An ideal family companion on Sundays and the life of the party for the rest of the week. Does that sound familiar? The American Eskimo is quite the showman... while they are happy, affectionate, and very people-oriented by nature, the breed is also known for its playful and high-spirited demeanor. Interestingly, Eskies were once favorite circus performers so it’s no wonder they enjoy being the center of attention so much. And when summertime comes along, you can clearly see their natural characteristics by the way they tend to express themselves: swimming in the backyard pool or performing the wittiest tricks… it’s all part of the American Eskimo’s creative ground.
The Root of the Behavior
Coming from a long line of European Spitz dogs, the American Eskimo has been used in traveling circuses and displaying tricks for quite some time. If there’s one thing that this breed loves to do then that is to play and have as much fun as possible. Eskies tend to be energetic, intelligent, friendly, independent, and extremely warm and affectionate toward family members. While they can be more than happy living in an apartment, an American Eskimo dog needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation so they don’t run the risk of becoming bored and mischievous at times. His playful nature and vigorous exercise requirements will cause him to jump or bark excessively when his needs are not met. While they can make excellent guards and watchdogs, Eskies are also big fans of the water and will enjoy splashing around in the pool during the summer. Which is why this type of breed is best suited for families with fenced-in yards and plenty of room to run.
If you live an apartment and are considering getting an American Eskimo as a pet, you need to be aware of potentially destructive behaviors such as depression, separation anxiety, or suspiciousness around strangers. Although there are many alternatives to provide him with daily exercises, such as dog parks, it’s best if your American Eskimo has access to plenty of room to roam around freely. Another reason that qualifies them to be such swim lovers is their double coat, which is thick enough to resist water. Their strong legs and feet also allow them to trot with bold, energetic action, as they are very fast learners and are fantastic at learning new tricks. The name suggests they do well in colder climates and love to frolic around in the snow, although they will enjoy more temperate areas just as much.
Encouraging the Behavior
We’ve already established that the American Eskimo dog needs a lot of exercise and play time to feel truly happy. But just as every breed has its own differences, so does every dog belonging to a certain family. If you want to rest assured that your Eskie is 100% safe while playing in or near water, you have to keep an eye on him periodically, especially during the summer months. If your doggie is not an excellent swimmer but still loves to jump in the water, you’ll need to teach him how to do it.
Take it step by step and start with choosing an area that is quiet, secluded, and safe to conduct your lesson. Otherwise, he might get distracted by the activity around him and pay no attention to your training at all. Use your hand to guide him until he is comfortable enough to “let go” and gain more control over his reflexes. While training, don’t use strong, harsh words. Instead, you should encourage him with firmness, fairness, patience and consistency. At the same time, refrain yourself from forcing or throwing him into the water and use treats to build up his confidence and strength, until he is able to paddle effectively and on his own.
Other Solutions and Considerations
The post-swimming ritual is also important for the safety and wellbeing of your pooch. Make sure he gets a good shower after the swimming session is over, to help get rid of any residual chemicals or algae that might be clinging to his hair. Follow up with a good final rinse with fresh water and give your Eskie enough time to rest. Encourage his positive behavior by rewarding him with treats and praise him for his well-earned ability to swim, so that he may associate the lesson with a positive experience. Repeat the lessons until he no longer needs your guidance but make sure you are always around to check up on him.
If your American Eskimo dog is reluctant to go swimming, do not force him to do it. Encourage his innate need for physical exercise and sports, by training him in a calm and reassuring manner. American Eskimos have been devoted companion dogs for centuries and crave human affection. Let them display their love for fun, excitement, and water in a safe and friendly environment.