Like all dogs Chihuahuas have a natural ability to swim, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they enjoy the water. In the following article we’re going to take a closer look at whether Chihuahuas like the water and how you should go about introducing your little companion to the water, so they are kept out of harms way and enjoy the experience.
???? Some Chihuahuas love the water, others are easily intimidated and do their best to avoid swimming at all costs. The difference between whether your Chihuahua likes the water or doesn’t often will come down to how they are first introduced to the water. Keep in mind, being such a small breed they can get thrown about and disorientated in less than calm conditions and also tire very easily.
Like many dogs, Chihuahuas often become excited when they see the water but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to go swimming! And like most things in life, there’s no clear cut answer to the question of whether Chihuahuas actually like the water. Much of the time, it really comes back to the individual dog’s personality, the conditions of the water e.g. is the water turbulent or calm and importantly how the initial introduction is made to the water.
Chihuahuas are an odd mix of bravery and anxiety.
They are fearless in many ways, and will do just about anything to protect you, but are easily intimidated by things much larger than themselves e.g. larger dogs or vast expanses of water and easily haunted by negative experiences.
If your dog finds themselves fighting a current or getting thrown about in rough conditions on their first experience with the water they may develop a fear of the water. Alternatively, if your Chihuahua’s first experience with the water is a positive one, it can set them up to enjoy swimming for their entire life.
Therefore, if you want your Chihuahua to like the water, how they are first introduced to the water is critical. Below are some tips to help you create a positive first impression of the water.
How to Introduce your Chihuahua to the Water and Ensure they like it
Chihuahuas hate the cold
Remember your Chihuahua hates the cold and shakes and shivers when cool due to their ultra-fast metabolism. As a result, getting them wet, whether it’s playing in the back yard with a sprinkler or taking them swimming in cooler conditions is definitely out.
You will also want to make sure he or she is quickly wrapped up in a towel and dried quickly afterwards.
Start them young
If you want your Chihuahua to like the water it’s important that you introduce your puppy to the water quite early but in a limited capacity.
Most people recommend the 8-10 week mark as an ideal time to introduce your puppy to the water, but this doesn’t mean taking them to your local river and literally throwing them in the deep end.
Start by giving them a positive first impression of the water by giving them a warm bath, or getting them involved in a game in the backyard incorporating a hoe or sprinkler so,they become accustomed to the water. It’s important that it is a positive experience for the dog, as this can then be built upon.
You can then quickly progress to a shallow wading pool and eventually a local lake.
Get them a life jacket
Chihuahuas, being lightweight, are very buoyant which works in their favor in the water, however this is much less an advantage if the water is rough, or there is a current to swim against, as they tire very easily.
Chihuahuas are also brave and tend to go at things at 100% capacity. This can result in the dog becoming rapidly tired.
A puppy life jacket will keep them buoyant even when tired and give them additional confidence. Life jackets are just a good idea for smaller breeds in general, they have handles, making it much easier to pick your dog up out of the water, they insulate them and keep them warmer when wet, and if your pup falls in the water accidentally will keep them out of trouble.
Be sure to get a brightly colored one however, just in case there’s a problem e.g. they drift too far away, and you need to quickly spot their location and make sure the life jacket is a comfortable fit, not so tight that it is restrictive but certainly not loose enough for them to get out of.
Pick and stick
It can be helpful when first introducing your Chihuahua to swimming to pick a location and stick to it, at least initially.
Your puppy will feel more comfortable in a location they have become familiar with and less distracted by a new location and the invariable exciting new sounds and smells.
Old dogs can teach new tricks
It can also be useful for your puppy to observe mature dogs swimming. This gives them an idea of what’s expected, how to go about enjoying the water and seeing other dogs having a positive experience in the water reinforces the notion that water is a fun place, rather than one to feel intimidated by.
Make it Fun
It’s important that your dog associates the water with positivity. One way to achieve this is by making a game out of water activity. Have them fetch a tennis ball or bring along a favorite toy and provide plenty of positive reinforcement if they do well in the water.
Perhaps the best way to achieve this is to make sure you are in the water with your dog. Unlike larger breeds your Chihuahua is unlikely to cause you as many problems with their claws like larger breeds.
If you want your Chihuahua to enjoy the water make sure it’s a regular part of life. Swimming is a great form of exercise for your dog, but it needs to be consistent. Follow up the initial introduction to the water regularly e.g. weekly if possible. Your Chihuahua will build confidence and improve their abilities in the water with consistent practice.
Build up Slowly
Don’t expect too much of your dog. Chihuahuas as previously mentioned will tire easily, so don’t be surprised if they want to exit the water fairly quickly, especially when first becoming accustomed to the water.
The same goes for location e.g. don’t go from a gentle lake to a large open body of water unless your dog is a good swimmer and has had sufficient time to develop their sea paws.
Watch them Carefully
Lastly, be aware of the size of your dog and the limitation this puts on their activity, especially in the water. This really means, keeping a very close eye on them in the water and keeping them close.
Submerged objects, other animals, becoming overly tired are all potential problems for a Chihuahua in the water so keep an eye on them and as previously mentioned consider a brightly colored life jacket so you can spot them quickly if they do get away from you.
Chihuahuas, like all dogs can enjoy the water, but keep in mind all dogs, like people are different. Some will just be more drawn to the water than others.
How you go about introducing your Chihuahua to the water can make all the difference. So, remember to start slowly, give them a taste of the fun that can be had in the water from an early age and importantly, always remember they can get tired quickly and become disorientated in rough conditions.
A life jacket orflotation device is ideal for smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas and the confidence this provides for your pup may make the difference between whether your Chihuahua likes the water or doesn’t.