The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular types of breeds, easily recognizable for their gorgeous looks, cheerful temperament, and comfort around children. Goldens are obedient, playful, and always well-mannered, making them the classic family companion first-time owners look for. Think about it, have you ever met a mean Golden Retriever? Speaking of playful personalities, Golden Retrievers are also known for their instinctive love of water and craving for outdoor activities. Have you ever wondered why that is? Let’s find out more about what makes a Golden such a loyal and charismatic breed and why do they love the water so much.
The Root of the Behavior
As the name suggests, Golden Retrievers were once bred for the physically demanding job of retrieving ducks and other fowl for hunters. Originally from Scotland, Goldens were used to find and retrieve prey, while waiting for gunshots. In many cases, they needed to “get wet” in order to fetch and bring back the prey to their hunting companions. Luckily, Golden Retrievers have a dense, water-repellent outer coat with a thick undercoat, which insulates them against the cold, while the upper layer is longer and lies flat, repelling water. All of these physical characteristics give them an advantage when it comes to swimming and hiking alongside their owners. It’s been said that their innate love for water has been given by the initial breeding process of crossing a yellow flat coated retriever with a water spaniel, and then subsequently crossing the offspring once more with water spaniels and other breeds. However, genetics don’t always come into play when referring to this situation. Take, for example, those Golden Retrievers that prefer to steer away from swimming in the pool.
Although the majority of them love the water, there are some Goldens who choose not to get their coat wet. There are plenty of puppies out there who don’t like swimming but will go crazy for the water once they become adults. It has a lot to do with their upbringing and the influence of their environment. If the mother is gentle about introducing her pups to the water in a pleasant way, it’s more likely they will grow up to enjoy swimming just as much as she does. And given that Golden Retrievers are very easy to train, you shouldn’t have any issues in teaching them how to swim. It’s not only a good source of physical exercise, it’s also important for their mental stimulation and overall wellbeing.
Encouraging the Behavior
Golden Retrievers are a breeze to train. This should help you a lot in teaching them how to swim. If you are a water lover yourself, you’ll never find a better companion than the Golden Retriever. They will not only take your game of fetch into the pool or pond and burn off their energy with a water workout, but they will also love to accompany you to the beach or your favorite lakeside retreat. Swimming is an excellent exercise for Goldens, even when they are young.
Introduce them to the water and let them explore things on their own. If they are unsure about their surroundings, you can get in and swim out a bit to encourage them, but let them take their own time. Whether they’re resistant at first or not, you should never think about tossing them into the water. To make things a little more enticing, you could also throw in their favorite toy, but be prepared to go out and retrieve it yourself if they don’t. Also, be careful about bringing your Golden along on a boating trip if he doesn’t know how to swim at all. Some dogs will jump off boats at mooring balls and get lost as a consequence.
Other Solutions and Considerations
We have already established that Golden Retrievers need plenty of exercise to keep healthy and fit. If you can’t get to the beach any time soon, you can always use your swimming pool to help them release all of their water-loving energy. Just remember that the dog hair in the pool will mean you’ll need to clean it more frequently, as Goldens shed a lot. Knowing how to get out of the swimming pool is also very important for your doggie. Furthermore, make sure you don’t exercise him in the heat of the day and always give him access to shade during the hot months.
Golden Retrievers love to be in the water. Whether it is the beach, the river, a lake or your own swimming pool, this type of breed will definitely enjoy splashing around when temperatures go high. Make sure you don’t leave them unattended when they’re out in the water and keep away from strict training methods, as Goldens don't respond well to harsh tones and discipline.