Do All Golden Retrievers Like Water? (The Surprising Answer!)

If you own a Golden Retriever then you know that the only thing they might possibly love more than a good game of fetch is the chance to jump in the water and go for a swim! But do all Golden Retrievers like the water?

No, not all Golden Retrievers enjoy the water. The Golden Retriever breed in general loves to play and swim in the water, but each dog is unique and occasionally you may find a Golden that does not like the water. This apprehension about water is usually due to a lack of experience and can be overcome in time.

Most Golden Retrievers love, love, love the water and will swim or lay down in a puddle whenever given the chance! It’s important, however, to introduce a Golden Retriever to water as a puppy so that they can get comfortable around it. Read on to learn more about Golden Retrievers and water.

Most but not all Golden Retrievers love the water!

(This article may contain affiliate links and loyalgoldens may earn a commission if a purchase is made.)

Unlock your goldens natural intelligence and see just how quickly problem behaviors disappear.This is the best at home dog training I've ever used!

Golden Retrievers and Swimming 

Due to their breeding as a water dog, most Goldens take to the water like a duck. If you want a dog who loves to swim, Golden Retrievers are one of the best choices there is! Most of them love swimming right from the start and will learn how to swim very quickly. However, you should consider the dog’s history with water before you bring them home and take them to the water.

When going to a shelter or breeder, ask if the Golden Retriever has had any swimming experience. Ask if they were introduced to water early on, if possible, especially if you’re adopting an adult.

Also, you should think about how much work you’re willing to do to train your dog to be good in and around water, although in the case of the average Golden Retriever it should be quite an easy task.

If you have an adult Golden Retriever who doesn’t like the water, it’s most likely due to inexperience or a negative experience they’ve had in the past. Patience and conditioning is the key here. In time your Golden should become accustomed to the water and learn to not only tolerate it but LOVE it!

So whether your pup is brand new to the water or you have a reluctant swimmer, follow the steps below to introduce your Golden to the joys of swimming.

How to Introduce Your Golden Retriever to Water

If you have (or are getting) a Golden Retriever you’ll definitely want to introduce your pup to the water sooner rather than later. In the case of an adult Golden, I’d be quite surprised if they aren’t chomping at the bit as soon as they see the water, but if your Golden doesn’t have any previous experience with the water, it might take them a bit to get used to the idea.

While some will take to the water quickly, others may shy away from it at first. Both are okay and normal, but you should know how to introduce your Golden Retriever to the water safely.

However, the process doesn’t always come easily. Here are a few steps to follow to set your Golden Retriever up for a life of loving the water.

Start Young If Possible

If you have a Golden Retriever puppy, start introducing your dog to water as soon as possible. The younger you start, the easier it will be for your dog to get used to the surroundings. While some puppies won’t want to go in the water, you can show them it’s safe.

You don’t have to start the day you get your Golden Retriever puppy. But work it into your weekly or monthly training routine. That way, your dog can start to learn that the water is safe and good.

To find out more about teaching a Golden Retriever puppy to swim be sure to see my article: Can Golden Retriever Puppies Swim? (And Is It Safe?)

Take It Slow: Learning to Swim For Golden Retrievers

Whether your Golden is a puppy or an adult, if they’ve never gone swimming before, take it slowly. Let your dog explore the side of the pool or lake before they jump in. Allow your dog to smell and look at things to get a sense of the situation.

Don’t force your dog to get into the water before they’re ready. At best, that won’t help them become accustomed to water any faster. And at worst, you could have the opposite effect and cause your dog to hate being near the water.

This Golden Retriever either doesn’t like the water or just forgot how the ocean works. Funny!

Give Consistent Exposure

Even if your dog gets in the water the first time you take them to a lake, you should go back often. Give your dog multiple chances to get in the water and explore. Taking your dog to the water across multiple weeks or months will ensure that they become a confident and strong swimmer.

Some younger dogs won’t want to get in the water at first, but later, they’ll look forward to it. By spreading out their exposure to water, you can give your dog a chance to relax between sessions.

Note: If swimming in a river or lake, make sure to find a calm area of water with little to no current. While Golden Retrievers are generally strong swimmers, a Golden, particularly one who’s new to swimming, still has their limits. Safety is the most important thing.

Showing Your Dog How To Swim

If your dog doesn’t want to get in the water, you may need to show them it’s safe. Wear a bathing suit or clothes you can get wet in and jump into the water. Have someone else stand on the side of the lake or pool with your dog to make sure your dog doesn’t run away.

Your dog may decide to jump into the water with you because you look safe and happy. When doing this, start with a shallow area so that your dog can still stand if they can’t swim. Then, you can move to deeper water as your dog learns to swim.

Always Consider Safety When Taking Your Golden Retriever Swimming

As you teach your Golden to go in the water, and even after they’re comfortable, always supervise your dog. Don’t let them near water without someone to watch to make sure your pup is safe. While dogs are good swimmers, you never know what can happen.

I always recommend that your dog wear a life jacket like this one at Amazon for additional safety. A dog that loves to swim often doesn’t know their own limits. This is particularly true if swimming in a lake, river or ocean as currents can be unpredictable.

The Health Benefits of Swimming For a Golden Retriever

Swimming for a Golden Retriever is not only fun, it has some health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked, including exercise and pain relief. Plus it’s a great way to keep your dog cool on a hot day.

Golden Retriever: Swimming For Exercise

One of the ways Golden Retrievers can benefit from getting in the water is that it’s a great option for exercise. As your dog grows, you need to give them enough physical activity each day so that they don’t go crazy in your home.

You can take your dog for walks or to a dog park, but going into a pool or lake can be a nice change. Your furry friend can get the exercise they need from swimming, and you don’t have to worry about your dog getting bored. If you live near a small body of water, taking your dog can make for a great day out.

Before you use the water to give your dog exercise, talk to your vet. Your vet can make sure your dog doesn’t have any health problems that would make going in the water a risk. Most dogs should be fine, but you always want to be safe.

Swimming For Pain Relief

As your Golden Retriever begins to age, they can develop joint pain and arthritis. If you notice your dog has a hard time moving on land, then you should consider taking them to a body of water.

Lakes and pools are great for any Golden Retriever, but when your dog has joint problems, the water is especially beneficial. Your dog can get in the water and move without as much resistance as they have on the ground.

That way, your dog can still get some exercise, but you don’t have to worry about them dealing with too much pain. Like with any condition, you should check with your vet to make sure swimming is okay for your dog. But if it’s okay, your dog can enjoy the water even with arthritis.

Watch Annie the Golden Retriever learn how to swim in a pool.

Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!

Swimming to Keep Cool

Joint problems or not, Golden Retrievers can use the water as a great way to cool down on a hot summer day. Going into the water is a good option if there isn’t a cool breeze or if it’s particularly sunny.

A Golden Retriever can enjoy a warm day at the lake or pool without getting too hot. With easy access to water, you don’t have to worry as much about your dog overheating, although you should remember to bring plenty of fresh water for drinking.

There’s nothing more fun that spending time in the water with your Golden Retriever! But when play time is over, or your dog needs a rest, you should be able to call them to you when you want them to get out of the water.

Sometimes your dog won’t want to get out of the water, this is where good training comes in. Teaching your dog to come when called is an important skill when it comes to swimming.

Final Thoughts

Many Golden Retrievers love swimming and cooling off in the water. But some dogs may not want to get their coat wet, and others may feel unsafe. Always consider your dog’s comfort when they’re around water to make sure your dog is safe and happy.

More Golden Retriever Articles You’ll Love!


Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

Recent Posts