If your someone that loves your Akita but you also love the water then there may be nothing more awesome than having your Akita like to swim. It’s important to know that there are many facets to whether a dog likes to swim or not. With a few exceptions, most of it has to do with a dog’s personality and past experiences with water. Be confident to know though that most all dogs with patience and love can learn to like the water, this includes Akitas.
Whether an Akita likes to swim will depend on their personality, training, and what kinds of experiences they’ve had in the water. They certainly have the physical capabilities to swim so the only thing that might hold them back will be their mind. With patience and love along with the right tips, almost any Akita can be taught to like swimming. However, old dogs, puppies, and those with medical problems should not be swimming for their safety.
With their strong physical capabilities and courageous nature, an Akita can be taught more easily how to swim than many other dogs. The only thing that might hold them back is if they have had any negative experiences with water. Any trauma can be very hard to overcome which is why it’s so important that they have many happy experiences when they’re young.
It should be noted that Akitas that are puppies should not be taught how to swim yet. It would probably be good to engage them in some fun playful activities involving water but swimming at that stage of development is too dangerous. Dogs’ limbs are not as long as ours which makes swimming more physically demanding for them. So wait until your puppy grows in strength and size before you start trying to get them to swim.
Also, an old Akita probably shouldn’t be taught how to swim at that age. While different breeds and individual dogs will age at different paces depending upon their health. So to a certain extent, old age is very subjective in canines and I will leave it to your discretion to determine if your dog is old or not. I would say that generally though dogs start to slow down and lose muscle mass around the age of 8. If your dog is that age or older then it will be more difficult for their bodies to stand up to the demands of swimming.
The heavy fur of an Akita is another factor to think about. Generally, dogs that are most known for their aquatic abilities usually have shorter hair. The reasons for this are the reason that Olympic swimmers often shave their body hair. Thick fur creates drag when moving through water. In addition, the water will weight the fur down more which could cause the dog to feel like their sinking.
This alone won’t stop your Akita from swimming but it could cause them to panic, in which case that panic could interfere with their ability to swim. The fact is when we’re trying to teach a dog to like to swim we are mainly dealing with psychological barriers and not physical ones with the exception of the very old and young of course.
Why Should You Teach Your Akita How To Swim?
The reason that most obviously comes to mind for dog and water lovers is that its fun! While it is indeed fun to play in the water with your best canine friend. There are actually practical safety reasons to teach your Akita how to swim.
If you already have a swimming pool in your backyard that your Akita has access to then knowing how to swim can be of vital importance. It’s not hard at all to hear stories about dogs that drowned in their own master’s pool. This was often either because they didn’t know how to swim or they couldn’t get out of the water.
So if you are going to have both an Akita and a pool it behooves you to make sure that they know how to swim and get out of the pool. If this is impossible for some reason then you must ensure that your dog can never gain access to the pool. Your fluffy friend’s life could depend upon it.
In addition, simply blocking off access to your pool may not be enough. There are bodies of water everywhere from dog parks to the local path that you like to walk your dog along. At any moment your dog might just leap into the water when your not looking. Perhaps they saw a critter or it was a really hot day and they wanted to cool off. Either way, just knowing that your dog can swim if they have to can make life a lot easier.
How To Teach Your Akita How To Swim
Before you get started with teaching your Akita how to swim. You need to find the best location for your dog’s swimming possible. The criteria you want to grade the location by is how calm are the waters and is it an environment where you feel a high level of control. Probably the best location would be a swimming pool owned by you or a willing friend. Barring that look for a place without turbulent waves or currents and that’s fairly shallow.
If you choose a spot out in nature lookout for snakes and alligators as well. In addition to your location, you are going to have to prepare yourself to be very patient. If you try to rush your dog then it could cause a traumatizing experience which could make your Akita scared of water. This is not at all what we want to do. Keep in mind that due to their short limbs relative to humans that swimming can take a lot out of an Akita. So keep the sessions short and stop at the first sign of exhaustion from your dog.
Here are a few basic steps to guide you and your dog along your swimming path.
- Once you’ve figured out a good location where the water is nice and calm. Then head-on into the water yourself, then invite your dog in. At this stage of the training, all we want to do is to get our dog to be comfortable standing in the water with us. You should spend a long time at this stage and repeat it over many sessions. Once it seems that your dog is eager to advance only then should to move to the next step.
- When your Akita likes just standing in the water and begins to venture forth to deeper parts. Then you need to be right beside them every stroke along the way. Place your hand or hands gently under the dog’s stomach lifting them up slightly in the water. The comforting touch of your hand will make them feel more at ease and put you in an excellent position to help them if they experience any difficulties.
- Try to avoid interfering with their swimming strokes, this forms the real challenge of this stage in the training.
- repeat this many times and with a bit of patience and love your Akita will grow to like to swim in no time.
- If teaching your Akita how to swim makes you to nervous but you still want them to learn. Then there are often doggie swimming courses taught at local dog clubs that you can try attending.
What Are The Best Places To Take Your Akita To Swim?
- There can often be found small ponds at your local dog park. They are often shallow and absent of waves. These can make excellent locations for teaching your dog to like the water. Best for the first step but the water may not be deep enough for your Akita to actually swim.
- A beach with calm waves can be great when your dog is feeling more confident in the waters. There is more danger here so you might want to give your dog their own life jacket. In addition, watch out for the tide and rip currents.
- The ideal location to teach your Akita how to swim at all stages of the training is a swimming pool. Most public swimming pools probably won’t allow dogs. So you going to need to use your own pool or that of a willing friend or neighbor. Here you can easily control the environment and the water is easy to exit in case of emergency.
Give Your Akita A Lifejacket
It might seem a little funny putting a life jacket on a dog but hey people put their dogs in sweaters so why not something that could save their life. The truth is that it’s never been easier than right now to find life jackets made specifically for dogs. This will make teaching them how to swim much safer. Taking some of the pressure of their safety off your shoulders.
A life jacket won’t just keep your safe in the water but it can also actually help your Akita learn how to swim better. Many dogs when they first start to swim make the mistake of only using their front paws to paddle. Their hind legs are usually spent in grasping for the bottom of the water. This however makes their swimming extremely inefficient. For a dog to swim their best and most confident they need to use all fours in the water just like they do on land.
Wearing a life jacket can help them do this. By giving them more buoyancy it naturally raises their hindlegs where they can then begin to understand how to kick. Once your Akita sees for themselves the efficiency of using four legs to swim then they’ll likely never go back to the old way.
When you are looking for a good life jacket for your dog you should concentrate on two things. The most important is how well it fits. You don’t want it too tight nor for that matter too loose. It needs to be just right, a poorly fitted lifejacket will do little to preserve your friend’s life. In addition, you should look for one that has a handle. This can make life a lot easier especially when it comes time to take your dog out of the water.
What To Do After Your Akita Gets Out Of The Water?
A thick furry coat like an Akita has can hold a lot of water. If they aren’t dried off thoroughly then it’s not hard for them to develop a stinky mildewy smell. To avoid this make sure that you have a large beach towel quickly at hand. Once you’ve gotten your dog out of the water dry them as best as you can. This is a great time for brushing. With their coats already wet it can allow the brush to pass through more easily. Plus if your dog has been swimming in wild water then they could have bugs and debris stuck in their fur. Brushing will help remove this.
The truth is swimming may not be for all dogs. I do believe with enough patience most dogs can be taught how to swim. But you must let your dog set the pace on how quickly they learn. A bad experience in the water could lead your Akita to dislike it and maybe to hate swimming. So it cannot be overemphasized how important it is to let your Akita set the pace when learning.
Always make safety a priority and just focus on having fun with your Akita no matter whether they like to swim or not. In the long run, this will be what’s best for your relationship with your furry friend.