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Do Huskies Like Water? Can They Swim?

There is a common belief that Huskies can’t swim, partially because they were bred to work in the snow.

Does that really stop them from liking to swim?

Does their breeding make them steer clear of water?

Let’s take a deeper look to find out.

Husky Breeding

Huskies were developed to work in cold and frozen climates to pull sleds and loads.

Sometimes they work in packs and sometimes alone, depending on the owner’s needs.

Their coats are thick, which helps them stay nice and warm — something that is extremely beneficial in their cold, natural environment.

In such an environment, Huskies avoid water.

This makes sense as getting wet there could lead to hypothermia.

And who wants to swim in the cold?

husky in water

Do Huskies Like to Swim in Warmer Climates?

As they are not accustomed to swimming, many people assume they don’t like it.

That’s actually not the case, though.

Like any other dog — or human, for that matter — some Huskies like swimming while others don’t.

Some quickly learn to love getting wet, while others completely avoid the water.

Sometimes, this like or dislike comes directly from their first introduction to water.

If it’s a harsh or scary one, they might be traumatized and never want to get into it again.

However, if it’s a gentle, enjoyable experience, they’ll probably want to replicate it.

How to Teach Your Husky to Swim

If you want your four-legged friend to join you in the pool or the beach, there are some steps you can take.

Get a Doggie Life Vest

No one wants to feel like they’re drowning.

If your Husky gets in but quickly finds his head going underwater, he’s likely going to panic.

He’ll almost certainly never get back in the water.

If you get your pup a life vest, he can float and paddle to his heart’s desire — all with his head above water.

This will produce happy feelings that he should want to experience again.

Avoid the Deep End

This is not one of those “sink or swim” times.

You need to give him an enjoyable introduction — not a traumatic one.

Start at the stairs of the pool or edge of the ocean.

Let him get his paws wet and get used to the feeling.

Walk yourself in slowly, and he’ll most likely follow you.

Let Them Watch

Sometimes, all your Husky needs is to see other dogs swimming, and they’ll want to jump right in.

This is not always the case, of course, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Fetch

Generally speaking, all dogs love to play fetch.

You can try encouraging your Husky to go into the water by throwing their favorite ball or a stick.

Be prepared, though, to get it yourself if your pup decides it isn’t worth it.

Praise and Rewards

Positive reinforcement typically always works.

Every time they make progress going into the water — even if it’s just a step or two — praise or reward them.

If they respond well to praise, this might be all you need.

However, having some treats on hand can go a long way.

Know When to Stop

If you go until they are worn out, they won’t remember it as a positive experience.

Start with small swimming sessions.

Do a little, get them into the rhythm, and then end on a happy note.

Remember, give them a lot of praise, and maybe an awesome treat, like an ice cream cone.

Conclusion

It may be true that Huskies aren’t “natural” swimmers, but that’s just because they weren’t bred for it, and that information wasn’t passed down genetically.

If you are willing to be patient, though, you can help them learn to swim and love it.

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