The offspring of the cocker spaniel and the poodle. Dogs with very different capabilities when it comes to water. Generally speaking, spaniels are not great swimmers, but poodles can learn to love the water and swim quite readily – even daring to swim in ponds ordeeper waters. So where does that leave cockapoos and what does this mean for you as an owner – can, or should you take them swimming? Let’s find out!
So, can cockapoos swim? Cockapoos can swim and typically enjoy doing so. Some cockapoos have the same webbed feet as the poodle parent, and this gives these dogs an advantage when swimming. Nevertheless and webbed feet or not, this is an activity to try. Although training, slow introductions, and safety are all considerations to make.
Your cockapoo may not have webbed feet, but that shouldn’t stop them.
These dogs typically inherit the other strong swimming abilities of poodles, and the desire, with or without the webbed feet!
But, as with any dog, it’s essential to slowly introduce your cockapoo to the water and build their confidence over time.
And of course, keeping them safe and comfortable must be the priority.
Let us now take a closer look at how these hybrid dogs fare in the water!
Are Cockapoos Good Swimmers?
Cockapoos are keen swimmers and typically will take to the water with little hesitation – often jumping in on their own accord. That being said, some dogs of the breed will never gain confidence in and around water, although this is rare, and only really in those who have had a former bad experience.
There are boundaries and caveats, of course.
Naturally, no dog will be comfortable paddling in a muddy stream, so avoid those!
But for most bodies of water, swimming should not be too much of a challenge.
Well, cockapoos appear to have all the best qualities of their parents.
While they come in different sizes, from teacup to medium, their body shape is proportional to their size.
Physically, they are lean and strong and possess reasonably well-muscled limbs.
As such, they have the physical structure to help them swim well.
Mentally, they are very well-adjusted, and confident – also helping them to prepare for new experiences such as being in the water.
And at the same time; these hybrid dogs have a low-shedding coat that isn’t dense or heavy, and it won’t weigh them down when wet.
With that said, the cockapoo doesn’t have a double coat.
So, do not make them swim in cold waters as they will struggle to retain heat and in worst cases, can suffer with hypothermia.
This will ultimately, require veterinary attention and can be life-threatening.
Do Cockapoos Like To Swim?
Many cockapoos are shy upon entering the water for the first time, but they learn to love swimming with a bit of training and time. Although, not all cockapoos are equal; some are better swimmers than others, and even in those that can swim, some will enjoy it and others won’t.
It really comes down to context.
This is something you will need to test and assess.
Carefully, of course.
But generally, the more time a cockapoo puppy spends in the water, the higher the chance that they will take to it, and learn to love it.
As an owner, its therefore your responsibility to judge the situation and get to know the signs of whether your dog likes swimming or not.
But if signs are positive and cockapoos are comfortable in the water, they should enjoy going in rivers, lakes, and even the ocean.
And there is a genetic component to this.
Cockapoos get their water-loving nature from their poodle parent.
Poodles were initially bred to retrieve animals and birds from the water, so, naturally, it’s in a cockapoos DNA to swim.
Plus, cockapoos are high-energy dogs that need an outlet.
And this is where swimming can fit in perfectly, assuming the right conditions are met.
Swimming is excellent for cockapoos; it burns energy, strengthens and tones muscles and ligaments without too much pressure on the joints.
Mentally, being in the water tends to make them happy, and if they can swim with their owners, all the better.
Overall, swimming is great for the physical and mental well-being of cockapoos.
The only one exception is whether a cockapoo is showing signs of distress in water.
In that instance, being in water could be causing more harm than good.
Dogs, of any breed, should never be forced into the water. Even if you think its ‘best’ for them.
Trust your instincts, watch your dog and be mindful of their response to it.
Perhaps swimming is not right for your dog now; but it very well could be in time and with the right approach.
Let us now take a closer look at introducing swimming to a cockapoo strategically and safely.
This should give you the greatest chance of a positive experience with everyone involved!
When To Introduce A Cockapoo To Water
It’s essential to introduce your cockapoo to the water from an early age to help them get used to the experience and develop proficiency in swimming. Introductions should be slow, calculated, and cautious, and done when your dog and the environment around them is calm.
Experts actually recommend getting your puppy familiar with the water from about eight weeks of age.
That’s early right!
This is usually the age when you would bring a puppy home from the breeder.
No time like the present.
And you’re going to want to get started right away.
Getting your cockapoo puppy used to the water early will help make the transition to swimming much easier.
And it doesn’t take much.
You can introduce your puppy to the water by letting them walk around in about an inch or two of water.
It could be in a bathtub.
This way, you you can easily supervise them and it also helps them to get used to the feeling of water on their paws and coat.
If you can get your cockapoo to observe an older dog swimming, perhaps at a local lake, this can be great too.
It piques a puppies interest.
It shows them that being in the water is what dogs do and is a natural part of their life.
And it will often be enough to make them want to get in.
You should perhaps hold off on this occasion. But, mentally it prepares them. More on this in the next section.
If however, you have an adult cockapoo who is new to swimming, it will likely be more challenging to get them into, or willing to enter, any new body of water.
In this scenario, you must establish reasonable expectations.
Understand some dogs will take to the water quickly, while others will take time.
It may require more regular exposure too.
They may need a little more encouragement.
And they may even need support in staying afloat.
And the experiences must be entirely positive.
Safety aside, this will help your cockapoo enjoy the water, regardless of whether he can or cannot navigate it.
How To Teach Your Cockapoo To Swim
More than likely, your cockapoo will love the water and take to swimming like a pro on their own accord. Nevertheless, they will need gentle encouragement and a safe training approach.
Teaching your cockapoo to swim may take time, but it’s crucial not to rush it and take the necessary safety steps.
Consider the following safety tips before teaching your cockapoo puppy to swim:
- Your dog must obey all of your commands; otherwise, it’s unsafe to take them to any body of water. Dogs don’t always see potential hazards when they are having fun in the water, so it’s vital that they can follow your commands when called if you foresee potential danger.
- You must get a doggy life-vest for your cockapoo. The vest should fit your dog comfortably; it should neither be too tight or too loose that they can easily slip out of. You should also have a strap that you can pull your puppy to safety.
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- Bring water and a water bowl, water-proof toys, and a ball which you can use to encourage, entice and help command your dog in and out of the water.
- Keep your puppy near the shallower end of a pond, stream, lake, or beach. Don’t let them access water that is higher than his chest. Especially at first.
- Suppose you have a swimming pool. It’s a good idea to put a fence around the area so that your cockapoo doesn’t have easy access. Otherwise, he could fall in and drown, without you being there. Better still, install a ramp so that he can climb out to safety if he falls into the pool.
- Letting another dog who’s an experienced swimmer teach your puppy to swim will incentivize your pup to want to be in the water. It will help give them the confidence they need to enter, especially for the first time.
- It’s vital that you closely watch your cockapoo whenever they are in or near the water.
- It’s a good idea to invest in a kiddie pool so that your dog can splash around, keep cool and have fun. All the while experiencing water, enjoying the experience, and gaining confidence.
- Not all public spaces allow dogs, so check with your local authority whether or not dogs are allowed at the lake or beach.
Swimming Training Approach
Now that we have considered the water health and safety aspect, let’s explore the best way to teach a cockapoo puppy to swim:
You can teach your cockapoo to swim when they are between two to five months old.
At a young age, they will have plenty of stamina while also being curious to try.
Do not throw them straight into the water and expect them to swim instinctively, however.
It’s helpful to put a leash on your puppy so that they do not stray too far.
Spend a little time in shallow water and play some games that your cockapoo will enjoy, such as splashing about or a game of fetch.
Make sure that your dog is wearing a life vest; it should fit him snugly and have a handle at the back.
Enter the body of water with your cockapoo, as this will give your dog some additional confidence being alongside you.
You can carry a nervous dog to the water and hold them while he does a few paddles.
Hold onto them securely, around their midsection, but do not force them to stay in the water if they show signs of anxiety, panic or distress.
Encourage your dog to swim around if they are able.
You can have them swim a short distance away from you – this gives them good swimming practice, but at the same time, it makes it easier to pull them out if needed.
You can sit just out of the water and encourage your cockapoo to swim to you by holding out a treat.
Keep Swimming Time Short
Learning to swim can be challenging and exhausting for a dog as they use new muscles and burns many calories to stay afloat.
It is helpful to keep training sessions short, especially in the beginning.
As your dog’s confidence and energy in the water increases, you can allow your dog to stay in the water for longer; just observe their cues.
It helps to start teaching your dog to swim in a shallow body of water before working your way up to larger bodies of water.
Make swimming a regular part of your cockapoos life and bring him to as many different bodies of water as possible.
As often as you can.
Cockapoos can indeed swim and generally love the water.
Swimming is in their DNA, and they have the poodle to thank for their typical confidence and proficiency in the water.
That being said, not all cockapoos are the same.
Some are better swimmers than others.
Some are more keen to enter water too.
So, this is something you will have to monitor, test, and assess with your dog.
Preferably while they are still young puppies.
This is known to help them pick up swimming much faster.
Nevertheless, despite swimming being a natural activity for cockapoos; you must remain mindful of safety at all times.
In fact, with a breed so confident in water, it’s easier to overlook this.
But you shouldn’t for obvious reasons.
So, remain close, be vigilant and be patient.
Besides, it takes time for some cockapoos to learn to swim.
And ultimately, making the experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible will dramatically improve you and your dog’s chances of taking to it, long-term.
Want to learn more about the Cockapoo breed? Then check out my following guides:
- When Do Cockapoos Calm Down? [And How To Help Them Do So]
- Do Cockapoos Bark A Lot? [Our Experiences With This Breed]
- Do Cockapoos Shed? [What To Expect & Tips When Grooming]
- Are Cockapoos Aggressive? [Insights From A Current Owner]
- Best Brush For Cockapoo [I Sourced This Brush For My Dog]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.