Facts & Tips

Can Bully Breed Dogs Swim?

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unnamed (2)It is so hot out! the suns beating down, you're laying on your float relaxing in the pool and your American bully is circling the pool panting and crying. Maybe taking him in for a dip will hit the spot just like it did for you?  But wait, can bully breed dogs swim? Well, despite  a popular swimming stroke being named after our furry friend " the doggy paddle", not all dogs can swim.

Certain breeds are likely to be natural swimmers.  There are 15 breeds which are known for getting their paws wet! If you are looking to pick a breed to share water time with you will want to take a look at the following: Newfoundland, Cocker Spaniel, Vizsla, Weimaraners, Schipperke, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Spanish Water Dog, Portuguese Water Dog, Irish Water Dog, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Standard Poodle and Irish or English Setter breeds tend to fall into the Naturals category. Breeds such as the English Bulldog, Corgi and Pug are more likely to have difficulty when it comes to water.

Not every dog can swim. But many breeds can learn to swim and enjoy being in the water. Every dog is different just like people but through a safe introduction to the water it is possible to make a swimmer out of your dog!

We are going to introduce your American Bully to the pool or beach by swimming lessons!

Pick a time to introduce them to the water that lacks chaos and loud noises. Do not decide to teach your dog how to swim while there is a BBQ going on and 10 kids in the pool screaming and  throwing toys.  It is  going to be too difficult for them to focus on their lesson while there is so much other distracting stuff going on.

Know  your swimming spot. If you are using a pool, make sure there is an easy entry/exit point. If you are using a natural body of water, avoid a river, the moving water will add stress and unknowns to your lesson. If you are using a lake or pond make sure there are no plants that can tangle your dogs legs up.

Panic or fear of water will set you up to fail. A lot of people think that  simply throwing the dog into the pool will set his natural instinct to swim in motion, instead all you are going to accomplish is a fear and panic associated with the water . Your dog may paddle frantically  and actually "swim" to a exit but he will not associate the water with a good experience and will most likely avoid  the water at all cost after this incident. It will leave a long lasting fear.

Have treats, pats and hugs on hand. Positive reinforcement for being a good boy will go miles, just as in potty training or leash training. Your dog likes to know he did something that makes you proud.

If you have shallow water the best way to get your dog into the water is on his own. Throw in a ball or his favorite toy and let him run in to get it. Once your dog is  comfortable in the water on their feet you can introduce them to deeper water to begin to learn how to swim. If you are using a pool and this is not an option you can go onto the next part which is picking your dog up and carrying them into deeper water.

The proper way to introduce your dog to the water is to support their weight in the water let them learn to  paddle or move their legs in the water free of supporting their own weight.  This can be accomplished by supporting them under their torso; specifically supporting their midsection and hindquarters. It is important your dog learns to move all 4 legs just as he does when he runs. Moving only the fronts will turn the back legs into anchors and will drag your dog underwater. You want to make sure you keep both hands on your dog until their stroke is steady and in good form. You want to see your dog is confident in their stroke as well.

Make sure your dog knows where the exit is. Repetition of the exit will ease your dogs mind in knowing there is a safe and easy way to get out of the water once they are tired or had enough.  You will need to continually point them in the  correct direction before it sinks into memory.

Over exertion can be a serious problem in the water. Keep your  swimming lessons to a 10-15 minute maximum and give your dog  ample breaks in between.  Once your dog is tired he will simply give up in the water and this can lead to drowning. Dogs who easily become tired on land will also easily become tired in the water.

Never leave your dog unattended by the pool, just as you would not leave a child unattended.  Even if your dog is a pro swimmer, mistakes happen and lead to horrific results.

Despite all the right tools some dogs are just not going to be swimmers or even like the water. If you have made every effort possible to teach your dog to swim and he resists going into the water or near it then you just do not have a swimmer! The American Bully breed are not natural swimmers, but with some educational time in the pool you may be able to make a water companion out of them.  Do not get easily discouraged and please make sure to be safe in and around the water.



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