Are you thinking about a trip to the lake this summer and hoping to swim with your furry best friend? Then today is your lucky day! In this article, we will talk about Yorkies and swimming, and by the end, we hope to have all of your questions answered.
Swimming is a great exercise for dogs and humans alike, so if you’d like to share this experience, just stay with us, and we’ll dive right into what you need to know!
Table of Contents
Do Yorkies Like Water?
Most Yorkshire Terriers do indeed seem to like the water. You’d think that they would be more afraid, as tiny as they are, but these little dogs have big hearts and the courage that goes with them. It’s best if you get them started early, but even older Yorkies don’t seem to mind getting wet too much.
Can Yorkies Swim?
Yorkies are actually quite good at swimming. While it might take a bit of nudging to get them to try it out for the first time, once they realize that they can swim, it’s often much harder to keep them out of the water!
Do Yorkies Have Webbed Feet?
No, Yorkshire Terriers were never bred as water dogs. While you might see a Yorkie from time to time with this trait, it is the exception rather than the norm for this breed.
How To Introduce Your Yorkies To Water
Educating your Yorkie on the joys of swimming can be a treat… or really frustrating. It will depend on your Yorkie but just keep in mind that they’re going to be a little scared at first. Thankfully, we’ve got steps outlined that can help to move you through the process. First off, if at all possible, get them started young.
8 Weeks Is The Optimal Age To Start Preparing
Eight weeks of age is a great age to begin introducing your Yorkie to water in small amounts. One very easy thing that you can do to help them to get over any initial aversion to getting wet is just to play with them in the sprinkler.
You’re also going to need to make sure that your Yorkie learns to come to you when you call. This will help eventually for when you need to get them to leave the water, and it can also help to keep them from just running to any body of water later once they’ve learned how to swim.
Aside from a sprinkler, you can also take a baby pool with just a few inches of water in it and play with your Yorkie there. Put plenty of toys in the pool, play tug of war with a rope, and with a little luck, the promise of play will help them to forget they are standing in water, and before you know it, they’ll be more comfortable around it.
At 2 – 5 Months Old, Your Dog Is Ready To Learn The Basics
At 2 months of age, your dog is going to be strong enough to do a little swimming, but you are going to want to start with very shallow water, to begin with. You want to be able to assess their endurance and comfort levels, so playing together in the shallow water is a good idea. It will make your dog feel more comfortable, and they are completely safe and supervised.
Invest In A Floaty
If you are very worried about your dog, one option is to invest in a small doggy life-vest. These doggy-flotation devices typically fit around like a harness and snap with a buckle underneath. They also have a handle on top so that you can easily reach over and pull your Yorkie out if it looks like they are panicked and need a little reassurance.
You’ll want to make sure that the fit is as close to perfect as possible. These vests are really a good idea, as you don’t have to worry about your young Yorkie getting too tired, and because they are floating automatically, you can have longer sessions to strengthen up your dog’s muscles further in preparation for deeper waters.
With the doggy vest, you are ready to let your dog swim alone but supervised, but call to your dog on occasion to make sure that they keep to the shallows. You can also hold the handle on the back and ‘steer’ them a little so that they are comfortable with paddling.
Get In The Water With Your Yorkie And Go A Little Deeper
After practicing in the shallows, it’s time to move on a little bit deeper into the lake or the pool. For this, you are going to want to get in the water with them. Your dog might be a little alarmed at the larger volume of water, but with a little coaxing, you can distract them and make them more comfortable with swimming around and chasing floating balls.
(Curious about how to keep your Yorky’s ears floppy or help them stand up?)
Let Your Yorkie Swim Away To Get Out If It Wants To
If your Yorkie absolutely doesn’t want to swim in the deep and tries towards the edge of the pool or back to shore, it is important that you let them. Help them to get out of the pool, give them a treat, and give some praise, and you can try another time again. It may take a number of sessions before your dog gets used to swimming.
It’s also possible that they may never like it, but generally, Yorkies take well to water with a little gentle prodding and praise.
Remove The Floaty, Watch Closely, And Keep Training Sessions Brief
Your dog should be used to the water after a week or two (some dogs even do it in a day or two, it depends on your individual dog and their opinion of getting wet). At this point, you should get in the water with your dog and no flotation device.
Play with your dog by calling over, and you can bring along some hollow plastic balls for them to play with and keep these sessions brief. 30 minutes is fine, and if your dog wants to stay in longer, then that’s okay; just watch for signs of fatigue, and if you see them, then swim-time is over for the day.
Don’t forget to reward your Yorkie with a treat afterward for being a good little swimmer.
Weekly, Supervised Trips Will Finalize The Process
After a few sessions of this, your dog should be strong enough to swim on its own and fairly comfortable in the water. Let them play in the pool or lake nearby while you are outside of it, and just keep a close eye. Call your dog if they get too far away so that they stay safe and get into the habit of staying close to you when they swim.
Congratulations, you’ve taught your little Yorkie to swim!
What Are The Benefits Of Swimming?
There are actually numerous benefits to your Yorkie spending a little time in the water. Here are just a few of them so that you can get an idea of just how good it is to let your Terrier get a little bit of swimming done from time to time:
It Benefits Your Yorkie’s Overall Health
Swimming is an excellent exercise, to begin with, and as such, it’s going to be just like exercise is for humans. It will improve their overall health. Regular swimming sessions keep your dog strong and healthy, and these little dogs just can’t seem to get enough of it.
It’s Great For The Joints
Aside from the overall health value, swimming is a great low-impact way to exercise those joints. The reason for this is that the water is there to support your dog’s weight, allowing them to exercise without as much stress on the body. This goes for humans, as well, and this is why many people recuperate from muscle injuries in swimming pools.
It’s Good For Stress-relief
As it turns out, swimming is also a great stress-reliever for dogs. When you turn them loose in the pool, your dog can paddle and play to their little heart’s content. They’ll expend a lot of energy in the process, and when you get them back inside, they’ll be tired but quite happy with their little adventure.
It’s Ideal Exercise For Overweight Yorkies
Due to the aforementioned body-support qualities of water, swimming is an ideal exercise for overweight Yorkies. They can burn a lot of calories playing in the pool with less stress on their bodies than they would get running around in a park or chasing squirrels in the backyard. As such, this makes swimming an ideal weight-loss method for overweight Yorkies.
It Can Relieve Pain
On the therapeutic side, swimming in warm water is good for recovering from muscle issues. Blood flow is promoted, and due to the low-impact nature of the exercise, your dog can recover much faster than it would with running and playing on land.
It’s A Great Alternative To Walking In The Summer
If you live somewhere that’s particularly hot in the summer, then swimming is a great way for your dog to get some exercise while beating the heat at the same time! Walking your dog in the summer (especially in states like Arizona or Texas) can be problematic in that blacktop pavement can get really hot and hurt your dog’s paws.
By taking your Yorkie swimming instead, this is less of a worry, and your dog will still get plenty of exercise.
It’s Just Plain Fun To Watch!
Our final pro goes to the fact that watching your Yorkie swim is just plain adorable. These little dogs have so much fun in the water, and it’s lots of fun watching them swimming along, noses up and paddling madly towards whatever has caught their attention for the moment.
Especially if you are in the water and they are swimming towards you!
What Are The Downsides Of Swimming?
As with anything, there are some downsides to swimming which we would amiss if we did not mention. While it is an excellent, low-impact exercise, swimming does come with its own set of particular caveats that you should keep in mind.
Your Dog Will Occasionally Drink The Water
While it generally isn’t going to hurt them, your Yorkie may take the occasional sip out of the pool or the lake. We’ve even heard some stories about little terriers drinking up pool water and then getting sick in the pool.
This is generally the extent of the issue, though you should keep in mind that in rivers or lakes that drinking the water could lead to parasites. Again, this is uncommon, but it is something of which you should be aware.
There Is A Possibility Of Ear Infections
You will want to wipe your dog’s ears after a swim, and we’ll tell you why. Your Yorkshire Terrier has sensitive ear canals, and all it takes is just a little bacteria to cause an ear infection. While this is uncommon, just getting yourself into the practice of wiping your dog’s ears after a swim can greatly reduce the chances of this occurring.
Hair And Nails In Your Pool
This is less of a health issue than it is a cleaning issue. Dogs shed, of course, and so if your Yorkie is swimming in the pool, you should keep in mind that you are going to get hair and the occasional nail in your drain. Skimmer socks can help minimize the possibility of this occurring, but there is not much that you can do beyond this.
How To Train Your Yorkie With Peace Of Mind:
If you haven’t trained your Yorkie properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.
The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.
With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.
So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!
And in most cases, it’s still going to be:
- Cheaper than hiring a professional.
- Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
- And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.
Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Yorkie completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.
And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!
So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!
(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)
Some Final Words On Yorkies And Their Love Of Water
Yorkshire Terriers love the water, especially if you get them started early, and with a little patience, your furry friend will quickly learn to swim like a pro. Just be sure to get a floaty if you are going to the lake and want to be extra careful and since they are little dogs, always be sure to supervise their swimming.
Finally, don’t forget to clean out your Yorkie’s ears after swimming, and then everyone is sure to have a good time. We wish you and your Yorkie the best!