Everyone who has had one knows that Great Pyrenees are amazing lovable dogs but do they like to swim? If your a person fond of going swimming at beaches or lakes then you’ve probably thought of bringing your Great Pyrenees with you from time to time. But of course, this brings up many questions about how safe it is, and will your Great Pyrenees actually like the swimming?
Great Pyrenees like all dogs can and do sometimes like to swim. How much they enjoy it though will have a lot to do with their first experiences being in the water. Due to their large fluffy coats, these dogs will have a somewhat harder time in the water, it’s easy for their coat to become waterlogged and increase their drag in the water. This is not an absolute limitation and with patience, all Great Pyrenees can be lead to like the water.
There are many factors and facets to the question of whether any individual dog will enjoy hanging out in the water. While all dogs have the physical capability to swim not all will actually learn how. Some breeds will struggle more than others. Small dogs in particular will have a tough time and probably shouldn’t ever be allowed to swim in any waters that have waves. Very fluffy dogs can have a hard time too.
While the Great Pyrenees is certainly far from being small they are very fluffy, however. This thick furry coat while serving them well in winter weather can cause issues when it comes to their aerodynamics in the water. Their long hairs will of course create drag slowing a Great Pyrenees’ swim speed. In addition, the added weight of their coat can make it harder for them to float naturally.
This can cause a strong sinking sensation in the dog which won’t stop them from swimming on their own but it can cause panic which is very bad when learning how to swim. The two things that will really determine how much your Great Pyrenees likes to swim depends upon your ability to teach them to use all four legs when swimming. As well as keeping them calm and allowing them to have a fun enough experience that they’re willing to try again.
Before I dive into more detail on the nuances of Great Pyrenees and swimming in the water. I should note several important cautions. You should never try to teach a young puppy how to swim. Often they simply don’t yet have the muscular development for it and so it’s likely to be a traumatizing if not dangerous experience.
In addition for old dogs, it may be too late for swimming. Dogs can get a lot more physically exhausted then humans by swimming and they aren’t as conscious of the limitations of their stamina. We also can’t forget the danger of having a muscle cramp in the water. So for these reasons I recommend not trying to teach your dog how to swim if they are over the age of 8. Though the truth is this age limit will vary based upon the relative health and youthfulness of the dog.
Why Should You Teach a Great Pyrenees How to Swim?
Being able to safely have fun with your dog in the water of your pool or along a nice beach can be very wonderful. But there are actually some more practical reasons why it might be a good idea to teach your dog how to swim.
For one if you have a swimming pool of your own that your Great Pyrenees has access to then them knowing how to swim could be life-saving. There have been so many sad sagas of dogs falling into the swimming pool and not knowing how to swim or not knowing how to get out. Needless to say, this led to the dog drowning unless they were quickly rescued by their family.
So if you have a swimming pool you need to make sure that your dog knows how to swim and perhaps most importantly how to get out of the pool. If for some reason you can’t teach your dogs these things then it behooves you to never allow them near the pool.
Of course, pools are not the only body of water that your dog might face. Many nice dog walks have small ponds around and with the thick fur of the Great Pyrenees they can get very hot. On a summer day, that pond could look so cool and appetizing that you might find your dog jumping in before you know what happened. So in case that happens, you can rest much more easily if your confident that your dog has some swimming ability.
How to Teach Your Great Pyrenees How to Swim
Now before you start teaching your dog how to swim there are a few things to square away in your head first. One your going to want to try to choose the place with the absolute calmest water for your swimming practice. Someplace where you have a high control of the environment. A swimming pool of some kind would be ideal, second to that a very shallow and calm pond. Make sure it isn’t a place know to have alligators and snakes, however.
The next thing is you want to make each practice session short and sweet. A Great Pyrenees isn’t going to have much swimming endurance, to begin with so as soon as you see your dog experience exhaustion it’s important to go ahead and stop there. Also, stop if your dog simply doesn’t want to swim anymore, don’t force them or you will turn being in the water into a negative thing for them.
Here is a step by step in order on one of the best ways I’ve found to teach a Great Pyrenees how to swim.
- Once you’ve chosen a location with nice shallow calm water then go ahead and get in yourself. Then invite your dog into the water with you, your going to want to be starting in a place where your dog can comfortably stand up in the water.
- It’s important to do just this first exercise a lot consistently. Maybe don’t even move forward into full-on swimming until you have at least several positive experiences of just standing in the water under your dog’s belt.
- When your Great Pyrenees is ready to move onto the next stage of swimming. Then go a little deeper and you want to stay very close to your dog but don’t get in the way of their swimming stroke. Try to hold your hand gently below their stomach to reassure them and help them learn how to embrace the float. Be ready to intervene at any moment, just in case your dog starts to panic and drown.
- Rinse and repeat many times and your Great Pyrenees should learn to like to swim in no time.
- If teaching your dog how to swim yourself makes you too nervous then there are many options for local doggie swimming courses that you can check out.
- The most important throughout this process is to be very patient and let your Great Pyrenees determine the pace at which they advance in their swimming skill.
Where Are Some Places You Can Take Your Great Pyrenees to Swim?
- Local dog parks will sometimes have small little ponds in the ground. This can be an excellent place to practice the early steps of swimming where your dog learns to just be at peace standing in water.
- The coasts of very calm beaches can also make a very good spot to practice swimming with your Great Pyrenees. Just make sure that the weather is excellent and the water calm.
- Local parks and campgrounds will often have parts of lakes where the brush has been cleared for easy swimming. If they allow it then this can also be a great place to practice swimming with your dog.
- Probably the best place to practice is either your own swimming pool or that of a friend. Here you can control the situation easily, there are no waves to worry about. Plus most home swimming pools are small enough that you can quickly get the dog out of the water in case of emergency.
Get Your Great Pyrenees a Life Jacket
There are some great life preservers available for dogs these days. Having a good lifejacket for your dog can make swimming a lot better and safer. Helping you to have peace of mind that as long as your in calm water your dog will not drown.
The key to getting a good life jacket for your Great Pyrenees is that you need to find one that fits them very well. In fact, proper fitting is the single most important thing when getting a doggie life jacket. Another thing you will want is one with a handle that makes it easier to pick your dog up out of the water. You know in case you’re in any awkward situations.
Besides giving your Great Pyrenees life-preserving buoyancy a life jacket can also help them to learn how to swim. The reason this is so is that many dogs when they learning how to swim will only use their two front paws. This makes it very hard for the dog to swim as nature gave them four paws for a reason. So often the real trick to teaching your dog how to swim is to get them to use all four legs.
A good life jacket can help with this by naturally causing your dog to float up. This will make your dog feel more secure so instead of their hind legs constantly grasping for the ground they’ll instead be more likely to use them for paddling. Then your Great Pyrenees will really know how to doggie paddle while swimming.
What Should You Do After Your Great Pyrenees Gets Out of the Water?
A wet dog can become a very stinky dog. This can be especially true for Great Pyrenees as with their thick coats can hold a lot of water and take a long time to dry out. So it’s best if you can speed up that process. Use a large beach towel and thoroughly dry them off, if you don’t your nose may come to regret it later. This is also a great time to take a good brush and comb out any debris that might have gotten stuck in their fur. It’s particularly important to do this if you have been swimming in a lake or the ocean. Theirs a lot of stuff that can easily get stuck in your dog’s coat.
Remember to take it easy and go very slowly with your Great Pyrenees swimming training. Make sure its fun and light-hearted. After all, fun is the whole reason to be swimming with your dog in the first place. Practice safety first and always take that as the highest priority when teaching your Great Pyrenees how to swim. It’s not a race after all. Do all that and make it fun and your Great Pyrenees should like to swim with you in no time.