Don’t introduce your puppy to the ocean as their first experience with water. Instead, you should start very small.
Even very young puppies can get interested in a kiddy pool full of just an inch or two of water. Your first step to getting your dog into the pool is to get them used to being wet. We recommend making the kiddy pool a fun place – add in some water toys and have plenty of fun in the water.
Once your puppy gets a bit older, you can start introducing them to larger amounts of water. Start somewhere calm, like a pool or pond. Places with waves can be a bit scary for new swimmers.
As your dog is comfortable, you may increase the depth of the water. Excellent swimmers can be taken to the ocean, but be sure to take plenty of safety precautions.
You should avoid pushing your dog to enjoy the water – especially if they seem afraid. You can’t make your dog love anything, including swimming.
Some dogs are just not suitable for the water. Whether it is genetics or their innate personality, some dogs will never take well to the water.
Most Bernedoodles will like swimming and playing in the water. But “most” is the keyword here. Not all Bernedoodles will love getting wet.
Keep it Fun
If you make swimming stressful, your dog likely won’t enjoy it. You should aim to keep it fun and always follow your dog’s lead. Let your dog play in the kiddy pool if that’s what they like to do – don’t feel the need to push them into bigger bodies of water.
Get a few fun water toys and floating balls. Let your canine play and have fun. Don’t focus so much on helping them swim or moving too fast. Progress will happen best when they can move at their own pace and have fun while they’re doing it.
By the way: Unless you keep your dog’s coat very short, your Bernedoodle will need to be groomed quickly after getting out of the water. Rinsing off chorine or river water and giving him a quick brush will usually be sufficient. Don’t skip this step, or you will have to deal with tangles and unkempt hair later on.
Bernedoodles often have a genetic predisposition to water. The Poodle was bred to swim and enjoy it. So, their offspring typically do as well.
However, this isn’t a promise. Not all Bernedoodles like to swim. Some don’t inherit these traits from the Poodle and may never take readily to water. When you mix two breeds, you’re left with some degree of uncertainty – including their temperament.
How often your dog is introduced to water at a young age matters. If your puppy is never around water, they likely won’t learn to swim. Many dogs would be unsure or even a bit fearful of water as adults if they didn’t swim around as puppies. Therefore, you should aim to take your puppy around water a lot. Otherwise, they probably won’t enjoy it very much.
Of course, there isn’t always much you can do to encourage your puppy to like water. That’s what you get with a mixed breed – you can’t always be sure of their temperament and likes.
If you need a dog that loves water, we recommend getting a purebred Poodle. They have been bred over the centuries to love water. It’s an innate characteristic. Other Poodle mixes that will most likely love water are Goldendoodles, Mini Goldendoodles or Labradoodles.