If your someone who enjoys swimming and you also love Chow Chows then you’ve probably wondered if you can put the two together somehow. Swimming with your Chow Chow can be really wonderful but there are a lot of things you need to know about before you should jump into the water with your favorite dog. Like how old are they and whats their relative fitness level? Whether a Chow Chow can swim effectively or not depends upon these things.
Some Chow Chows like to swim while others may not or even be afraid of water. What’s certain is that they all have the capability to swim as long as their not hindered by old age, medical problems, or their little puppies. Chow Chows do sometimes have a harder time swimming than other dogs mainly due to their thick fluffy coats. They produce a lot of drag in the water and can sometimes make a Chow Chow feel like their sinking.
I do believe that any Chow Chow who isn’t physically ill or very old can learn how to swim. With their dual-layered coats and fairly short legs they may have a harder time getting traction in the water than a lot of the more athletic breeds. But the true barrier between a Chow Chow and liking the water is psychological. It’s all about how they were raised and what their first aquatic experiences were like.
One traumatic experience in the water could effectively end any Chow Chows swimming career right then and there. It’s important if you can to introduce them with fun experiences with the water from an early age. Any swimming training must be conducted with extreme patience and needs to be fun at all times. Us Chow Chow owners all understand that if our chows don’t want to do something then it simply will not be done. That’s why you have to use encouragement and make them think that swimming was their own idea.
It is important to know the risks beforehand and what kind of dogs should not undergo swimming. Dogs older than 8 years old should possibly be considered too old to learn how to swim. This is not a hard cut rule and depends greatly upon that’s dog health. Some dogs age faster than others so you really need to know your own dog well.
Young puppies also shouldn’t be taken swimming. Introducing to water is encouraged however but they should never be expected to actually swim yet. Their muscles are simply not developed enough to be able to handle the strain.
Of course, a dog with anything like hip dysplasia or some other malady should have their master ask their vet before undergoing any strenuous physical activity.
Why Should You Teach Your Chow Chow How to Swim?
Besides the myriad new horizons that can open up for the relationship by having a Chow Chow that can swim, there are also more practical considerations. If you have a pool that your dog has access to then keeping them safe needs to be the highest priority. It can be very easy for a dog to fall into the pool and either not know how to swim or even get out of the pool. Obviously, without someone to jump in and save them, this will lead to death.
Sadly this has already happened to so many dogs. To have pools and Chow Chows mix well its imperative that your dog must know how to swim. Also, you need to make sure they know how to get out of the pool when they want to. If for some reason you cannot do this then you must block your Chow Chow off from your pool.
Even if you don’t have a pool however your Chow Chow will still encounter countless bodies of water in their life. In fact, with how hot it can get for a Chow Chow in the summer, they might even dive into the water before you know what’s what. Theirs a lot of peace of mind that can come from confidently knowing that your Chow Chow can swim. That way they will be okay if they’re even in a body of water whether accidentally or on purpose. Plus it can make amazing exercise for both dogs and humans.
How to Teach Your Chow Chow How to Swim
It’s very important that you go into the undertaking of teaching your Chow Chow how to swim with the right attitude. Depending upon the personality of your dog it’s probably not going to happen super fast. In fact, we want it to be that way. One wrong turn or misstep could easily lead your Chow Chow to hate swimming and that’s not what we want.
So go slowly and have fun is my motto. Let your dog set the pace and don’t push them when they don’t want to do something. This becomes especially important for the very strong-willed and stubborn Chow Chow.
One of the first steps is figuring out the ideal location for your dog’s swimming lessons to begin. You want a place with calm water, fairly shallow, and somewhere where you feel a lot of control over the environment. Also, understand that swimming can be incredibly exhausting for a Chow Chow. So make the training sessions short and see that they end as soon as your dog seems the slightest bit tired. A dog swimming when their tired can be at risk of muscle cramps which can be very dangerous in the water.
Here is a quick guide on how you might want to procede with your lessons.
- At this first stage, we just want our dogs comfortable in the water. Go into a shallow part of the water where your dog can easily stand in. Invite them in cheerfully and just have fun with them standing in the water.
- Repeat that stage a lot. You don’t want to move too fast and scare your chow. Keep doing this until your dog is practically going deeper and deeper on their own.
- When your Chow Chow shows that they’re ready to go where they can’t touch the bottom. Then you want to make sure you are very close to them. You want to be close enough to rescue them if things go wrong but yet you don’t want to interfere with their swimming technique. Make your dog at ease by placing your hand underneath them and slightly raising them up. This will make it easier for them to float and they will be comforted by your presence.
- Keep doing this and slowly your dog will be swimming on their own with confidence. Just remember to always be present and watch out for any danger. End the session as soon as they get tired.
- If this seems too hair raising for you then there are also doggie swimming classes at some local clubs. This way you can train your dog to swim with an expert for guidance.
Where Are Some Places You Can Take Your Chow Chow to Swim
- Small ponds can often be found at local dog parks. These places not only can give your Chow Chow somewhere to swim but they can also meet a lot of fun friends there. These are often excellent for the first stage of the training.
- Beaches with calm waves. Make sure the weather is great and here both you and your dog can have fun both in and out of the water. These are great for when your dog has some swimming confidence.
- Sometimes state parks will tape off a section of a lake for public swimming. If they allow dogs then these can also be a good place for your dog to swim. Just watch out for snakes and alligators, as well as bugs. Brush your dog’s coat off afterward to remove any debris that might have gotten stuck there.
- The best location in my opinion is your very own swimming pool. Failing that you could make convince a friend or neighbor to allow you to borrow theirs. Here you can control the environment very well making it an ideal location for strong dog swimmers as well as beginners.
Get Your Chow Chow a Lifejacket
Getting your dog a lifejacket can achieve a lot. You get protection which will make you and you’re Chow Chow more confident in the water. Safety is very important when teaching a dog how to swim and nothing says safety like a life preserver. But believe it or not, it can also help your dog improve their swimming technique.
You see dogs swim best when their paddling with all four of their legs. Unfortunately, this often doesn’t come naturally to them. They have a tendency to only use their front legs, while they try to find the bottom with their rear ones. This can be a huge limitation on their ability to swim. When wearing a life jacket though then the extra buoyancy it provides often leads naturally to them bring their back legs into the action.
Now the most important thing when choosing a life jacket for your Chow Chow is to get one that fits correctly. If its too loose then your dog might slip out when they need it most. But obviously, if it’s too tight then they may hate it, which could lead to swimming being a painful experience. Try to also get one with a handle attached. This will make it easy to pull your dog out of the water if your caught in an awkward situation.
What Should You Do After Your Chow Chow Gets Out of the Water?
With their big fluffy coats, tangles can be a serious problem with these dogs. Add in some water and their coats can get stinky as well. So have a beach towel ready for when your dog’s swimming session is over. Dry them off completely. This time provides a great opportunity for a good brushing. If you brush their coat consistently then you will have fewer tangles to worry about later on.
Do Chow Chows Have Webbed Feet
The short answer to this question is that Chow Chows do not have webbed feet. But the truth is actually a bit more complicated. While a lot of retrieving breeds that were made for duck hunting often have fully webbed feet. Many other dogs can also have webbed feet. In fact theirs actually a little bit of webbing with all dogs, but only a few have it all the way up the toes. This can vary a lot not just between different breeds but also within the same breed.
For example, it’s entirely possible for one Chow Chow to have much longer webbing than another one. There isn’t a lot of breed conformity where this is concerned.
The most important thing with your Chow Chow to like them to swim is patience and love. A Chow will struggle harder to swim then other breeds but if you take it slow and gradually they should get there in the long run. Just make sure your doing it for their future safety and to build your relationship with your dog. There are no prizes for first to swim so take it easy and let you’re Chow set the pace.