The origins of the Samoyed dog breed can be traced back to northern Russia and Siberia where they were used as sled dogs and herders by the Samoyedic people. Samoyeds are a basal breed, meaning they predate the emergence of modern breeds in the 1800s. They are a powerful, yet graceful dog with a thick coat of white fur. Samoyeds look like they are always smiling. This is due to the upturned corners of their mouths which prevents their drool from freezing to their face in cold temperatures.
Samoyeds can swim, but whether they enjoy swimming or not depends on the individual dog. The Samoyed may not take to water naturally, but with patience and proper training, they may learn to swim quite well. They may even learn to enjoy it.
Samoyed owners love this breed due to their thick white coats and they’re playful and protective natures. They have energy to spare and need to burn it off in constructive ways. Swimming is just one type of exercise the Samoyed can do. Read on for more advice on how to teach your Samoyed to enjoy the water.
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Samoyeds have a very thick layer of fur so a dip in a lake, pond, or pool will go a long way in cooling them down during the hot summer months. Even though they do shed a great deal of their winter coats by springtime, their thick fur may be one reason your Samoyed may not like to fully immerse themselves in water.
Samoyeds swim like most other breeds, they do the doggie paddle. Most dogs will start to pedal all four of their legs when submerged in water. It’s not the fastest swimming stroke, but it’s the best one for their physiology. Some dogs enjoy the water and can be trained to assist in water rescue. Other dogs have no aptitude for it. You Samoyed will probably never get a job assisting a lifeguard but they may enjoy the occasional quick dip.
Why Aren’t Samoyeds Natural Swimmers?
The Samoyed originated in the cold northern regions of Siberia and Russia. They were put to use as hunters, herders, sledders and guard dogs. Many of the lakes and ponds in these northern regions are frozen in the winter months and quite cold even in spring and fall. These geographical concerns gave them little incentive to swim.
It is open to debate whether any breed of dog are natural swimmers or if it’s something they learn quickly through necessity or by training. Just because Samoyeds aren’t natural swimmers doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy or can’t become quite good at it.
Do Samoyeds Like Water?
In hot weather, many Samoyeds do enjoy a dip in a pool or pond. Since they have such thick fur, once that fur gets wet it becomes quite heavy. Some individual dogs may find that annoying while others might just literally shake it off without a thought. It really depends on the personality and temperament of your dog.
In general, however, Samoyeds generally do not fear water and won’t sink if they find themselves in deep water. Dogs who are afraid of water can be trained to be good swimmers. It just takes a little patience and persistence on the part of the dog’s owner.
Difficulty Swimming May Be Why Your Samoyed is Afraid of Water
If your Samoyed does fear the water this is probably because they have never been trained to swim. If you want your dog to enjoy time at the beach with you, you should start getting it comfortable to be around water at an early age. They should be old enough and strong enough to avoid injury in the water, but it’s ok to start getting them familiar with water early.
Older dogs may become fearful of water due to their loss of mobility. Swimming is strenuous exercise and older dogs may not have the stamina to keep themselves afloat. This fear is understandable. While it may be too painful or difficult for an older dog to swim for long periods of time, swimming is a good way to exercise limbs and joints. As long as the dog is not in pain, short periods of swimming can be good for them.
Young or old, dogs shouldn’t be pushed into the water or forced to overexert themselves once in the water. If they are, then this will not be a good experience for them and will discourage them from going in the water in the future.
Benefits of Swimming
Swimming is a great cardio workout for dogs and humans. It helps dogs burn excess energy and Samoyeds are no exception. It can help strengthen joints and since it is low-impact it shouldn’t affect arthritis or joint problems in older dogs. Just be sure not to overdo it and tire them out.
Swimming is also a great way to bond with your dog. It builds trust and provides many opportunities for play such as dock jumping and fetch. In hot summer months, a quick dip in a pond or pool can really cool down a hot dog that has thick fur like the Samoyed breed.
Teaching Your Samoyed to Swim
Is it even possible to teach a dog to swim? Perhaps not in the same sense that we are taught to swim when we are young. Most dogs will instinctively do the doggie paddle when they are in water. While you may not be able to teach them how to swim, what you can do is teach them to love the water, or at the very least, to be comfortable in it.
Some dogs will take a running leap off the side of the pool or from a dock and plunge right in. Other dogs may need some coaxing. If you plan to train your dog to swim in a pool or lake or deep pond, you can get a doggy life jacket to keep them afloat. Make sure the jacket isn’t too tight on them but is still secure.
To get your dog into the water, get in first and call them. They may be hesitant at first, but dogs are very eager to please, so they will at least make the effort. If your Samoyed refuses to come when called try attaching their leash and gently pull them into the water. Don’t force them or you may never be able to successfully get them into the water again. You can also try to entice them with their favorite toy or a treat.
Stay in the shallow water for a bit. Let your dog get comfortable. You don’t want to move too fast. Once your Samoyed feels comfortable in the water with their feet touching the bottom, you can start to gradually draw them out further. At this point, their curiosity may get them to explore deeper water without much effort on your part.
Stay with them as they enter deeper water and give them support if they need it. Your dog will start to dog paddle as soon as its feet no longer touch the bottom of the pond or lake. This is make or break time. They will either love it or quickly head back to shore. Either way, keep this first swimming experience short, maybe 15 minutes so you don’t overexert your dog.
After your Samoyed’s first experience swimming, they may be ready for more right away. Practice makes perfect so keep it up. Take them out as much as you can and increase the times spent in the water and the distance from shore. It won’t be long before you’ll have a water-loving Samoyed on your hands.
Tips for Swimming with Your Samoyed
Bring a few of your dog’s favorite toys along with you when you go swimming. They will find comfort in these familiar things and may experience less anxiety as a result. A doggie life jacket is a good thing to have on hand, especially for dogs getting their first few lessons. Bring along some fresh water and a bowl too as lake or pond water may upset their stomachs if they drink it.
Don’t try to do too much too soon. Ease into it, let them enjoy the experience and they will be ready for more. Stay close to your dog, at least in the beginning. They may tire unexpectedly and need your help getting back on solid ground. Remember to have fun. This should be an enjoyable experience for you and your dog and a good opportunity to form a close bond with each other.
Post Swimming Care
After some time in your home pool, you’ll probably want to give your Samoyed a bath to get that chlorine out of their fur. If you do have your own pool, it’s a good idea to give your dog a good brushing before they get into the water. You don’t want shed fur to get into the pool’s filters and clog them up. Use a pool skimmer to remove any floating hair once you have finished swimming.
A bath is recommended after a swim in a lake or pond as well. There are plenty of algae present in these bodies of water that won’t help with that wet dog smell. After a good bath and toweling off, you and your dog will both have gotten some good exercise and will sleep well.