not well built for swimming. Rottweilers were bred to be working guard dogs. Water was not apart of this equation, so it isn’t something that comes naturally to them.
However, even though they are not built to be swimmers, many of them do enjoy the water, and since they are very athletic dogs, they enjoy moving around. They have high amounts of energy so swimming helps them get that out.
For this breed to have as much fun as others do in the water, additional attention, training, and encouragement are required.
Supplies You Will Need to Teach Your Rottweiler How to Swim
Rottweilers are very obedient dogs. Because of this, training them is easier than training other breeds of dogs.
It is important that you do train these dogs when introducing them to swimming because if they have negative experiences while learning, it could push them away from water forever.
Having the right tools and supplies can be extremely helpful to have when teaching your Rottweiler to swim.
First, having a life vest will be beneficial for your Rott when starting out. This is safety precaution for them and vests can help them to get used to going through the motions of swimming without having to support themselves yet.
Dog life vests are fairly inexpensive. A good place to get them would be on Amazon. They have a wide variety of sizes. Make sure when picking one out you look at the size chart to make sure the jacket will fit your big Rott. Typically for Rottweilers, you will want a size L or XL.
This jacket on Amazon works well and fits comfortably for many dogs. Another good place to find jackets is on chewy.com, they again have fairly cheap jackets that are made to fit all shapes and sizes of dogs.
Dog treats are another important thing to have for your Rott as a reward when he or she makes a big step in learning how to swim. The tricky thing that comes with that is you want to make sure that the treats aren’t going to absorb all of the water and turn gross.
A couple of suggestions for preventing that problem are first, look for treats that aren’t affected as badly by water, and trying using those while you are out at your pup’s swimming lesson.
You could also hold the treat in your hand and have your Rott swim to you to get the treat out of your hand.
If you would rather use a toy as a reward instead of a treat, you could use a plastic or rubber toy as a point your Rott needs to swim too.
If you wanted to be extra creative, you could get a toy that you can put a treat inside of, then when they swim to it, they can bring you the toy and you can open it and reveal the treat to them.
It is also important that you have access to a body of water, whether that be a swimming pool in your backyard or a nearby lake, they aren’t going to learn unless they have somewhere to practice.
Teaching your Rottweiler to Swim
Rottweilers are very big dogs and because of this, they are very talented. They are able to do a lot of different things physically. However there large body makes swimming a more difficult task, but there are ways to teach them how to swim.
There are a couple of different methods that have been found to be effective in the past when helping Rotts learn how to swim.
The first method is done by taking them directly to a body of water but finding a calm shallow spot.
After putting a life vest on them to start, slowly introduce them to the water. Being in the water yourself encouraging them will be helpful in helping them feel safe in the water.
Move slowly out into the water and encourage them to follow you as you walk further away. Don’t move too quickly. Make sure they always know they can trust you. (In some ways it is just like helping your child learn how to swim.)
As you get deeper in the water, help them to swim and show them what it can help them do. For example, as they move their legs it will move them around in the water, or moving their paws beneath the water will help them to float.
Another way to help your Rottweiler learn how to swim is to start them off in your backyard with a kiddie pool, just getting used to the water.
If you start by putting sitting out there and putting treats in the water, suggesting they get in the water to get it, it will help them know the water is good, fun, and safe.
After they do this once, keep putting treats in there until getting in the water isn’t hard anymore. Once it becomes second nature to get in the water, you will know they feel comfortable with the water.
Once they have mastered the kiddie pool, you can move to a larger body of water. Start off the same way, by putting treats in the water to help them adjust to a new location.
Again start in shallow water, and slowly move towards deeper water, encouraging them as they come along.
Another awesome tool you can use to help your Rott learn to swim is another dog. If they have a friend they like to play with, bring that dog along. You can do either one of the methods listed above with another dog there to encourage them.
Playing with their friend can help to distract them from the water, and before they know it, they will be happily playing and swimming around in the water.
What to Remember:
Some basic principles to remember when using any of these methods include:
- Introduce them to the water slowly.
- Don’t rush– if they panic while in the water, they may develop a permanent fear of water.
- Start with a life vest if necessary.
- Train them to swim just as you would train them to perform any other task– they are obedient dogs, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Tips for swimming with your Rottweiler
- Don’t force your pup to swim if they don’t want to. If they feel rushed or pressured into it, it might end badly and discourage them from ever having a desire to swim again. It is best to go at their pace and be patient with them so they can have a good experience with water and swimming.
- Participate with them. It is likely that if you have developed a good relationship with your dog, they trust you, and will follow you. If they see they you are in the water and it isn’t an evil place that is going to bring them harm, they will be more willing to try it out.
- Be sure to bathe them thoroughly after you swim. After you have enjoyed swimming with your pup it is important to use soap and shampoo to bathe them. Even though they may seem clean, the water that they are swimming in will likely either have chlorine or will be in a location where the water may be contaminated. Maybe it is just plain dirty. This tip can keep your dog clean, and keep any bugs, dirt, or garbage out of their fur.