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Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Swim? (Read This First!)

Who doesn’t love to spend outdoor time with their Bernese mountain dogs, right? They get a bit goofy while playing with their family members.

The Bernese mountain dogs are a large breed. On top of that, they come with fairly long and dense coats. So, you must be wondering if they can swim and how to train them to swim. Let’s break down each of your queries.

Can Bernese mountain dogs swim?

The Bernese mountain dogs can swim. However, these dogs mostly don’t like swimming as they have thick fur that can get extremely heavy when wet. So, most Bernese mountain dogs need some training before getting into the water. Always make sure they’re in good enough shape and health to swim.

The Bernese mountain dogs are native to the Swiss Alps, where there are nearly zero water bodies. So, they are not the best swimmers. But they can swim if given proper training.

They also need training because of their large body and heavyweight. The thick coat covering the Bernese dogs can make swimming relatively difficult. When they get into the water, their fur will become extremely heavy, even making them drown.

However, there’s a greater issue than their large body and long coat here. It’s that Bernese mountain dogs panic when they’re in the water. And that’s where all the trouble begins. So, they need the training to handle that excessive weight while swimming.

That being said, Bernese mountain dogs of all age groups can’t swim. The puppies and old dogs don’t do very well in water because of the lack of muscles for swimming and the weakening of the muscles, respectively.

Do Bernese mountain dogs like to swim?

Unlike other dog breeds, these dogs lack the instinct to swim. Swimming does not come naturally to them. So they will only want to do it if they are trained in swimming.

By introducing them to swimming at an early stage of their life, you may even get them to grow fond of it.

Are Bernese mountain dogs swimmers?

The Bernese mountain dogs are found in the Swiss mountains, where the weather is extremely cold. There are no substantial bodies of water in this habitat other than shallow water areas.

Besides, the Bernese mountain dogs have been bred as farm dogs and working dogs to help their master with various tasks.

So, they are not water-loving dog breeds and not self-motivated swimmers. In fact, they won’t be able to swim if they are not trained to handle their weight.

Are Bernese mountain dogs self-taught to swim?

Since there is very little availability of water bodies in their native place of the Swiss Alps, Bernese mountain dogs don’t learn to swim independently. In fact, they won’t dive into the water out of curiosity or playfulness.

So, you will have to coach the Bernese dogs if you want them to swim. In addition to teaching them how to swim, you will have to help a Bernese mountain dog by training it to cope with excess body weight gained from its wet fur while swimming.

How to train a Bernese mountain dog to swim?

Training Bernese mountain dogs in the right way is necessary since they are not natural swimmers. Therefore, you should introduce them to swimming slowly and with patience.

Also, begin the training process when your Bernese mountain dog is young, as it will be much easier to teach them how to swim then.

By following a few simple steps, you can make your dog learn to swim effectively. Let’s see what you can do to train a Bernese mountain dog to swim.

Safely lead the dog into a pool:

The first step to train your Bernese mountain dog to swim is to introduce them to a safe water body, such as a pool, and gently lead them into it.

You can even attach your dog to a leash to instill a sense of security and walk him to the first step of the pool.

Once your dog grows comfortable, move onto the second step of the pool. And advance deeper into the pool as the dog seems to grow out of his nervousness.

Provide support to help your dog paddle:

Once your dog grows accustomed to the water, proceed to teach it how to paddle. As you move deeper into the water, your dog will need to paddle in order to remain floating.

Use a life jacket in this step. The jacket will provide your dog with some additional buoyancy, which will make paddling much easier.

Teach the Bernese dog how to get out of the pool:

In this step, teach your dog to exit the pond. Having learned to enter the pool and paddle, your pet will now need to know where the stairs are and how to get on them swiftly.

Lift your dog for the first few times to give them a confidence boost, and they will soon learn to do it on their own.

Expand exposure to water and continue training:

Once your dog conquers the pool, make sure to move the training sessions to a more open water body such as a lake or a pond. This will help you expand the training and increase the dog’s exposure to water.

How do I get my dog to like swimming?

It is no secret that Bernese mountain dogs will be a little reluctant when you try to train them how to swim. But there are several ways you can get your dog to like swimming. Here are a few steps that will help you spark their interest:

Start early:

To get your Bernese mountain dog to like swimming, you will need to summon a lot of patience. The training session will be much easier and enjoyable if the dog is young.

So you should start when your Bernese dog is still under five months old, to get them accustomed to the activity.

In addition, it is at this stage of life that dogs are more risk-averse. They are not so fearful of water then and would learn to swim rather quickly. And they will eventually grow fond of it.

Increase the dog’s exposure to water:

Where they are from, Bernese mountain dogs don’t generally see a lot of water. So they are not naturally drawn to it. So in order to help your dog overcome its fear of water, increase the dog’s exposure to water.

Once your dog gets used to some splashes of water in shallow water bodies, increase the exposure. Move them to deeper water bodies and increase the amount of time they spend in them.

Play games in water bodies:

Bernese mountain dogs love the outdoors and enjoy playing games. So if you can associate water with fun playtime, they will soon start to like swimming. 

In addition, try to incorporate attractive toys and fun water balls. These will keep the dog engaged and improve their interest in swimming.

Take breaks in between the training sessions:

And finally, while Bernese dogs are very active and playful, they get tired pretty soon. So be sure not to overwork your dog and drain them.

Make sure to take breaks between the training sessions as it will help improve the dog’s efficiency and help him learn to swim much better. 

Is it too late to teach Bernese mountain dogs to swim?

No, it’s never too late to teach Bernese mountain dogs to swim. While Bernese dogs learn to swim best when they are young, adult dogs can also learn to swim like a champion.

Begin the training by introducing your dog to shallow and warm water. You will have to train your puppy very patiently to make it a swimmer in no time.

Do Bernese mountain dogs like water?

Bernese mountain dogs don’t take to swimming as naturally as most other dog breeds, neither they like water. However, they grow used to water over time and might even start liking it if the training is done right.

Most Bernese mountain dogs enjoy paddling in shallow and warm water. So you should start the training session from there.

How do you help a Bernese mountain dog learn to swim?

It’s not intuitive for a Bernese mountain dog to know how to swim. For generations, they have not been introduced to water, which has grown them somewhat reluctant towards the water.

So you will need to provide assistance to your pet for them to learn swimming to perfection.

There are several ways you can help a Bernese mountain dog learn to swim. First, introduce them to open water bodies and eventually increase exposure to water. Then, assist your pet in acquiring the skills of paddling.

And once they grow accustomed to water, help them move into and out of the water swiftly.

Is it OK to let your Bernese mountain dog swim in your pool?

Bernese mountain dogs take a while to get accustomed to the water. So it’s not ideal for letting your Bernese mountain dog swim in a pool initially.

Help them get used to the water first, teach them how to paddle and get out of it before letting them swim on their own. Until then, allow them to swim under your supervision.

Final Thoughts:

Bernese mountain dogs are not naturally fond of water, but they can soon learn to swim with proper training and encouragement. It’s ideal to start the training session early on. However, adult Bernese mountain dogs can learn to swim without much trouble as well.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Are Bernese Mountain Dogs So Needy & Clingy?

Why Are Bernese Mountain Dogs So Expensive?

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Have Webbed Feet?

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Bark a Lot?

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Be Guard Dogs?

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