Aussiedoodles may have only been around for the past couple of decades but have quickly become one of the most sought-after breeds. With so many hybrid designer breed dogs around today, just what makes the Aussiedoodle so special?
They come from the Australian Shepherd and the Poodle – two dogs both known for their intelligence, so it should come as no surprise that Aussies are like canine geniuses.
But, do Aussiedoodles like to swim? It’s tough to say definitively whether an Aussiedoodle will enjoy swimming or not. It will really depend on what’s inherited from their Poodle side since they carry the waterdog genetics. Introducing them to the water early on will increase the odds of them falling in love with the water as they mature.
If you’re anything like me, you want your pup to love the water. If you do it right, chances are you’ll be able to turn your Aussiedoodle into a real water-lover. Be careful what you wish for…you might find yourself with a wet pup more often than not!
Getting them used to the sensation of being in the water can be challenging, but we’ll help you through the process and give you some important safety pointers in this article.
A Look At Each Breed
The two breeds that make up this fabulous breed, the Poodle and the Australian Shepherd, have almost completely different backgrounds. The Australian Shepherd’s ancestors came from Australia, but the Australian Shepherd originated in the U.S. with its purpose being a herding dog used on farms and ranches.
They were not a well-known dog until 1950s when they were seen a lot in movies and rodeos. Today, they are a multi-purpose dog used as performing dogs, guard dogs, service dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue, therapy dogs and family pets.
If it seems like the Poodle has been around forever, it’s because they got their origin in France over 400 years ago. They were popular for their curly coats and intelligence. Their love of the water made them a popular water dog. In fact, they were well known for their great duck-hunting abilities in France.
Today the Poodle is also a multi-talented dog used as a guard dog, guide dog, rescue dog, service dog and performance dog. The combination of these two breeds has resulted in the Aussiedoodle, a beautiful, intelligent, loyal, playful and hard-working dog that is well known and wanted by many!
Introducing Them to Water
For years, dog owners have been hearing that dogs are born knowing how to swim. This is a myth. Another myth is that if you throw your dog into the water, he’ll automatically swim to shore. What that will accomplish is your dog losing a little trust for you and, possibly, a dog that fears the water.
Most dogs can maneuver the doggie paddle but that’s about it. Because of the Poodle’s history with water, you might think that Aussie’s love water and swimming, but that’s not always the case.
It’s important that you introduce your Aussiedoodle to water gradually. Walk along the shore with him and let him investigate it at his own pace. Chances are good that he’ll gradually walk in a little deeper but at his own pace.
Another way to get his used to the water is at home in a kiddie pool or your garden hose. Let him realize on his own that water can be fun.
If you are at the beach, you may want to toss a Frisbee into the water but in shallow water, so he can go in and fetch it. If you plan to take him out on a boat or pontoon, always put a life jacket on him for safe measure.
Introducing your Aussie to water in a fun and casual manner is the best way to get him to love the water as much as you do.
You need to understand, there are many sensations and next feelings that come along with the water. Your pup will need to get used to them. Here are a few to consider.
- Becoming buoyant once the water rises to the height of their chest
- Currents and waves in lakes and rivers
- Different surfaces under the water (rocks, sand, mud, clay, mixed material)
- Changes in the water temperature
Safety For Swimming In Large Bodies Of Water
Even if your dog appears to be a good swimmer at the local beach, you should still take precautions when you’re near or in large bodies of water. If the water is cold, your dog is going to tire out much quicker than if the water was warm. Even if a dog doesn’t drown, he can go through a “near drowning” experience where water gets in the lungs.
You may not notice it for a day or two when the dog develops an infection, inflammation or some other serious symptom. This is known as “near-drowning”.
Large bodies of water can also have strong currents that can take your dog away even if the dog is a strong swimmer. Oceans and lakes are also filled with harmful algal blooms that can be very dangerous to dogs if you don’t know how to identify them.
Whether the dog accidentally drinks the water or gets it on his skin, it can cause serious problems. It’s important to always know where you’re swimming and the conditions of the water.
Can Dogs Drown?
Despite the belief that most dogs can swim, many dogs drown every year. Approximately 400,000 dogs in the U.S. drown every year in our back yard ponds, streams, rivers or lakes (source). Even though most dogs can swim, what causes difficulty is that they can’t swim for long distances.
If they’re in a position where they’re forced to swim a long distance, they get extremely excited and generally run out of energy before they’re out of the water. If they’re not pulled out of the water, and they’re under the water for too long, they will drown.
A dog can also experience near-drowning if they inhale a large amount of water. The water may not be enough to cause instant drowning, but it’s enough to cause respiratory problems that offer surface within 24 hours.
If your dog experiences any of these symptoms after being the water for any length of time, consult a vet as soon as possible.
- Weak pulse
- Labored or open-mouthed breathing
- Hypothermia (body temp below 82 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Irregular breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs)
- Cyanosis (change of color of mucous membranes)
- Posture changes
If your dog is treated soon enough after coming out of the water, and he wasn’t underwater for too long, there is a good chance he will survive. You will need to try to clear the airways. If he’s not breathing, you’ll need to perform CPR and mouth-to-nose resuscitation.
Wrap a warm blanket around him to keep him warm, but do not cover his mouth or nose. Get him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. The best type of treatment is prevention.
Keep these safety tips in mind:
- Introduce your dog to the water gradually and in a fun manner.
- At first, do not allow the dog to swim further than a few feet.
- When starting out, keep your dog on a long leash (see our favorite leashes, here)
- When traveling on a boat, have a life jacket on the dog.
- Avoid large unfamiliar bodies of water.
What other activities and exercises will Aussiedoodles enjoy?
Aussiedoodles love playing fetch, going for walks and particularly like interactive games and activities that provide mental stimulation. Interactive puzzles with treats hidden inside are usually very popular with Aussies.
Do Aussiedoodles do well in hot temperatures?
Aussies do fairly well in hot temperatures. Their double coat of hair acts as a form of insulation from extreme hot or cold temperatures. When they start to feel hot, they’ll look for cool surfaces like concrete, tiles or freshly dug dirt (beware flowerbeds and gardens)! They should always have access to cool fresh water.
Aussies are also very popular because they come in such a variety of colors, coat types and sizes. Breeders never really know what they’re going to get in a litter! What they do know is that pups will be unique, intelligent, playful, low-maintenance, energetic, and a great addition to the family. Aussiedoodles love to spend time with their family and enjoy romping around outside.
Swimming and water sports are not just a great way to bond with your Aussie, but they are also excellent forms of exercise. If your Aussie loves the water, you may have found a great way to pass the time in the summer. If your Aussie isn’t all that thrilled with water, you may be able to change his mind with the right introductions and games!
Photo Credit: Cottonwood Creek Doodles