Do Labradoodles Like To Swim? How To Improve Their Experience

Labradoodle in Water Unlike the stereotype for cats, many dogs love the water!  They’ll happily play in a pool or lake, even take a run in the ocean waves.  Not all dogs love the water, though. Some prefer dry land and are just not made for water sports. Labradoodles are bred from Labradors and Poodles, both of which have their own tendencies in the water.  Labs and Poodles are both water dogs.  That said, all dogs are individuals. Some may take to the water quicker or slower than others of the same breed.

So do Labradoodles like to swim? Yes! Labradoodles are bred from two water dogs: Labradors and Poodles. As such, the breed typically does enjoy swimming. Often it is dependent on how early and often they are exposed to water and swimming. There are things you can do to make sure they have the best chance of taking to water.

Some doodles, like many Labradors and Poodles, absolutely love the water.  Others might not be so inclined in the beginning, and then there are those between.  While the odds are good your doodle will take well to water, there are some things that can increase your chances of having a waterdoodle!

  • Start them Early
  • Make it Easy
  • Make it Fun
  • Stay Safe

Early Exposure to Water:

Your best bet for a water-friendly Labradoodle is giving them early experience with swimming.  Even when you first take them home, a couple of inches of water in a pool or tub can be great exposure for them.  Water should be fun and safe at this age and remember they are not able to do too much too soon A great next step is a small baby pool.  When they are puppies, this can be an excellent spot to keep an eye on them when they try this. If you search for “Labradoodles first swim” you will be immediately inundated with maximum levels of cuteness swimming around in a little plastic pool.  So be prepared!

Make it Easy for Them

Any introduction to water should be in an environment that makes it simple for your pup to get in and out of the water at her pace.  You can think of a small pool, the shore by a lake that has no sharp drop-offs, or a larger pool with steps or a ramp she can use. Let her go in as much as comfortable and be there with her for safety.  Over time she’ll get more confident, and in no time will be jumping in. Remember that swimming is physical exercise.  You don’t want to overwhelm them with too much work. Our guidelines on how much exercise they can handle and warning signs of too much exercise are laid out for you here.

Make it Fun for Him

One of the best ways to get your Labradoodle interested in the water is to make it a game!  Poodles and Labradors were bred to be sport dogs that retrieve waterfowl from lakes and streams.  So fetch is perfect for a fun activity they’ll enjoy with you. Bring a favorite ball or squeeze toy with you.  Start easy and throw the ball into very shallow water where he can get it without much trouble.  Take your cues from him and go at a pace he’s comfortable with.

Safety First

Never let her swim unattended!  You should always be nearby for safety and avoid areas that have currents or rough water.  For larger bodies of water, we suggest they have safety gear. We have our favorite swimming vest and other safety gear here. Remember not to overwhelm her.  If she’s having a rough time of it, or is a bit apprehensive, you’ll want to stagger this over a few days so she can gradually get used to the experience. A pool with steps might be a bit much to start as a puppy.  For her, one step might be the difference between being able to reach the bottom and not even close!  In those cases, you might find a baby pool to start, or a lake with a gradual decline.

Swimming in Large Bodies of Water

If you’re looking at taking your dog for a swim in a lake or large body of water, sometimes they might be a bit hesitant or intimidated.  An ideal place has a few characteristics:

  • Gradual:  An easy way to get in and out.  A gentle slope into the water that your dog can easily walk in up to a comfortable point.
  • Calm:  No currents or waves.  A calm large pond or lake would be a good example or a pool that has a few steps or ramp ingress.
  • Buddy Swim:  Someplace you can join your dog in the water.  She might feel better if you are in there with her!  Make sure to bring a favorite toy to play with and fetch

A calm safe area will be the perfect place for you and your doodle to have some water fun. In water that is not fully controlled like a lake or other places, you can have them wear a doggie life jacket.  Make sure to acclimate them to this before you use it in water. Most pet stores will have them for you. Look for something with a handle on the back so you can easily get them if needed.

Related Questions:

Are Labradoodles water dogs?

Labradoodles, as a breed, are not technically a water dog as defined by some experts.  For example in Dr. Fogle’s book The Encyclopedia of the Dog, he lists out 15 breeds considered to be water dogs. The Poodle is among them, typically used in France as a waterfowl retriever and, as such, a great swimmer.  In fact, the poodle style haircut was initially done to keep them both warm and not too weighed down by their dense hair!  Whereas now it’s mostly a style decision, the Poodle still is a strong swimmer and loves the water. Labradors are themselves excellent water retriever dogs, bred to return waterfowl.  Bred to be excellent swimmers and active sporting dogs, Labs will happily play all day in the water and retrieve like they were bred to do.

Do Labradoodles like water?

As a breed that is a mix of Poodle and Labrador, both of which are water-loving, yes!  Labradoodles are certainly very likely to take to water easily. As always, dogs are individuals, and some might be more or less enthusiastic.  They also might take some time to get used to the water, depending on how they were raised and how old they are. You’ll always want to take cues from your dog about how she’s liking things.  Often she will take right to water! Other times it might be a bit of a process to get acclimated.

Wrap it up!

Labradoodles will typically love the water!  Give them all the tools to succeed and your doodle can have a great time in the pool, lake, or at the beach with you. Be mindful of safety, and let them get adjusted to it at whatever pace they can handle.  All dogs are individuals and it should be quickly apparent how your pup responds to water. If they are with you, playing and enjoying the water, it should be an easy transition! Have fun!