Most dog breeds play with water and enjoy swimming a lot. So, one would imagine that Shiba Inus are similar and enjoy playing with water, too, thus end up asking; can Shiba Inus swim?
Shiba Inus don’t like swimming but can learn to swim. They’re instinctively afraid of water. But, you can socialize your Shiba with water and get them to like and start enjoying swimming with time. Swimming has lots of benefits to your Shiba, thus the need to socialize them with water.
This Shiba Inus swimming guide shows you how to introduce your canine friend to water by swimming, the importance of swimming, and the ways to get your Shiba to enjoy swimming sessions.
Table of Contents
Can Shiba Inus Swim?
Shiba Inus can swim, but they need training and socialization to make them water friendly.
Generally, Shibas aren’t water breeds. However, you can intervene and help your Shiba Inus learn how to swim and start enjoying doing it.
Shibas natural inclination is to avoid coming into contact with water. They avoid even the smallest amount of water like a puddle
The fear Shiba Inus has with water is weird. If you get your Shiba in water, they can decide to sit down on it rather than swim themselves out. However, with time, Shiba Inus get to start enjoying the water and change their attitude.
Moreover, some Shiba Inus love playing with water and swimming out of the blues without your intervention. I’ve encountered several cases where Shiba Inu owners talk about how they were surprised knowing their canine friends didn’t fear swimming.
However, rarely will you find a Shiba Inus that likes swimming or playing with water without the owner’s intervention. Most Shibas that like playing with water grew up in areas near water bodies.
Read our post on, do Shiba Inus like water?
Do Shiba Inus Like to Swim?
A good number of Shiba Inus naturally don’t like to swim but can learn how to do it and start to enjoy it onwards.
Not all Shiba Inus are afraid of swimming; some tend to be different. Some Shiba breeds like to swim and enjoy playing with water.
However, if you realize that your Shiba isn’t water-friendly, you don’t have to freak out. You can take the initiative to introduce your canine friend to water. Although it takes time, finally, your Shiba will begin enjoying swimming.
Most people assume that Shibas like to swim because they enjoy playing on the beach sand, which isn’t the case. Your Shiba might like playing on beach sand but might never step inside the water.
Since they’re instinctively not water breeds, Shibas don’t enjoy playing in the water. Most don’t even like any association with water. They avoid water bodies like plaque. However, you can intervene and help your Shiba Inus start liking water.
That said, can you teach your Shiba to swim? Let’s explore that below.
Can You Teach Shiba Inus to Swim?
Yes. You can teach Shiba Inus to swim, but it takes some time before they start enjoying it and doing it independently.
Teaching your Shiba Inus how to swim requires a gentle introduction. Because they’re not water breeds, you can’t just start them off by dipping them in large water bodies.
Instead, you can start by walking your Shiba near the edge of a water body. This helps to familiarize your canine friend with water.
When doing it, give plenty of treats. That helps them associate the new experience with something positive.
Teaching your Shiba Inus how to swim shouldn’t be a challenge. Since they already have baths, they aren’t significantly frightened when they come near a water body.
When teaching your Shiba Inus to swim, one pro-tip is playing fetch with your fur friend. You can start throwing the ball some feet inside the water and encourage your Shiba to fetch it.
Make sure the fetch ball doesn’t go far so that your Shiba can fetch it back and have the water reach their bellies. Now, keep advancing until your Shiba Inus knows how to paddle by themself. From that, you can let them swim on their own.
Another way to teach your Shiba Inus to swim is by holding them on your hand by the belly as they learn to paddle. Next, try to immerse your Shiba in the water, watching over them not to drown. However, I bet your Shiba can’t drown.
Dogs naturally know how to swim, only that Shiba Inus don’t like or enjoy the experience at first. However, with their owner’s time and effort, Shibas start enjoying the experience.
Let’s see how to teach your Shiba Inus to swim.
How To Teach Your Shiba Inus to Swim?
Teaching your Shiba Inus how to swim isn’t the challenging part since they have the doggy instincts to paddle. The hard part is getting them inside the water and making them start enjoying the experience.
Shiba Inus are so hydrophobic. So, getting them into a water body might be an enduring challenge. However, by taking things slowly and one step at a time, you’ll finally get your Shiba Inus in water.
The best way I always recommend is tricking your Shiba into thinking it was their idea to get into the water. So, how do you trick them?
You can trick them using a game like playing the fetch. That way, it’s your Shiba’s decision to get into the water, not yours.
Therefore, the goal is to make your Shiba Inus want to swim rather than go in the water with no intention of swimming. I’ll take you through two options that help get your Shiba Inus in the water and want to swim.
Getting Your Shiba Inus to Swim (Option 1)
Maintaining a good mood and atmosphere when around water. Begin by approaching the water body and stay in close vicinity. Now use treats and toys while around so that your Shiba remains calm.
The idea is to ensure your Shiba mentality knows it’s a fun place to be around.
Introduce your Shiba Inus to water gently. If your Shiba is already comfortable playing around the water body, it’s time to introduce them into the water. Do this by putting your Shiba in a shallow point of the water body as you watch their reaction.
If your Shiba is comfortable at this point, you can proceed to the next step. However, if your Shiba isn’t comfy, take a break and resume some other time.
Take your Shiba Inus a bit deeper. If your Shiba doesn’t go deeper voluntarily, help them do it. You can use a fetch ball and throw it some feet inside the water. You can offer support by holding your Shiba by their belly.
Let Your Shiba Inus swim. As you hold your canine friend by the belly, observe if they’re starting to paddle. If they do, let them swim by themselves as you watch to avoid drowning.
Repeat this process severally. Your Shiba will get to start liking and enjoying the experience with time.
Getting Your Shiba Inus to Swim (Option 2 – My Best)
Start Them Off with Shallow Waters. Find the edge of the water body with shallow waters, and help your Shiba Inus to step inside. You can use some treats, toys, or a fetch ball to make sure your Shiba walks into the water. Although they might be reluctant, walk-in yourself to motivate them.
Play Fetch Game Around the Water. Playing this game makes your Shiba calm and friendly to the surrounding. Begin by throwing the ball on the side without water, then keep doing it little as you near the water body.
Finally, throw the ball some feet inside the water and see if your Shiba goes for it. If your Shiba doesn’t, don’t give a treat. But if they do, give the treat.
Keep Throwing the Fetch Ball Further Inside the Water. If your Shiba Inus is comfy playing fetch in the shallow water, throw the ball more feet inside. Now, they’re closer to swimming. Also, ensure to throw it to a deeper end where their feet won’t have access to the ground.
If your canine friend is afraid, offer support until they paddle successfully.
Offer Support When Your Shiba Is Approaching the Deeper End. Offer support when your Shiba is trying to swim to the further end. Do this until your Shiba knows how to paddle successfully.
Once you see that your Shiba is swimming well enough to do it alone, you can let them do it.
Repeat this process until your Shiba is not afraid of water anymore.
What Are the Benefits of Teaching Shibas to Swim?
Benefits that come from swimming include;
- Helps You Bond with Your Shiba Inus
- Helps Your Shiba Keep Fit
- Offers Exciting Exercise
- It Keeps Shibas Heart Healthy
- Helps Release Pressure on The Joints
- Keeps Shibas Cool on Hot Days
What’s more about each benefit above;
1. Helps You Bond with Your Shiba Inus
When teaching your Shiba Inus how to swim, you bond with one another. Also, your Shiba knows they can trust you. The more you teach your Shiba Inu to swim, the further the bond grows.
Therefore, apart from socializing and training, teaching your Shiba Inus to swim is also a way to bond with them.
2. Helps Your Shiba Keep Fit
As your Shiba Inus learns to paddle in the water, their body gets to exercise. Besides, swimming puts the entire body in motion, thus keeping them fit.
You can jump into the pool together if you don’t feel like taking your Shiba Inus for a walk. That’s a better alternative and keeps your fur friend fit.
3. Offers Exciting Exercise
Swimming is exciting and interesting to your Shiba. As such, when your Shiba Inus is swimming, it’s an exciting experience that also benefits them health-wise.
Shibas not only swim but also get to exercise their body. When you feel tired and have no interest in going for walks, you can simply jump into the pool with your Shiba Inus.
Check our post on, do Shiba Inus need a lot of exercise?
4. It Keeps Shibas Heart Healthy
When your Shiba Inus is swimming, the heart gets to pump blood across the body. As such, a good flow of blood boosts heart health. Therefore, teaching your Shiba to swim improves the health status of their heart.
Besides, the more the swimming, the fewer the heart problems.
5. Helps Release Pressure on The Joints
If your Shiba stays for long without exercising, there’s pressure build-up on their joints. Now, swimming helps remove this pressure and keep them healthy.
This pressure builds up due to constant running and walking. Since swimming is a different type of exercise, it alleviates this pressure.
If your Shiba suffers from joint problems, swimming is a good form of exercise to ease these problems.
6. Keeps Shibas Cool During Hot Days
Shibas, just like their owners, want a cooling moment when the sun is scorching hot. This cooling moment comes from learning how to swim.
Besides, Shibas double coat keeps them overheating when it’s hot. Therefore, swimming helps them cool down.
What Are Safety Tips When Teaching Your Shiba Inus How to Swim?
Safety tips to observe when teaching your Shiba Inus how to swim include;
- Get Your Shiba Inus a Life Jacket
- Keep Your Shiba Hydrated
- Clean Their Ears Before the Swimming Sessions
What should you know about the safety tips above? Let’s see that below;
1. Get Your Shiba Inus a Life Jacket
A life jacket prevents your Shiba Inus from drowning when entering deep waters. Therefore, you might want to get them one to avoid the risks of drowning.
A life jacket offers support and protection. Besides, your Shiba can swim for a long time without putting so much effort into staying afloat.
2. Keep Your Shiba Hydrated
Before going for the swimming sessions, hydrate your Shiba with fresh water. Provide clean drinking water before swimming so they won’t want to drink it in the pool.
If your canine friend is thirsty at the time, they might end up drinking the pool water.
3. Clean Their Ears Before and After the Swimming Sessions
Since water pools have dirt that can mix with the wax in your Shibas ears and create a breeding ground for bacteria, cleaning their ears before and after swimming is of help.
After every swimming session, ensure to clean your Shibas ears. Cleaning also helps prevent nasty ear infections.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Shibas Waterproof?
Shiba Inus have a double-coat, where the soft inner coat is waterproof.
The soft inner coat is oily due to Shibas oil secretion, making them waterproof. However, it doesn’t mean that water can’t access their skin.
When the whole Shiba Inu body is in water, the coat allows water to pass through to the skin.
Are Shiba Inus Afraid of Water?
Shiba Inus are afraid of water since they’re not water breeds.
However, despite Shibas being afraid of water, they can learn how to play with it and start enjoying encounters with water, such as swimming.
Do Shiba Inus Like to Play in Snow?
Yes, Shiba Inus like to play and romp in snow since they have a waterproof undercoat that keeps them warm even when in snow.
Most Shibas enjoy being in snow and roll, pounce, leap, and burrow themselves in freshly fallen snow. So, when you see your Shiba play when it’s snowy, don’t worry; they’re just enjoying the experience.
Do Shiba Inus Like to Play on The Beach?
Yes, Shiba Inus likes to play in the beach sand and will spend hours jogging from one side to another.
However, Shibas that don’t like water might find playing around the beach scary.
Why Do Shibas Hate Baths?
Shiba Inus dislike baths as they’re not water breeds. They dislike baths and grown the whole time when taking a bath.
Although they hate baths, Shibas learn how to take baths without being afraid. But it takes them some time before they accept baths and do it without growling and screaming.
The Parting Shot On, Can Shiba Inus Swim.
Although Shiba Inus instinctively fears water, they can learn and start enjoying a swimming session.
Surprisingly, some Shibas like to swim naturally without the owner’s intervention. But these are rare cases. A good number of Shibas don’t swim until their owner takes the initiative to teach them how to do it.
Swimming is good for Shibas health, thus the need to teach your Shiba Inus how to swim. At this point, you must be familiar with the swimming tips and the precautions to take when teaching your fur friend how to swim.
At first, Shibas are afraid to swim, but they get to learn and enjoy it after a couple of swimming sessions.