Do Poodles Like Water?

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poodles jumping in the water

If you own a Poodle or Doodle mix-breed, you might have wondered if you can take your best friend along to a fun swim. Do Poodles enjoy swimming? Do they like water? How can you help your Poodle have the best possible experience if it is his first time going swimming?

In this article we will explore everything about Poodles and water.

black poodle in a pool

Born to swim – Poodles love water!

Poodles are known as AKC show dogs these days, but their origin was quite different. Coming from Europe – specifically Germany –  they used to be hard-working retrievers, working alongside hunters and retrieving fowl from lakes and rivers. The reason behind the Poodle’s unique coat is in fact this origin of the breed: it was originally developed to dry quickly and to be low maintenance when it gets wet frequently.

Based on the breed’s origin, it is clear that a well-bred Poodle from working lines will love to spend time in and around the water.

How do you teach a Poodle to swim?

If your Poodle has never been in the water yet, you can gradually introduce him to swimming. Make sure to utilize treats that he enjoys or toys that motivate him to make the experience as positive as possible!

Ideally you want to pick a natural body of water for your dog’s first swim. The reason is that if he cannot see the ground, he will be much more trusting and able to commit to wading in deeper and deeper. If dogs can see the bottom of e.g. a swimming pool, they tend to be much more afraid!

The best places to teach your Poodle to swim are lakes that have shallow areas, or slow-moving, shallow rivers. If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, even getting your Poodle to play in puddles is a great first step!

miniature poodle on rock
brown poodle running at beach
  1. Choose a location with shallow water. Your Poodle should be able to very gradually wade in deeper and deeper.
  2. If your Poodle likes the company of other dogs, ask some friends to bring their dogs. Dogs learn to swim much faster if they are surrounded by their friends and are playing with them together in the water!
  3. Have your Poodle wade into the water. Don’t force him to swim at all. Simply give him treats or throw his toys to positively encourage him.
  4. If your Poodle is in the water far enough to just about swim, call him in a really happy and encouraging voice, You can also coax him with a treat or two. As soon as he starts swimming towards you, give him a treat and then let him return to more shallow water.
  5. The shorter you make the actual “swim intervals” in the beginning, the quicker your Poodle will learn. One of the most common mistakes is that owners try to push their dogs too far, too soon on their path to learning to swim. The more patient you are, the faster your Poodle will swim in the long run!

Do Poodles hate water?

Poodles are not naturally averse to water like some other dog breeds. However, if puppies are not introduced to swimming when young, they may be apprehensive. This is especially true for Miniature and Toy Poodles, which tend to live more “pampered” lives. The less exposure your Poodle had to water and different surfaces such as snow, sand, ice etc. when he was a puppy, the higher the chances that he would dislike the water and take quite some convincing to go in.

It’s really important to note that even lap dogs can and should lead “normal” dog lives – meaning spending time outside, getting dirty and experiencing different surfaces and surroundings.

If you are raising a Miniature or Toy Poodle, do not just keep your dog inside on your lap – he needs to get out and explore the world just like his big cousins!

white poodle in bathtub

Do Poodles dislike being bathed?

Yes, some indeed do not like being bathed at all! This can be due to owners using the wrong shampoo for their Poodle, not getting the dog used to being bathed as a puppy or – the worst case – the Poodle’s coat is already so tangled and matted that it hurts the dog to be bathed!

If you get your Poodle used to being bathed about every 3-4 weeks as a puppy, bathing him later in life will be easy-peasy.

Make sure that you brush your Poodle’s coat before bathing him. Otherwise you could literally felt his fur! Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner that will leave his hair smooth and shiny. 

You should combine bath time with something pleasant for your Poodle: It could be a special treat afterwards, getting to play with his favorite toy or getting a massage from you. If you attach a positive association to it, your Poodle will like being bathed much better.