Swimming with Big Mac Boxers

Swimming is an excellent way to keep dogs in top condition and has therapeutic benefits for senior animals with joint issues. To teach your puppy to be social in/around water with positive reinforcement is the foundation to a lifetime of fun and fitness. It is also imperative for those who own a pool or live near water, to prevent the tragedy of an accidental drowning. With time and patience, teaching your boxer to swim is a fun way to bond & build trust.

Building confidence in the water with your boxer will take many training sessions. Swimming is not a survival instinct that all dogs are born with. Boxers are not genetic swimmers, this is a trained habit!  They do not have webbed feet or a tail to help them maneuver in the water like the Newfoundland or Lab. However, with proper instruction you can teach your puppy/dog to swim and how to maneuver around the pool or lake.

Int. CH Big Mac’s I Dream of Jeannie “Demi” started swimming at the young age of 12 weeks.
It’s wise for the novice to start puppies out with a water hose or child’s shallow swimming pool.

Demi layin out

Getting Started

Safety & precaution are paramount to all water play/sports!!!

  • Never leave your dog unattended by or in the water.
  • Teach them where to enter & exit. (ex. Pool stairs, Ramp, or Rocks)
  • Make sure you purchase a life jacket that fits properly.

Once basic safety precautions are in place, you can get started on familiarizing your boxer with water. The first lessons should be short; you should support the pup’s body with your hands holding his chest and lower him in slowly keeping his head way above the water. Depending on the trust level you have with them a dog might splash or bash at the water, (for some this is normal) if this happens hold the dog closer to your body and its head higher out of the water until it stops. After your pups calms and begins to relax just hold and stroke his head using the works E-A-S-Y in a soothing voice. Let him float while you hold him walking around getting more comfortable with the surroundings.  Then get a few feet away from the exit (steps, shore, ramp etc) and let your dog go. After they have reached the exit praise the pup and say YES, GOOD JOB!  Repeat this several times a day, getting further away from the exit until your pup is confident enough to come in when he is called.

***Boxers swallow a lot of water when swimming this is normal so make sure they go potty frequently afterwards. ***

Myah……When dogs first learn to swim it is wise to put them in a life jacket. This keeps them safe.  Especially in water where you cannot see the bottom like a lake or river, I keep the leash on too this is something else to grab onto if they get in distress.

After your dog is a confident swimmer and gets use to the sound of the boat you can then progress on to tubing. A euro boxer is a multi use animal, made for family fun.

Sparta Puppy “Jax “4 months old enjoying his family pool.

Myah as pup getting use to the water

After your dog is a confident swimmer and gets use to the sound of the boat you can then progress on to tubing. A euro boxer is a multi use animal, made for family fun.

Mischa having fun in the sun!

Meeka (13 months old) cooling off in the hot KY summer.

Boxer and (DM) Degenerative Myelopathy or Arthritis, I have never owned a dog with this condition but have read many articles on how the disease slowly wastes the hindquarters. Ask you veterinarian if he feels if swimming is a good workout choice for your boxer before starting this activity. Swimming can be very therapeutic to help maintain and strengthen the hindquarters. Older dogs can learn how it swims but it will take longer for them to feel comfortable in the water. Use a lifejacket to help older dogs feel safe and keep them afloat for ease on the joints.

Mac at 11 years of age, he always enjoyed swimming and resting on the steps letting the jets hit him.

Written by:
Jeannie M McElroy
Big Mac Boxers