Especially as the weather starts to warm up, many people will jump in the pool or head to the beach to cool down, taking their pets with them. But Corgi owners might worry about their stocky little fur babies being able to keep up in the water or stay safe on a boat. Even the pool in your yard might seem too dangerous for them, but can Welsh Corgis swim?
With practice, Corgis can swim well, though they weren’t bred for it originally. Learning to swim is a process for all dogs and takes time to learn. Beginning swimmers and dogs less suited to it like a Corgi should wear life jackets. Always monitor your dog while they’re swimming.
Read on for more about Corgi swimming, helping them adjust to being in the water, and how to keep them as safe as possible.
Can Corgis Swim?
Some dogs are more suited for swimming than others- Cocker Spaniels, for instance, have webbed feet- but all dogs, including Corgis, can swim. Corgis weren’t bred with swimming in mind, but many of them love the water anyway.
Swimming is a great form of exercise for both you and your dog. Dogs who swim get highly beneficial and low-impact exercise, and it’s been shown to lower their stress levels as well (Source: Top Dog Health). Some veterinarian hospitals will use hydrotherapy as part of your dog’s treatment as well.
Swimming is especially great for overweight Corgis as the water holds most of their weight as they exercise, relieving pressure and strain on joints, so if yours has started to pudge out, this can be a great way to get them back in shape.
As long as they’re introduced to swimming safely, there’s no reason that a Corgi can’t learn to swim and keep you company on your watery endeavors. Due to their short legs and long bodies, Corgis should wear a lifejacket while swimming (Source: American Kennel Club.org).
When introducing dogs to water, it’s best to start them young, creating a positive association with water by using treats and encouragement. If you want your Corgi to love swimming, do not use water as a discipline. If a dog learns that water means they’ve been bad, they will avoid it, which can lead to problems teaching them to swim, giving them baths, or getting them to behave for a groomer.
Some doggy daycares or boarding facilities have pools for dogs to enjoy on warm days, so it’s a good idea to make sure any daycare you send your Corgi to has a lifejacket policy or provide one of your own for your dog to wear if there’s a pool on site.
How do I Teach my Corgi to Swim?
Teaching your Corgi to swim will take a while, so if you’re planning a big swim trip, start teaching your pet weeks in advance if possible. If your pet is showing signs of stress or discomfort, stop the training immediately and try again in a few days after they’ve calmed down.
You can search for videos and guides for how to train your dog to swim or consult a local dog trainer to make sure you’re doing the process correctly and safely.
Get Your Corgi Used to Water
Before they swim, dogs need to be comfortable around water. Unless you’re lucky enough to live by the shore, you’ll need some equipment to start the process; a kiddie pool or something similar.
Encourage your Corgi to get into the water using positive reinforcement. Throw a waterproof toy they love into the pool or tempt them in with treats. Give them control over the process and stop immediately if they become scared or stressed. Try introducing the pool again after a few days. If they continue to be afraid, consult a professional trainer.
For puppies and small dogs like Corgis, you can also use the tub or sink instead of a pool, which can double as training for behaving at bath time. Start at a low water level- just enough to cover their feet, for example- and gradually increase it.
If you do live near a beach where you can train your dog to swim, use a similar process of treats and positive attention as you gradually let them walk into deeper water, checking if they’re comfortable. In this case, be sure your Corgi is wearing a life jacket at all times near the water.
Let Them Start Swimming
After your Corgi is comfortable with water, you can start encouraging them to swim. Let them walk into the water deep enough that their feet don’t touch the ground or gently lead them into the shallow end of a pool.
Dogs will instinctively paddle with their legs, and this is the best way for them to get around in the water, but getting the hang of it can take time. If you see your dog struggling as they learn to paddle, give them support by placing your hands under them on their ribcage.
From there, it’s simply a matter of practice, so keep swimming with your dog regularly until they get the hang of it. For a more in-depth guide on teaching puppies, in particular, to swim, click here.
Here are some tips from the American Kennel Club on teaching your dog to swim!
Three Tips for Keeping your Corgi Safe While Swimming
Safety first! While your Corgi is learning to swim, it’s important to keep them safe. Here are a few essential tips for keeping your Corgi safe while they’re swimming.
Limit Swimming Access
If you have a pool in your backyard, seriously consider putting a fence around it to protect your dog, especially if they’re going outside on their own. Pool covers can also keep accidents from occurring. Even the best doggy swimmers can get hurt or fall in unexpectedly.
If you live by a body of water or are visiting one on vacation, make sure you can keep your pet from going into the water when you aren’t there to make sure they’re safe.
Buy a Lifejacket for them- and use it!
Most pet supply stores will carry lifejackets that will fit your Corgi, and of course, you can order one online. Any life jacket you get should have a D-ring to attach your leash to and fit your dog comfortably.
A good trick for sizing on a dog is called the two-finger rule, meaning that you should be able to comfortably fit two fingers under their vest while it is tight enough that your dog can’t slip out of it.
If you’re ordering online, most apparel for dogs will be sized by weight/build. Getting an adjustable life jacket will help you ensure the perfect fit or that you can use the vest for longer if your pup is still growing.
Corgis are small but densely built dogs, so the extra buoyancy while swimming is a big bonus for them, and it can save their life. Consider getting a brightly colored life jacket as well to make them easier to spot in the water or on the beach.
Always Watch Your Corgi While They Swim
Your pet should never be unsupervised while playing with water that they can drown in. No matter how well they swim, accidents are always a possibility. Better swimmers won’t need you in the pool with them all the time, but staying close by is the safest choice to make.
Swimming is a fun and healthy way to play with your dog or have adventures that include even the furriest members of the family. As long as you take the time to properly teach your Corgi to swim and take the steps to keep them safe, they can play in the water their whole life long, even getting some health benefits from it!