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Do Border collies like to swim?


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#1 KatieP

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 12:53 PM

I don't remember if my last BC enjoyed swimming or if she just did it because her babies were in the water and she was that protective over them. My 7 year old had a pair of swim goggles and a snorkel once and he had his face in the water.. We were sitting on the bank of a knee deep creek. When she saw my child with his face in the water, she raced down the hill, grabbed him by the back of the head and pulled his head right out of the water.. that was the day that I fell in LOVE with Border Collies. Not that I didn't love her before, but wow, how impressive. Everyone there started asking me what breed she was and if she was trained to do that..(No, she just made those children her JOB and she took it very seriously)(20 years later) Now my baby BC, at 17 weeks, hates anything to do with water. She hates her bath, even in warm water.. Today it is very hot, I brought her down to the lake, she wants no part of swimming.. Just wondering in general if swimming is a personal preference among dogs or if some breeds, like Border Collies, do not like to swim?? thanks.

#2 Maralynn

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 01:12 PM

Depends on the dog...

My 3 y/o LOVES water, LOVES swimming. My 7 y/o will go in after a ball/frisbee or if he's really hot but he goes in because there's a purpose, not because he really likes it.

I'd just ignore the dislike. Take her along, encourage her, but don't force her - if she doesn't want to go, no big deal but if she likes toys you can play with those along the edge of the water and she may forget about her trepidation in her excitement to play!

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#3 geonni banner

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 01:14 PM

I don't think it's a breed thing. I think it's an individual dog thing. My Border Collie is five, and she had no use for swimming until she was nearly 4. Now she loves it. Nobody enticed her in, she just decided that water was good.

I had a Doberman bitch that loved water. She would fling herself into 8 ft. swells at the dog park on the SF Bay. Hot day, freezing day, no difference to her. Doberman's are supposed to "hate" swimming. Not Blaise. She had so little body fat that the only thing above the water line was most of her head.


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#4 mum24dog

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 01:18 PM

I've never had a dog of any kind that actually liked swimming - as in being out of their depth.

They all will if they have to but it isn't something they choose - but most of them do love water, as in lying down in it, playing and running about. Only my terrier prefers not to get wet.

#5 Laurae

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 01:26 PM

My border collies love to swim and would do it all day if they could. The bc/aussie mix will wade and splash around, and she can swim, but she prefers to stay in shallower water.

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#6 Gideon's girl

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 01:52 PM

Gideon's first bath, he screamed like he thought we were killing him, so I assumed he would not like to swim. Boy was I wrong! When we go down to the lake he reminds me of that Arab horse that swam out to sea. I have to keep doing recalls and force him to rest on shore the whole time we're there, he never quits trying to swim out forever.

#7 Root Beer

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 02:01 PM

Now my baby BC, at 17 weeks, hates anything to do with water. She hates her bath, even in warm water.. Today it is very hot, I brought her down to the lake, she wants no part of swimming.. Just wondering in general if swimming is a personal preference among dogs or if some breeds, like Border Collies, do not like to swim?? thanks.


It's more the individual dog than the breed, I would say.

All of my Border Collies love to swim. They don't like to get a shower, but they love swimming and playing in the water.

My Border Collie Lab mix girl hated swimming. She liked to get in the water when it was hot, but she did not like for her feet to be off the bottom. One time we were at the creek and we were all in the water together and I thought she was swimming across. When she got closer I saw that she was paddling with her front feet while she walked across with her back feet!

Now Labs are supposed to LOVE swimming. She's the only one of my dogs with a drop of Lab in her. She hated swimming.

If you want to encourage your puppy to enjoy water, you can introduce it to her more slowly. Put a couple of inches of water in a kiddie pool and throw toys in for her to get out. As she starts to enjoy the game, you can gradually add more water. Once she enjoys the game in a full kiddie pool, you can play the same game at the edge of a creek or lake - always tossing the toy close enough to the edge to keep her comfortable.

Eventually she may choose to get in more, and even swim. All of mine started out hesitant about water, and all eventually enjoyed being in water, and all four that I have now love to swim.

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#8 TEC

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 02:40 PM

Swimming is wonderful low impact activity to keep dogs physically fit. Fun for both dog and owner. Easy on their joints. Vet recommended swimming to recover my dog from muscle strain. Worked perfectly. He tells me that swimming, among other exercises, is good to increase muscle mass, thus protecting against joint injury and arthritic conditions.

Above advice IMO is good...don't push swimming too enthusiastically. Play around shore on hot days, and you may be pleasantly surprised. -- TEC
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#9 alligande

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 02:46 PM

I also agree it is an indivual thing, my older Brody loves the water and swimming, the youngster as a puppy thought he was in mortal danger and would stand at the edge and yell.... Because we live near the sea, he was going to learn to swim, he did not have to like but we did not want him falling of a dock and panicking. We just slowly encouraged him, couple of times I went swimming and called him too me, at almost 3 you would think he was part duck, no fear and is straight in at any opportunity.

#10 gcv-border

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 02:48 PM

Just adding my personal experience: My dog is not necessarily a water lover or hater. Whether he goes in depends on the situation. If there are toys/sticks involved, he will go in. If not, he is not into swimming just for swimming. When he visits the rehab vet (~ every 3 months), he is SO EXCITED to get into her pool because there are lots and lots of toys and personal interaction involved. We actually have to hold him back from jumping in until she is ready for him.

I agree that swimming appears to be a personal preference, but that, in most cases, I think a dog can be trained to enjoy swimming.

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#11 border_collie_crazy

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:46 PM

Misty is a MAJOR water dog, and has been since she was a puppy, she loves swimming so much that if I can even SEE water way off in the distance, I cant let her off leash, because she will be in the water before I can blink. I always wish we had dock diveing here because Mistys 2 most faverite things in the world are hurling herself through the air, and water.

Happy..loves water but not a swimmer. she will do anything to get a toy and that includes swimming, but for the most part she just immerses herself in water..any water, mud puddles, troughs, pools, if its water and she can lay down in it, she is there.

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#12 bcnewe2

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 04:06 PM

Dew loves the water, mick swims to cool off or to retrieve. Faye loves the hose but not deep water yet....
Last week we had some really hot weather, pups were HOT HOT HOT so I told them to go swim, the pond was out of my site line, they took off. I get there a few seconds later and there's Faye in the pond going round and round looking a bit panicky, I think she just followed the big dogs in and then freaked out cause she didn't know it was going to be deep. I called her and she realized that she could swim so she made it to the shore. She's not jumping to do it again but I'm sure when it.gets hot again she'll be in again.
It's defiantly an individual dog thing here!

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#13 puppytoes

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 04:17 PM

When Orbit was a puppy he hated the idea of not being able to touch the ground in the water. Living in a big city where it can be difficult to exercise your dog in the summer, i made it my mission to make him love it. Initially i bribed him with his favourite treats and took him into the deep water with me and then let him swim to shore. He did not love it at first. Many people will tell you not to push your dog but i feel that if your dog trusts you and you can show them that there is no danger and you are there with them - you can give them a gentle nudge. Eventually i traded treats for toys and now he is the dog that will go slamming through the waves or dive off docks as everyone on the beach looks on in amazement. Baths are a whole other issue altogether. But because he loves to swim, unless he rolls in something disgusting, baths are not really necessary.

#14 Beach BCs

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 05:14 PM

Tex loves the water! I call him my Lab in a Border Collie suit. He would swim across the Atlantic if I let him. Georgia on the other hand will go in the water simply to cool off and never more than chest deep. She doesn't seem to enjoy all the splashing around. We had a foster puppy that was initially very wary of the doggy pool. Within a day or so she was running the Great Dane out so she didn't have to share.
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#15 DeltaBluez Tess

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 05:32 PM

It depends on the dog. I have several deep ponds and some of my dogs love to swim, while other go only belly deep. Sava who really didn't like to go more than belly deep however loves to fetch. One day I tossed the jolly ball out in the deep part of the pond. Roo and Save had a competition thing going on who would get the ball. Roo loves to swim. Not to be outdone by Roo, Sava sailed out in the water, splashed around, figured out how to swim and now loves to swim.

Nan HATES to swims but if I send her to get sheep and she has to swim, she will; otherwise, she won't get her belly wet. My trial dogs have to get sheep in the marsh so they are used to swimming. At the winter trials, on one side there was a long pond/marsh, that if the dogs went that way, the outrun was 50% swimming. It was the best way to send the dog. I sent all of my dogs that way and they did just fine.

I just gave in from playing fetch in the pond area and poor little Reba was appalled that her front paws got wet. Some dogs like to swim while other like to stand and watch. Me, I hate swimming but love to scuba dive.
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#16 urge to herd

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 05:37 PM

Samantha was part bc, part trout. She'd swim for hours, and then whine when I said, 'time to go home.'

Shoshone was sure that she would die in the water. It just never happened that Buzz got to go near any kind of swimming hole, so I don't know about him.

Took Agent Gibbs to a swimming spot last Sunday. He enjoyed pawing at the ball and making it splash up at him. However, when he went out after a ball and the ground disappeared, he was not pleased. But he made it back to shore, and continued to splash about on the bank.

It really is an individual dog thing.

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#17 Cyberdog

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 06:11 PM

My bc likes fetch. I used a tennis ball to, very slowly, introduce her to deeper and deeper water. She isnt gracefull.... But happy to go for a swim!

#18 Anniko

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 06:20 PM

Our Rikki wouldn't even put a paw into water at first, but bribing her with treats and toys worked to some extent. We finally got her to swim by crossing creeks while on walks and waiting for her to follow us. She freaked out a bit at first, but now she seems to have no problem with it. Yesterday she even got into water and swam on her own for the first time. Since we live in Texas and it can be over 100 for a whole month in the summer, she's not going to have much choice about getting into water :P
Since we just got our puppy a little while ago, I'm still new to all this and not really qualified to give advice, but this is just what worked for Rikki.

#19 Liz P

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 06:26 PM

This dog HATED water with a passion as a puppy. However, he had broken his leg and suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. Water was part of his physical therapy program. He wore a life vest and had no choice but to swim. Now he loves it and I have a hard time keeping him out.

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#20 ObeytheBC

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 09:52 PM

I have to agree and say that it is the individual, not the breed.

That being said, my 1 year old border collie absolutely loves the water. She runs through it, plays in it, and loves to swim in it. When I first got her (at 5 1/2 months) she was very timid about the water and did not enjoy it much at all. With some time and being around other dogs enjoying the water, she came to play in it and, eventually, started swimming. Her first long swim was actually following another border collie after some geese.

My new (as in picked up yesterday) 4 year old border collie was said to not like water. Per his previous owner, he would walk through it or jump in a water trough to cool off but had no inclination to swim. Well, he spent today having a ball playing in the water and swimming. Once again, it progressed throughout the day as he played with other dogs and started following what they were doing. He was so interested in keeping up with the other dogs, playing the games they were playing, and even following the people that he took to swimming quite quickly!

Yet, the 1 year old hates a bath and I'll find out if the 4 year old is against them too on Monday. :)


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