Do Border Collies like water?

Border Collies are awesome, intelligent, and agile dog breeds, but do Border Collies like water and swimming?

If you consider having a Border Collie as your pet, it is a good idea to know how much time you will be spending at ponds, creeks, lakes, streams or at your own pool. Your canine will make sure you actively participate in these activities, so you better be prepared.

Do Border Collies like water?

Generally yes, Border Collies like water and swimming, but it could be a personal choice by an individual dog and how they were introduced to water as puppies in the past.

Border Collies are not among the best swimming dogs like Poodle, Newfoundland, Retriever, Setter, or Labrador but usually, they like playing in the water and having fun.

Apart from their normal exercises like mustering cattle or sheep, they are capable of swimming and in most cases, they like it very much.

Swimming is a great exercise

Similar to humans, swimming is a great exercise for dogs. It is a safe and low-impact activity that increases your dog mussels and help delay the onset of arthritis and other age-related problems. 

Also, swimming helps to burn tones of calories without stressing growing bones or aging joints like with other activities.

Saying simply, swimming helps your dog to be healthy.


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Not all dogs are swimmers

We mentioned already that some dogs are natural swimmers and simply love water. 

In general, all dogs have an instinctive ability to paddle, but it does now mean they like to be in the water. 

The same rule applies to Border Collies – most of them like it, but that’s not a rule. Some may stay away from water no matter what you do and how much effort you put into it. 

The reason some Border Collies don’t like water could be related to how and when they were introduced to water or swimming and what memories they kept from that first interaction.

Often, it comes to some facial structures or body build that make some breeds stay away from water and others jumping into it once they see it.

Our Border Collie, Capri was afraid to jump in the pool for a long time. Our pool is 2.4 meters deep with steps only in one corner. I think her main concern was that while she was ok to step in on the second step in the water, she could not go any further as she was losing ground under her paws.

Do Border Collies like water - swimming and fetching sticks
Do Border Collies like water – swimming and fetching sticks

This is how it was in Capri’s first summer with us, and she was only one year old, so still a puppy. We hope that next summer she will be more willing to go into the water and she already has a lot of experience swimming in creeks, ponds, lakes, and the ocean.

Correct water introduction matters

Swimming for dogs is similar to humans. Often happens that the way we were introduced to water as children have a strong impact if we like water or we are afraid of it.

I remember when I was four years old I went to a creek with my father. I really had a good time, but at some moment, when we were crossing shallow water I slipped and my head got submerged underwater for a second or two. My father pulled me quickly but it was enough for me to be scared of water for a very long time.

With dogs it is similar. 

In general, puppies don’t like it if their paws don’t touch the ground while they are in the water. 

Trying to throw a puppy into a pool or small pond is a bad idea as it will only scare them off and in the future, they will hate the water.

Another thing to avoid is to not pour water directly on the dog’s head while you wash your dog. You rather put some water on your palm and gently wash the head.

Do border collies like water

Depending on your dog breed and natural instinct some dogs start jumping to water as puppies already but others may stay away from water age for a long time. 

The question arises, how to introduce your Border Collie to water without scaring your dog in the first place.

How to safely introduce your Border Collie to water?

If you see your Border Collie or any dog breed is not sure about water, especially in the early years, do a slow introduction to water with a few steps like below. 

Try to not rush as this can put your dog off for a long time. Also, don’t use your swimming pool as the water might be too deep and scary for the dog.

Start in shallow water

Shallow water creeks with water less than 15 cm deep are a great way to familiarize your dog with water. 

First, try to play with a stick or a ball next to the creek. Once your dog is in a playful mode, try to throw it on the edge of the water. Finally, throw the stick or a ball in the water, further away from the edge.

By doing that the dog will not even notice that the ball landed in the water as it was a continuous exercise. 

After a few times at the creek, visit a lake and play on its edge. Your dog may try to swim there for the first time.

Do Border Collies like water - introduction in a shallow creek
Do Border Collies like water – introduction in a shallow creek

Another way is to use a small inflatable pool. These children’s pools are normally very shallow and can be placed anywhere in the garden. The only worry is that if you have an energetic dog it can puncture the bottom of the pool jumping in and out.

Clip your dog’s claws before playing in the inflatable pool to avoid punctures.

Use floatation jacket

There are dogs’ safety jackets designed to help your dog to stay afloat while in the water. These jackets are normally hooked around the dog’s chest and under its belly and have a handle on the back so you can grab them with ease.

People often use it for dogs that love swimming and have mobility issues. Similar to humans, make sure you get one that exactly fits your dog.

Do it with your dog

It is more fun for your dog if you fully participate in water activities. The dog will also be more secure that everything is right.

If your dog just entered the water for the first time, hold it around its midsection so it is able to paddle with its front and back paws while getting support from you.

Let it get back to shore

Never force your dog to stay in the water if it does not want to. Let it choose freely what to do. 

Initially, the dog will stay in the water for a short time, but if not forced, it will start enjoying it.

Make swimming regular

Make swimming a regular activity during the week. By doing that your dog will get familiar with swimming and will get used to it.

Always keep an eye on the dog

Before letting your dog enter the water always assess the situation. If you think it is unsafe to swimming go somewhere else.

If you live in Northern Australia teach your dog to follow strict commands as many waterways have saltwater crocodiles that would attack your pet from the water edge without any warning.

While in the water, watch out for your dog if there are no hazards around.

Swimming has to be a lot of fun and not trauma for the dog.

Do Border Collies like to swim? – Summary

Border Collies like swimming or fetching sticks or balls from the water. However, they are not on the list of best swimming dogs.

Most of the Border Collies are playful and they would be looking for an opportunity to get into the water and have fun. Some individuals will be less likely to swim, but that could be caused by a wrong introduction to water when they were puppies.

When you have a Border Collie puppy, introduce it slowly, step by step, and they will be enjoying swimming and fetching toys in the water for a very long time.

Have you got a Border Collie that is scared of water? Please write a comment below.


Brain Training for Dogs

Brain Training for Dogs was developed by CPDT-KA certified dog trainer Adrianne Farricelli. CPDT-KA stands for Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed.

Adrienne lives in Arizona with her husband and two amazing Rottweilers and she is passionate about dogs. She was featured in USA Today and Every Dog magazine and also contributed to eHow and All Experts.

Her Brain Training for Dogs program helped thousands of struggling dog owners all over the world.

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