Cats are well known for hating water, but dogs are usually the exact opposite. Many dog breeds love swimming and playing in the water. Labrador retrievers are one prime example known for their love of water.
Some pet owners may even look for water dogs specifically, whether simply for fun or for hunting. If you’re looking at water dogs for your next canine companion, you may be wondering if labradoodles like the water.
Do Labradoodles Like Water?
Labradoodles are a combination of a Labrador retriever and a poodle. Both of these dog breeds were bred to be water dogs, so labradoodles generally enjoy being in the water. As a result, labradoodles like to swim as a whole, and the breed is designed to be a strong swimmer.
However, that doesn’t mean every labradoodle will enjoy being in the water. Not all dogs within the same breed will have the same personalities or interests. Despite being bred to be water dogs, even these dogs can dislike the water if not appropriately trained.
Early exposure to water is key to ensuring your labradoodle will enjoy swimming and other water activities. However, there are other ways you can increase those chances, too. These are discussed more in-depth below, along with helpful water safety information.
How To Increase the Chances Your Dog Will Love the Water
Even the notoriously water-loving Labrador retriever requires certain things early in their development to ensure it enjoys swimming. With the labradoodle and other dogs, there are a few ways you can increase the chances your dog will love the water.
Early exposure to water settings is crucial, since puppies are easier to train and acclimate to certain situations. When your labradoodle is a few months old, start by using a baby pool.
Fill the baby pool with very shallow water and let your pup play in it. You want to look for a baby pool with low sides your puppy can easily get in and out of. Don’t pressure them into the pool, but let them explore it as they’re comfortable.
Make It Easy
Thanks to their breeding, labradoodles usually swim well. However, very few dogs will naturally take to something if it’s too complicated, so make being in the water easy.
Besides a kiddie pool filled just a few inches with water, make sure there are easy ways for your puppy to access the water. For example, consider turning on a water hose and using a sprinkler. But remember to always leave easy access to a water-free area so your future duck dog has a place to go if it feels overwhelmed.
Make It Fun
Want to ensure your labradoodles swim as they grow bigger and stronger? Make it fun. Consider playing fetch by throwing a ball into shallow water and letting your dog swim to retrieve it. As your dog gets more comfortable swimming, you can throw the ball a little further out.
Your labradoodle will develop a strong bond with you, so having you nearby when it explores deeper water can help it feel safe. Additionally, staying close means you can ensure your dog’s safety in a water-related emergency. This is especially important when your pet is a puppy.
Make Water Training Part of Your Normal Routine
The best thing you can do is make water training part of your normal routine. If you have a pool or live on the water, you can do this every day you do training. If not, you can aim for weekly water training sessions.
Regular water training will be especially important if you plan to participate in water sports with your dog. Water sports may include special competitions, hunting or regularly taking your labradoodle out on a boat.
Water Safety Precautions for Your Labradoodle
Not following water safety precautions means your dog suffers. Even when your labradoodle is a strong swimmer, unexpected events can cause water-related disasters. Like children, your dog’s life is in your capable hands. Therefore, you should take every precaution to ensure its safety while in the water.
Use a Swimming Vest
Dog life vests are designed to keep them afloat even if they’re experiencing problems doing so independently. Although the design is slightly different, a dog owner will see these vests are similar to what you’d place on your child.
Swimming vests shouldn’t be worn only in the water but also when around it. For example, if your dog falls into the water, it’ll float to the surface. The same holds true if your dog jumps into the water without warning.
The dogwear swimming vest you choose should fit snugly but not too tight. Look for one with a neck cushion that helps keep your dog’s head above water. Miniature labradoodles will require a significantly smaller swimming vest than larger breeds, so keep this in mind. If possible, bring your dog with you when purchasing the vest to get the best possible fit.
Get in the Water With Your Puppy
When you first introduce your puppy to larger bodies of water, make sure you’re going in with them. Every great swimmer starts with a buddy swim in a large body of water. Even when your dog gets older and stronger, it’s a good idea to stay as close as possible to avoid disasters during your water fun.
Avoid Rough Waters
Even excellent swimmers shouldn’t be taken into rough waters. Strong currents can easily pull your dog under or further away from shore. Even the most capable water dog is in danger if you’re in an area with rip tides. A good rule of thumb is to never allow your dog to swim anywhere you wouldn’t be strong enough to swim in yourself.
Also, avoid dirty or contaminated water, because even healthy dogs can get sick if exposed to certain water-related parasites. Water that has debris or trash floating in it or that’s heavy with algae isn’t a good place to take your labradoodle swimming. When in doubt, choose to stay out.
Keep Them Healthy
Although they love to swim, Labradoodles have floppy ears prone to ear infections. You can stop ear infections by wiping the insides each time they’re done in the water. Buy dog ear wipes for on the go and liquid ear cleaners for when you get home. These will keep your dog’s ears infection-free.
Want To Learn More About Your Labradoodle?
Check out our online labradoodle guides to better understand your canine companion at every stage of its life. You can contact us today if you’re considering professional training for your labradoodle or looking for an already-trained puppy.