Goldendoodles have built quite a reputation for themselves in terms of temperament. They are incredibly friendly, highly affectionate, gentle, loyal, and remarkably intelligent. This eager-to-please crossbreed is usually quite easy to train and once trained, remains reliably obedient. How does this training play out when it comes to water?
Do Goldendoodles like to swim? Yes! Bred from two water-loving dogs (Golden Retriever and Poodle), Goldendoodles typically inherit a love of many water-related activities, especially swimming. Exposing them to water and swimming early in life will further increase the odds that they enjoy the water.
A quick read through some Doodle forums or Facebook groups and you’ll quickly find this completely true AND see some ridiculously cute pictures of post-swim wet Doodles.
Before you hit the water with your Goldendoodle pup, we have some important precautions to share with you on making the first introductions to water, water safety (especially in large bodies of water), and protecting their ears.
Do Goldendoodles Like the Water?
Although each Goldendoodle has unique likes and dislikes, most Goldendoodles utterly love the water and will enthusiastically splash, frolic, and swim at every opportunity. The exception might be bathtime which even the most avid water lovers merely tolerate.
So, what kinds of water activities might a Goldendoodle enjoy? Sloshing around in a kiddie pool, catching raindrops, and chasing after streams of water from a hose? Yes, yes, and yes. Wading through puddles? Sure. Playing tag with waves? Definitely. Jumping into a lake to retrieve a ball? Absolutely. If water is involved, Goldendoodles are interested.
A word of caution here…you might just create a WATER MONSTER. I can’t even water the grass without my Doodle chomping at the water from the hose like a T-Rex.
Many people know that Golden Retrievers were originally bred to be bird dogs, adeptly retrieving game birds from both water and land. Many are surprised to learn that the deceptively delicate-looking Poodle was also developed to be a skilled bird dog. In fact, the breed’s name is derived from a German word meaning, “to splash in water.”
When it comes to enjoying water, Goldendoodles really can’t help themselves. They are genetically predisposed to like the water and all the fun that comes with it.
Are Goldendoodles Good Swimmers?
Due to the water-dog heritage of both parent breeds, swimming seems to come naturally for Goldendoodles. Instinct takes over as soon as they enter the water, and when they venture out into deeper water, those cute little paws automatically start to “doggy paddle.”
In addition to natural swimming instincts, Goldendoodles also inherited webbed feet with plenty of skin between the toes. This webbing provides a larger surface area for stability when covering difficult terrain and allows for greater maneuverability and speed when swimming.
Making The First Introduction to Water
Many Goldendoodles won’t need much encouragement when discovering the joys of water, but it is still wise to introduce them slowly and gently so that they’ll always associate water with good, clean fun.
A hard plastic kiddie pool is often the perfect first introduction to water. Add a few floating toys and let your Goldendoodle explore and play on his own. Never force anything the first few times. When he is comfortable, it’s time for bigger and better things.
For first outings to a pond, lake, river, or beach, you’ll want to keep the experience as positive and enjoyable as possible. Don’t pressure him to do anything he is not quite ready for, but rather let him learn at his own pace.
When your dog first enters a natural body of water, he will experience many brand new sensations, so allow him plenty of time to take it all in.
The pleasure of cool water swirling around his legs, the unfamiliar sights and odors, the feeling of buoyancy, the pulling of currents, and the sense of freedom that nature brings all need to be processed by your dog before he can relax and feel comfortable.
If your Goldendoodle is a bit hesitant to enter the water, try wading in the shallows with him and speaking to him in an upbeat tone of voice. Try playing a game of fetch along the shoreline to entice him. Gradually move into slightly deeper water with each toss of the ball.
Chances are, before you know it, your Goldendoodle will be swimming and playing as if he was born to, which, in reality, he was.
What About Those Floppy Ears?
Dogs with floppy ears like the Goldendoodle have an increased risk of developing ear infections. The ear flaps cover the ears, effectively trapping moisture and heat creating the perfect environment for yeast and harmful bacteria to thrive.
When it comes to caring for your Goldendoodle’s ears, remember Benjamin Franklin’s maxim, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
While cotton balls can keep the ears dry during baths and can be used when swimming, odds are that they won’t stay in place for long. Just a few full-body shakes from your Doodle and they’ll likely fly out.
There are protective ear coverings, like the Aquabandit, available which are designed to keep water from entering the dog’s ears and thus prevent infection. You can also try waterproof silicone earplugs, like these ones.
As soon as your Goldendoodle has finished swimming for the day, dry those ears as much as you can. When you get home, remember to carefully clean both ears with an ear cleaning solution designed for dogs and dry the ears again. This is probably one of the best – check it out on Amazon.
Spending a few hours relaxing and swimming with your Goldendoodle is a perfect way to spend a hot, summer afternoon, but your dog’s safety should always be first and foremost in your mind. Always keep a close watch on your pet and be aware of the risks inherent with swimming.
Keep your dog well hydrated with water brought from home. Water in pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans is not safe to drink.
Sticking to shallow water is safest for your dog, but many owners (and dogs) feel even better if a dog life preserver is used. Most come with a handle on top so that you can easily grab your dog if need be.
Use a Leash
Keeping your Goldendoodle on a leash, at least for the first few outings, is a sensible way to make sure that he doesn’t venture off too far by himself. Be sure that you use a floating leash to prevent the dog’s legs from becoming tangled.
Watch your dog closely for signs of exhaustion. Many dogs won’t stop playing even when they’re tired, so it’s up to you to ensure he takes frequent rest breaks. Swimming uses up lots of energy, so some snack breaks might be called for as well. He’ll most likely need a larger serving of food that night too.
If your Goldendoodle has access to a swimming pool, be absolutely certain that he knows where the steps are located and train him to never enter the pool unless you give permission first.
Natural Bodies of Water
Talk to your veterinarian before taking your Goldendoodle out for a swimming adventure. Ask about the dangers that are prevalent in your particular area such as ticks, venomous snakes, snapping turtles, leptospirosis, and blue-green algae. Remember to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date.
Ponds, lakes, and rivers are often fishing hot spots, so check carefully for any left-behind hooks or snarled fishing lines that could harm your Goldendoodle. Also look closely for any submerged branches, broken glass, or jagged rocks before allowing your pup to jump in.
Rivers and oceans can have strong underwater currents that can easily overwhelm even the best swimmers and result in tragedy. Please check carefully for current strength before allowing your dog in, and make sure he stays safely in shallow water.
Do Goldendoodles like snow?
Most Goldendoodles adore a good snowfall and will invent many creative ways to enjoy their newfound winter wonderland. Dog boots can prevent snow from clumping on their paws, but care must be taken to dry and brush out the coat when playtime is over to prevent chilling and to keep mats from forming. These boots are a top pick on Amazon.
Do Goldendoodles like the beach?
The always-ready-for-fun Goldendoodle usually has a wonderful time at a dog-friendly beach chasing waves, digging holes, and playing fetch both in and out of the water. Be sure that he knows basic commands before letting him play off-leash and brace yourself for one sandy dog when the day is over.