How Soon Can Lab Puppies Start Swimming?

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If you have a new lab puppy and want to get them into the pool with you and the family this summer, it won’t take too long for them to start swimming.

Taking fun trips to the beach or the lake with your dog is even better when your lab puppy can swim. But you can’t rush them into the water until they reach a certain age and have proper obedience and water training.

Lab puppies can start learning how to swim as soon as they are old enough or at around 12 weeks of age. You can introduce them to the water even sooner, at eight weeks, but they won’t be strong or big enough to start swimming without help and close supervision.

Lab puppies need to learn how to swim, so they need to start swimming early on. While they do have water instincts, they need to develop before they can build the strength to swim well. This guide will explain what age they can start swimming at and how to train them properly.

We have helped many Labrador owners train their dogs to improve their obedience and water capabilities. They are a simple and loving breed with lots of intelligence, so that they can do just about anything.

In this article

How Soon Can Lab Puppies Start Swimming?

Lab puppies typically need time to develop these skills before they can be safely allowed into the water without supervision. Most labs should wait until about 3-6 months old before going into the water for the first.

It takes time for lab puppies to learn basic skills and gain the strength for swimming. It requires them to grow a bit more to a bigger size too.

In general, Labradors love to swim and are renowned for being excellent swimmers. You can introduce your puppy to the water with careful supervision after 8-10 weeks.

The more time you spend with your lab puppy, the faster it will learn how to swim. It is also an excellent way for your lab puppy to trust you more.

How Do You Train A Lab Puppy To Swim?

Training a lab puppy to swim takes patience because it won’t happen overnight. This is especially true if you bring them into the water younger.

For example, your lab puppy will pick up swimming faster at six months compared to only 8-12 weeks. Follow these steps to train your puppy to swim effectively.

Teach Your Lab Puppy Basic Obedience

Training your lab puppy to swim is a great idea, but it is not the most important thing you can do with your new dog. You should first teach your dog how to behave correctly with obedience training.

This will help them understand what they are supposed to do in certain situations and provide a foundation for learning how to swim later on.

After your puppy learns to obey basic commands, training it how to swim will be faster and easier.

Introduce Your Puppy To The Water

It is essential to introduce your dog to the water gradually. This will help them to be more comfortable in the water and build a positive association with it.

When introducing your dog to the water, you should start by taking them on a short walk near the water's edge. If they are hesitant, try placing their paws in the water for a few seconds before moving on.

Once they are comfortable, you can slowly increase their time in the water and eventually take them swimming with you.

Encourage Them In The Water With Treats & Toys

When training a lab puppy to swim, you should start by placing them in the pool's shallow end. Gradually increase the depth of the water until they are swimming on their own, and then slowly lower it back down.

Training your lab puppy on how to swim can be done through patience and perseverance. You should start slowly, giving your pup treats when paddling for a few seconds before gradually increasing the time they spend in the pool of water.

Remain Patient

When you first bring a new puppy home, it may not be comfortable in the water. They will likely want to avoid water as much as possible and wag their tail when they see you coming towards the pool or lake.

It can take weeks to get used to swimming and even longer for them to stay afloat in deep water. Be patient as they grow and get more comfortable in the water.

They have the instinct to use the doggy paddle but need to get comfy. Be patient, and don’t give up on your pup.

Are Labradors Natural Swimmers?

Dogs are not born with the ability to swim. They can only learn how to swim through extensive training. Labradors are no exception.

However, Labradors were originally bred as working dogs for hunting and pulling carts, so it is not surprising that they are good at swimming. They have many traits that back up this reputation as well.

Once dogs get comfortable in the water, they will know to use their strength to do the doggy paddle to stay afloat. This is something they understand naturally through instincts.

Labradors also have a double coat of fur, which is better for the water because it keeps them warmer. This, along with a wide otter tail and webbed paws, makes them great at swimming.

Can Lab Puppies Swim In Cold Water?

Labradors have thicker fur so they will remain warmer than other dogs in cold water. However, this does not mean they can handle freezing temperatures for a long time.

We recommend exposing your dog to the water in the summer when it is not too cold. This will allow them to enjoy swimming more too.

Lab puppies are susceptible to hypothermia and should never be left in freezing cold water. They might not show any signs of distress, but they can die if they stay in the cold for too long.

Practice the same safety tips for your puppy as you would for yourself or a child. Extremely cold waters should be avoided.

Swimming Safety Tips For Lab Puppies

Lab puppies should be kept safe while they are swimming. Here are some tips on taking care of your lab puppy and keeping them safe in the water.

Always Supervise Your Puppy

Lab puppies should never be left alone in a pool or near any body of water for any time, as they can easily drown if they accidentally fall into the pool.

This is especially true for younger puppies that are new to swimming. You can change this approach as your lab gets older and more experienced.

But for now, never let them into the water without other people around as a safety precaution. This is especially true if they are in the ocean or a lake, where the water could be more dangerous.

Use A Canine Life Jacket

Puppies need to be taught how to swim early so they can grow up with the ability to save themselves in the water. But some owners don’t know where to start.

A canine life jacket is a great way to keep your lab puppy safe while learning how to swim. It will help them get used to the water experience without causing any harm.

The best part about using a canine life jacket is that it will motivate your lab puppy to learn how to swim faster and more efficiently.


Mark Brunson

Mark Brunson

Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.

Read more about Mark Brunson