For many breeds, water is a welcome respite from the summer heat. They love to dive right in and start to doggy paddle across a large body of water. Some even like to chase toys thrown into the water in a rousing game of fetch. Others have a hard time getting wet as a result of their thicker coats and undercoats.
Where do Anatolian Shepherds fall on this spectrum?
Many Anatolian Shepherds do love to swim, but not all of them will enjoy this sport. If your dog enjoys the water, swimming is easy on their joints which makes exercise easier. It is great for their cardiovascular health and muscle development as well.
If you want to learn more about how this breed interacts with water and how to introduce them to swimming safely, keep reading!
Do Anatolian Shepherds Like to Swim? Do they like water?
Anatolian Shepherds fall somewhere in the middle between dogs who adore the sport of swimming and dogs who prefer to spend their afternoons basking on the sun of the shoreline. Many of them will love the water, but you will always find a few holdouts. Their bodies are built in a way that makes them very capable swimmers.
One of the reasons that you want to encourage your pup to swim is for exercise. This breed requires a lot of exercise, and they are known to be extremely active.
You may not want to take your dog for long, meandering walks every day. Instead, you could stand on the shore while your dog tires himself out in the local ponds or pool.
Swimming is great exercise for your Anatolian Shepherd because it gets their heart pumping. It can be a great asset for their cardiovascular health even more than regular walks would be.
This sport is more akin to running in terms of what it does for their heart, but it is easier on the joints.
Moving through water puts virtually no stress on the joints whatsoever. This is great because the breed is prone to hip dysplasia which can make motion difficult.
Swimming is a great way for them to obtain the exercise that they desperately need while still preserving their joint health.
In addition to these benefits, swimming also helps to build muscle and shed fat. Keeping your dog trim and fit is important if you want to avoid long-term health problems caused by obesity.
Playing in the water regularly can help your dog to build up lots of muscle all over the body. All of this regular exercise also ensures that they will keep their bodies lean and healthy.
How to Introduce Your Anatolian Shepherd to Water Safely
If you believe that your Anatolian Shepherd could benefit from swimming, you must learn how to introduce them to water safely.
A dog that has never been around water might have some trepidation at first. You want to introduce them to water slowly so that it becomes an enjoyable experience for them. Here are a few tips to teach them to enjoy the sport safely.
Prepare for Swimming
Before you can even head out to the water, you need to ensure that your dog will be safe. Not all dogs instinctively know how to swim.
They could get too deep into the water and struggle against the current or the waves. A dog who does not yet know how to swim should have some sort of flotation aid such as a life vest. Even experienced swimmers can benefit from a flotation device in case they get tired in the water.
The best life vests are both durable and waterproof. The right jacket should be adjustable so that you can make it fit snug on your dog.
If you are planning to swim in dark waters or if you plan to do most of your swimming at night, consider adding reflective trim to the jacket.
Get His Feet Wet
Once you have the life jacket on your dog and he is comfortable wearing it, you need to get his feet wet – literally!
Most dogs are hesitant to jump right in. You will need to spend some time on the shore first. Allow your Anatolian Shepherd to take a few steps into the water to get his feet wet. You might bring a ball or a favorite toy so that he can play with it in these shallow waters first.
Give him plenty of time to adjust to the feeling of being wet and surrounded by water. You might need to practice this with him several times before he is comfortable wading in deeper.
Never drag your dog into the water in an attempt to speed up the process. He needs to move at his own pace.
Invite a Friend
Do you have a friend with a dog who loves to swim?
The next step might be easier if he has a role model to look up to. Your friend’s dog may show them how much fun it can be to play in the water. Your dog may even follow suit and dive right into the water.
Teach Your Dog to Exit
If you are preparing your Anatolian Shepherd to swim, you also need to give them a cue for how to find their way out. Practicing swimming on the shore of a local pond makes an exit easy.
However, a pool or a dock might be more challenging. Stand near the ramp to show your dog the way, and encourage them to use it. This is a bit easier if you are in the water with your dog the first few times.
Prepare for the Plunge
Once your pup is accustomed to getting his feet wet and knows his way out, you can encourage him to go deeper. The easiest way to do this is to throw a favorite toy deeper into the water.
Small toys tend to work best for this activity. Large toys can be hard for your Anatolian Shepherd to hold onto and may make him swallow more water than he should.
In the event that your dog does not take the bait and dive in, you should be prepared to retrieve the toy yourself. It may take a few tries before your dog is comfortable in the water.
Never force him to go deeper than he is comfortable. Not all Anatolian Shepherds will enjoy the buoyancy of the water and the feel of being surrounded.
Hazards of Water Play
Anatolian Shepherds that love the water can have a fun afternoon swimming until they wear themselves out. However, you should be always be aware that swimming comes with inherent risks.
There are many potential hazards to keep an eye out for when playing in the water.
The first condition to look out for is cold tail, also referred to as swimmer’s tail. This occurs when your dog is too cold and can no longer hold up his tail.
It will droop and will not be able to move as freely as it should. This is also closely related to hypothermia which can come next.
To avoid cold tail, you should always check the temperature of the water. Add the temperature of the water and the temperature of the air. If they do not equal at least 100, then you should avoid swimming until it warms up.
Water toxicity is another issue that is common among Anatolian Shepherds who love the water. This is caused by drinking too much water while swimming, much like how humans may not feel well after ingesting too much pool water.
A dog who has water toxicity is likely to vomit. You can avoid this by keeping the sessions short and by feeding your dog a small snack to absorb the excess water.
Last but not least, you must be aware of environmental hazards. Swimming in a natural body of water means that your dog may be exposed to snakes, turtles, and alligators.
If there are people fishing, it is not uncommon to find a dog that takes the bait. They could swallow the hook quickly before you even realize what happened. Take your dog to the emergency veterinarian immediately if this happens.
4 Water Games to Play with your Anatolian Shepherd
Once your Anatolian Shepherd develops a love for the water, there are lots of fun games you can play. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Water Retrieval or Fetch
This is perhaps the most common game that dog owners will play with their pup in the water. You stand on the shore or the edge of the pool, tossing his favorite toy as far as you can throw it.
If your Anatolian Shepherd is new to swimming, you may be a bit more conservative with your throw.
Let your dog jump right in and bring it back to you.
This is very similar to water retrieval, but many dogs love the extremes of this sport. Position yourself at the back of the dock before throwing his favorite toy way into the water.
They will get a long-running head start before diving off the end of the dock and making a splash. Dogs who really enjoy exercise will love the feeling of flying through the air.
This is a great activity for both you and your Anatolian Shepherd to enjoy. First, you will have to find a paddleboard designed for two riders.
A typical paddleboard will be too small for both you and your large breed dog to enjoy. All you have to do is get your dog on board and paddle your way through the water. Your dog may want to hop off and swim alongside you.
Who says swimming has to be all about exercise?
You can teach your Anatolian Shepherd a fun game that could just save your life. Attach a ski rope or some other type of leash onto his life vest.
Then, let him practice dragging you through the water as you float behind. This large breed is certainly strong enough to pull you for some time before tuckering out.
Many people love climbing into an innertube and floating down the river on a hot summer day. Why not let your dog join in?
If they are wearing a flotation device, they can easily float alongside you. Just attach a leash to their life vest so that you can keep them close to you while you take a leisurely float in the pool or the river.
Teaching Your Anatolian Shepherd to Swim
Anatolian Shepherds can be great natural swimmers if you take the time to introduce them to the water slowly. Once they get used to having their feet wet, many will dive right in to cool off in the hot weather.
Whether your dog enjoys the pool or the pond, there are plenty of fun games you can play with him to take up an afternoon.
Why not let your Anatolian Shepherd try out some of these games this weekend?
Do Anatolian Shepherds need a lot of exercise?
Anatolian Shepherds are bred to be high-energy dogs who require a lot of exercise. Swimming is a great way to give them the exercise they need without stressing their joints. It works out their heart and takes away some of their abundant energy all at the same time.
Are Anatolian Shepherds easy to train?
If you can establish that you are in charge, Anatolian Shepherds can be quite easy to train. However, they do require you to be extremely consistent with your actions and rewards. Positive reinforcement tends to work best for this breed.
Do Anatolian Shepherds get cold?
This breed was bred specifically to endure the extreme weather conditions including hot summers and cold winters. Their thick coat should keep them plenty warm in the midst of the harshest winters.
Do Anatolian Shepherds roam?
These dogs were bred to guard livestock and may be prone to roam. It is best if you have a large area for them to run, play, and hang out in. Most owners are quite successful with these dogs if they have a large backyard or a country property where the dogs can roam during the day.