Do Shiba Inus Like Water? Can They Swim?

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If you own a Shiba Inus as I do, you probably know by now that they might not be too fond of water or swimming. Also, because of their stubborn and strong-willed nature, they tend to be hard to train too.

So, if you’re having a hard time training your Shiba Inus, especially for being around water and teaching them how to swim, stay put.

In this article, I am going to tell you all you need to know about Shiba Inus and swimming, and also give you some helpful tricks and tips you can use from my experience.


Do Shiba Inus Like Water?

Did you know that Shiba Inus are actually waterproof? Well, not completely waterproof, but their fur coat is certainly waterproof. This is because this dog is a double-coated dog breed- having an undercoat that is soft, and an overcoat that is thick and stiff.

Now, with this interesting fact about Shiba Inus in mind, you might probably be thinking this dog breed might be fond of water. 

Let me clear this misconception for you- Shiba Inus do not like water. Whether it is bath time, a splash in the puddle, or playing in the rain, you will notice your Shiba Inus trying to resist all these activities just because of their aversion to water. 

Why? That is just how this canine breed is (no thanks to their individual tastes for everything!).

Because I’ve kept a Shiba Inus for several years now, I can surely say that this dog breed has a clear understanding of their likes and dislikes. 

See also: Are Shiba Inu lazy?

And this perspective is understood by them from their early days. Therefore, if your Shiba Inus puppy develops an abhorrence for water at a young age, they will definitely continue feeling like that later on as well.

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Do Shiba Inus Enjoy Swimming?

Let’s get one thing straight- Shiba Inus is not a water-breed dog. This might answer your question related to their fondness for swimming.

However, this does not entirely mean your Shiba Inus will never swim. With the right type of training and early introduction to water, you can get your Shiba to enjoy swimming in no time. 

You only need to get them to socialize with water when they are a puppy so that they don’t develop unnecessary enmity with water later on when they grow up.

I made sure to introduce my Shiba Inus to water when it was just a puppy. The reason for doing this is that when this dog breed develops a feeling of hatred for something when they are young, they won’t change their feelings about it later on either. 

Therefore, I made sure to make my Shiba puppy comfortable around water when they were only a puppy, and let me tell you, my adorable canine definitely enjoys swimming now!

Now, what kind of waters and how deep Shiba Inus can go depends entirely upon their own personal preferences. Your Shiba Inus canine might either remain close to the shore of any pond or lake, or it might even go to the deeper end.

See also  Are Shiba Inu Loyal Companions? All You Need To Know

How To Teach You Shiba Inus To Swim?

The hardest task you’d encounter after getting a Shiba Inus to swim is to actually get them in the water. Your dog will definitely do anything to resist getting in the water.

Here are a few tips you can use to teach your Shiba Inus to swim:

Start off small

For the initial swimming lessons for your Shiba, start with a small kiddie pool, rather than letting it go to the deeper ends. Then, allow it to explore the small pool itself, so that it could feel more comfortable and confident in moving further. It is important not to rush the process, and to let your dog go at its own pace.

Introduce it to a small lake or river

After your Shiba has become comfortable with water at shallow ends, it would be a great idea to take your dog to a calm pond or small lake. 

When I took my Shiba puppy to a small lake after its initial interactions with water in my backyard pool, my adorable canine became much more comfortable in the water. Your puppy will first investigate the area this way, and then start wandering in the water itself. You’ll start seeing him splashing around in no time!

Here’s a clever trick you can use that really helped me- take along another dog of yours if you have any. This way, your other furry friend, who loves to swim, would be a great encouragement and motivator for your Shiba Inus!

Support it when they are in the water

When your dog finally takes a dip in the water, don’t forget to supervise it constantly. You must show it support when they’re in the water, as this is going to help them feel more safe and comfortable in the water. As soon as your Shiba Inus starts taking a swim, keep walking right next to it or nearby it to show them your full support.

Use toys

Another useful tip you can use to get your Shiba Inus to start swimming is to make use of some of its favorite toys.

You can either float some of its toys in the water or play fetch. When you’re playing fetch, throw the ball or any of its favorite toys just as you do. Then, throw it in the water. Your dog will then decide whether to step its paw in the water or not.

Whichever tip you use, just remember to keep each swimming experience fun and exciting for your Shiba Inus, rather than making it feel like a punishment for them.

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What are the benefits of swimming for your Shiba Inus?

There are numerous reasons why you should get your Shiba Inus to start swimming. Here are some of the prominent benefits of swimming:

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The ideal form of exercise

Every dog needs an adequate amount of exercise. If you can’t take your canine out for a walk or jog every day, a quick swim is an excellent form of exercise, that too in a much shorter time. 

Swimming will keep them active, and also strengthen their muscles. You don’t want an obese or lazy bum lying around in your house, do you?

Helps keep them healthy

Apart from physical fitness, swimming will also help your Shiba Inus to keep its heart-healthy and strong. This is because swimming enhances cardiovascular strength, and also keeps the blood pumping well. This way, your furry friend will not be at any risk of developing any heart problems in the future.

Helps eliminate behavioral problems

Shiba Inus can show aggressive behavior and assertiveness, especially if it is not made to exercise often enough. Therefore, by swimming often, your dog will release all its tension and energy that might build up. This way, your Shiba Inus will definitely show less problematic behaviors.

Helps keep them cool in summer

Because Shiba Inus is a double-coated breed, these dogs can easily overheat and feel lethargic in the hotter season. Therefore, a quick swim in the pool or water would be a great way to cool your adorable canine on hot days.

Tips For Safe Swimming 

When your Shiba Inus has finally learned how to swim and has gotten quite comfortable and fond of it, it does not mean you should not keep an eye on it. Here are a few safety tips you can use for your furry friend while swimming, to ensure they stay safe and out of danger every time:

Use a lifejacket

I used to make Shiba Inus wear a life jacket, which made me stress-free and more at ease, knowing my doggo will be out of any danger and away from any risk of accidentally drowning. 

Because this dog breed can get easily anxious, having anxiety in the middle of the pool would lead to a complete disaster. Therefore, using a lifejacket would be a great idea in this case. A lifejacket will also make your Shiba Inus more comfortable and confident in the water too!

Do not let them drink saltwater

Saltwater can be dangerous for dogs, as the salt in the water can easily lead to dehydration. To avoid this, make sure to first fully hydrate your canine before letting them go in the water or lake.

Clean out their ears

After they have done swimming or been in the water for the day, do not forget to clean out their ears. This is because dirty water, especially that of ponds and lakes, contains bacteria. Thus, your dog’s ears can become ideal breeding grounds for such bacteria.