Whether you live by the water or are planning a beach vacation and want to bring your Maltipoo with you, you might be wondering—can Maltipoos swim?
Swimming isn’t necessarily second nature to Maltipoos because of their bloodline, but it doesn’t mean they can’t learn. In fact, external factors play a role in whether a Maltipoo can swim, including how you introduce your pooch to water.
In this guide, I’ll give you insight on why Maltipoos aren’t always natural swimmers and the best way to help your beloved pet become a water lover.
Table of Contents
The Role of Genetics
I won’t bore you with too many details here, but it’s important to understand that genes play a role in how Maltipoos interact with water. Since Maltipoos have both Maltese and Poodle in their blood, they receive conflicting genetic feelings about swimming.
Let’s start with the promising genes first—Poodles are excellent swimmers. In fact, people bred them to retrieve ducks and birds from the water that their masters killed. The Germans even called Poodles the “Pudelhund,” which roughly translates to “puddle dog.”
Maltese dogs are good at retrieving prey too. However, they’re historically best at capturing rodents around the house and on boats.
For this reason, your Maltipoo may be an excellent swimmer, a mediocre one, or he might be downright scared of the water. It’s a huge range, and if you bring your Maltipoo home as a puppy, you’ll have better control over how quickly he acclimates to swimming. Nevertheless, it’s never too late—adult Malipoos who are afraid of the water can also learn to swim.
Swimming Features in the Malipoo’s Favor
Your Maltipoo might balk at the sight of water, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have features needed for swimming. In fact, because of their Poodle bloodline, Malipoos have more features suitable for swimming compared to many other dog breeds. They include:
- Thick coat
- Larger webs on their paws
- One layer of fur instead of two
Nevertheless, even within the same breed, Malipoos have vastly different personalities. Therefore, while it’s possible that your Maltipoo will be eager to jump into water the first time he sees it, there’s also a good chance he’ll ignore his swimming assets and choose to stay on dry land.
Teaching Your Maltipoo to Swim
At this point, you may already know that your Maltipoo doesn’t seem keen on swimming. If this is the case, rest easy because I’m here to show you the best way to introduce him to the water. While there’s no guarantee that your pup will end up begging to go swimming, the steps below focus on positive reinforcement to maximize the possibility.
Step 1: Introduce Fido to the Water
Whatever you do, don’t assume that you can set your Maltipoo off the side of your boat and figure he’ll learn how to swim on his own. While his feet will naturally start moving to try to stay afloat, panic could make him drown quickly, especially if it’s his first time around water.
Therefore, it’s important to gradually introduce your Maltipoo to water by taking him for walks along the edge of where you plan on having him swim. Let him walk up to the water and encourage him to put his paws in it.
For people, it’s second nature to know the sound of water and how the ground beneath it will react (a muddy pond versus a sandy ocean, for example). However, these sounds and sensations will be new to your Maltipoo, so make sure he’s fully comfortable with visiting the water’s edge before moving on to the next point.
Step 2: Enter Shallow Water
Put on a pair of boots or hop into a bathing suit—the time has come for your Maltipoo to wander deeper into the water. Choose a shallow entry point and make sure that the water stays that way for a while; picking a spot that has a gently sloping gradient is ideal.
During this stage, your Maltipoo will keep all four paws in contact with the ground. Make sure to enter the water beside your dog, even crouching down at his level so that he feels more comfortable.
You’ll want to make sure you choose an area that’s free of currents and waves. Give your Maltipoo plenty of time to explore and praise him with words and treats.
Step 3: Encourage Your Maltipoo to Swim
Every Maltipoo will move at a different stage through these steps, so I can’t give you a definitive timeline of when your dog will be ready to move onto the swimming stage. However, you’ll be able to sense that time when your Maltipoo looks forward to seeing water and seeks out deeper areas to walk around in.
At this point, you should be ready with a long leash and let your Maltipoo try his “paw” at swimming. Make sure not to yank on his leash. However, if he starts swimming too far out, gently pull on his leash.
Eventually, once he becomes comfortable with swimming and assuming it’s a safe area, you can give your Maltipoo full swimming freedom by letting him swim with his leash off.
What to Watch Out For
It’s important to consider the environment where your Maltipoo will be swimming so that you provide him with a safe and comfortable experience. Below are some issues that can occur for dogs of any breed depending on the body of water:
- Thick seaweed that their legs can become entangled in.
- Snapping turtles, alligators, sharks, jellyfish, and other aquatic wildlife that can bite or sting them.
- Chasing a ball or bird too far into the water, requiring them to be rescued if they don’t have the energy to swim back to shore.
- Algae-covered rocks, which make getting out of the water too slippery for them.
The Importance of Teaching Your Maltipoo to Swim
While your motivation for teaching your Maltipoo to swim likely comes down to you wanting to include him in your family water outings, there are other advantages as well—the most important of which is safety.
Every year dogs drown in ponds, lakes, and oceans. Although there aren’t statistics showing the exact number of dog drownings, pool drownings may be the most common of all.
Of course, even a dog experienced in swimming can drown in water. However, these dogs will stand a better chance of survival if they have a base of knowing how to swim.
Therefore, if you have a pool, pond, or other body of water near your house, it’s best to treat your Maltipoo like a child and keep them fenced off from it. That way, they only have access to the water under your supervision.
If your Maltipoo still doesn’t seem keen on swimming after following the steps I covered here, I recommend inviting a friend with a dog who loves to swim so that the other dog can watch. Dogs are intelligent and often mimic each other so that just might do the trick with encouraging your Maltipoo to swim.
Although they didn’t breed Maltipoos for swimming, this dog breed is completely capable of getting its paws wet. With love, encouragement, and treats, your Maltipoo will likely be enjoying your water-based family activities for many years to come.