There are few dogs that are more active or physically capable than the Belgian Malinois, but do they like to swim? If you have a Belgian Malinois then you probably have a fairly active lifestyle. I mean, to be honest you kinda have to be able to keep up with these marvelous dogs. Running, biking and jumping are all things they like to do. If you’re into swimming then its only natural that you would want to share that with your Malinois.
Most Belgian Malinois like to swim, but not all. Whether a dog enjoys swimming won’t depend upon just the breed but also their personality and personal experiences with the water. Age and whether they suffer from a medical condition will also play a part. With the right training, nearly all healthy adult Belgian Malinois should become at ease in the water.
While Belgian Malinois, in general, can swim but what about your individual dog? Well, a lot will depend upon their personality. Obviously shier and more timid dogs may have a tough time learning to enjoy the water, while a more courageous dog might find it relatively easy. Their past life experiences probably play the biggest role though. If they’ve had a lot of exposure and fun with water then their much more likely to take to it like a duck when swimming.
Early positive exposure to water going all the way back to when their puppies is very important just as socialization is with everything. Playing cute little splashing games with your Belgian Malinois puppy could make it easier to teach them how to swim when they’re older.
In all of this, it’s important to note that there are certain kinds of dogs where swimming training is not recommended. That would be young puppies who lack the muscular development for swimming. Best to wait until their older. But it’s not just the very young but also the very old. It could be dangerous for an old Belgian Malinois to attempt to swim and it’s not recommended.
Of course, age can mean different things to different dogs. No two dogs age the same or at the same pace. So determining whether your dog is too old really relies on you. But I would say that you should think really hard about if your dog is 8 or older and doesn’t already know how to swim. It may simply be too late for them to have aquatic fun, but there are lots of other fun things you can do with an older dog besides swimming.
Small dogs will also have a very tough time due to their stubby legs. Fortunately, Belgian Malinois aren’t small so this doesn’t really apply to them. One good thing is that unlike more shaggy breeds that will sometimes be weighed down Belgian Malinois have the excellent middle ground in their coat that makes for good swimming.
Why Should You Teach Your Belgian Malinois How to Swim?
The fun quotient of this answer can not be underestimated. It is immensely fun to be able to spend time in the water swimming with your Belgian Malinois. But there is a potential life saving practical aspect to this question. Dogs are around bodies of water all the time. I mean there at dog parks most definitely normal parks have lakes and ponds. Not too mention beaches or swimming pools if you happen to own one.
Obviously your dog falling into or jumping into a body of water without the knowledge of swimming could potentially be fatal. If you own your own swimming pool then their knowledge of swimming becomes all the more important. I have heard too many sad stories of dogs drowning in swimming pools because they either couldn’t swim or didn’t know how to get out of the pool.
If you have a pool then it becomes a necessity to teach your dog how to use it properly or failing that ensure that they never have access to it. In all of this, I’m sure that you can easily see that teaching your Belgian Malinois how to swim could be a potentially life-saving skill. Of course, you need to teach them in the safest way possible which is what the next section will be about.
How to Teach Your Belgian Malinois How to Swim
When teaching your dog how to swim most of it comes down to location, location, location. Seriously choosing the right place for your swimming session will almost guarantee that the experience is more fun and safe. When looking for a good body of water to begin your dog’s training you want to look for a place that has calm waters. Any significant waves or current should immediately be disqualified. It’s also good if it’s fairly shallow.
In the beginning, you really want somewhere where your dog can touch the bottom or at least in parts of it. Being able to be relatively in control of the environment is important too this is why swimming pools make some of the best places to teach your Belgian Malinois how to swim.
The length of the session is important as well. Make them short and sweet. Dogs have shorter limbs which means that swimming exhausts them considerably faster than it would a human. This applies even to the normal inexhaustible Belgian Malinois. Muscle cramps can also happen and be dangerous. So commit yourself to stop the session at the first sign of your dog being tired, even if both of yall are having heaps of fun.
Don’t push your dog and let them learn at their own pace. Rushing things could cause a negative experience and make everything take longer or maybe even not at all.
Here are a few basic steps that you can follow along with your Belgian Malinois in beginning your swimming journey together.
- Once you’ve found a great place for the training to take place then lead the way into the water. This is only natural since your the pack leader. Invite your dog to follow. At this point, all we really want to do is get your Belgian Malinois comfortable just standing in the water. The water can be a little high but should be at a level where your dog can easily touch the ground.
- Repeat this experience until you feel that your dog is very comfortable. You ideally want them practically gunning to go further and it’s best if they choose the time.
- When your dog is ready to start to go deeper where they can’t touch. Then it’s important that you be close beside your dog at all times. One reason is so that you can quickly intervene if they panic or have a problem. The other is that you want to place either one or both hands, whichever seems best for the situation, under their stomach. Lightly lift them up in the water helping them to float. They will feel more at ease with your touch as well as better supported in the water.
- You could consider that to be the training wheels stage. Once again repeat this many times until your dog feels totally at peace with this.
- At this point, your dog should begin to swim fully on their own but you should still stay close by just in case anything goes wrong.
- If you want your Belgian Malinois to learn how to swim but you personally don’t feel up to the task. Then be aware that there are many dog clubs that actually offer doggie swim training classes that you and your dog could attend.
Where Are the Blest Places to Go Swimming With Your Belgian Malinois At
- Most dog parks will have a small pond within the area. This could be a very good place to get your dog comfortable standing in water if a swimming pool isn’t available to you
- Beaches with calm waves can be fun too. There are few things better in life than hanging out with your best furry friend soaking in the rays. Just make sure both of you are hydrated. This should probably be held off until your dog has a certain confidence in swimming.
- State campgrounds will sometimes have parts of lakes where people can freely swim. If the park allows dogs to swim then this could be a good choice. Just be on the lookout for any snakes.
- For me, the best place would be your very own swimming pool. Or that of a friend or neighbor. Here you have complete control of the environment and it will be easier to get your dog out of the water when its time for the session to end.
Give Your Dog a Life Jacket
While it wasn’t always so in the past it’s actually quite easy to find a life preserver that has been specifically made to fit a dog. These wonderful vests won’t just help keep your dog safe but can actually help them to master their swimming technique as well.
You see dogs in order to reach their full potential in the water need to be paddle with all four of their legs just like on land. But many dogs will actually only paddle with their front legs while their back flippers are trying to reach for the bottom. By giving them a bit of extra float the life jacket can bring them into a more horizontal position. Once there then it’s an easy thing for them to realize that hey I can use my back legs to paddle as well.
When choosing a life jacket for your dog then it’s all about getting the right fit. A Life jacket that doesn’t fit properly isn’t going to work as intended. This stands for both those made for dogs and humans. It mustn’t be too loose or tight. Otherwise, it might slip off or leave your dog very uncomfortable. Which could lead to your Belgian Malinois to dislike swimming. Besides getting the right fit its also good to get one with a handle. Trust me it will prove useful for all kinds of situations if you’re of an adventurous spirit.
What Do You Do After You Get Your Belgian Malinois Out of the Water.
Wet dogs can easily equal a stinky dog if you’re not careful. A large handy beach towel is a must whenever swimming with dogs. Dry them off super thoroughly once they’re out of the water or you will regret. It’s also a great time to brush out that scraggly coat and getting it into pristine condition. Brushing could even be a necessity if your dog got into any bugs or brambles when swimming. You don’t want any cockleburrs sticking to your dogs coat after all.
Do Belgian Malinois Have Webbed Feet?
The truth is that all dogs have at least a little bit of webbing between their toes. In fact, there can be a lot of variabilities here even when both dogs are of the same breed. Sure there are dogs that are especially renowned for their webbed feet, but these are usually very aquatic-focused breeds of which Belgian Malinois is not a member of.
Yet still some dogs like Belgian Malinois can have significant webbing all the way close to the top of their toes. It just really seems to depend on the genetics of the individual dog with limited conformity within breeds.
Ultimately as long as they’re fit and healthy any Belgian Malinois should be able to like to swim. But remember that you have to be patient and make everything as fun as possible at all times. Let your dog set the pace on their learning and always practice safety first. Your dog’s life and happiness should be a higher priority than them learning a new skill. But if you teach them with love, patience, and diligence then you and your Belgian Malinois should be enjoying a swim in the water in no time flat.