Can Shiba Inus Swim? How to Teach your Shiba to Swim

One of the most enjoyable things about being a fur parent is involving your dog in adventurous activities like hiking, running, and jogging. And when warmer seasons come and you see all these swimming dogs, you wonder: can my Shiba Inu do that? 

Can Shiba Inu swim?

Yes, the Shiba Inu can swim if they are properly introduced to water and taught how to. 

However, it’s not a water dog and is instinctively afraid of water. So take note that it might be a challenge to get a Shiba Inu to swim, especially with its stubborn temperament. 

Still, every Shiba Inu is different, and even their reaction to different bodies of water varies. 

Some Shiba is very tolerable with bath time while others just downright hate it no matter how much you try to make bathing enjoyable. 

Puddles are also disliked, and Shiba Inus tend to completely avoid stepping on one. 

But, playing with the hose is a joy for this dog and is a fun activity on a warm afternoon. 

Swimming, on the other hand, is a preference. Some Shiba will choose to stay near the shore or in shallow waters, while others are more than ready to swim and play. 

It’s been observed that Shiba Inus that like water are actually those that grew up near the sea or ponds. 

Benefits of swimming for your dogs

Owners would want to introduce and teach their dogs to swim for its amazing benefits. Not only is it a good cool-down activity on a hot day, but it also offers health benefits for pets. 

It is especially helpful for dogs who are rehabilitating from an injury or surgery and is also a recommended activity for overweight pooches. 

Improves overall health

If you want to engage your dog in different forms of exercise with one activity, swimming is the way to go. 

It’s been said that one minute of swimming is equal to four minutes of running. Swimming also strengthens the heart and lungs, increases metabolism, and improves circulation. The limb movement to go against the water also uses different kinds of muscles, and this also improves strength. 


Aside from its physical benefits, it also helps with your dog’s mental well-being. 

A dog’s mental state can be stimulated through play and different forms of activities. Swimming is one of them as it is a play without a leash. It allows them to release all their energy without being restrained. 

How to introduce your Shiba Inu to water

First impressions last. 

So if you want your Shiba Inu to like water, you must ensure his first water experience is positive and enjoyable. 

Start small

When introducing new things to your dog, always start small and slow. The same goes for water and swimming. 

For starters, a kiddle pool with his favorite toys floating on it is a great way to introduce water to your Shiba. Aside from that, you as the fur parent should also be playful and positive 

If you want to introduce your dog to the sea, start near the shore or in shallow water. Once he has become comfortable with shallow water, try walking him out to deeper parts where the doggy paddle reflexes automatically kick in. 

If you see him having fun, slowly let him go but make sure he is still within reach. 

Allow your Shiba to explore

Don’t rush your Shiba Inu and allow it to explore independently. Rushing them into the water might just scare them, even though you are aiming for a fun experience. 

Let them venture into the sea or pool and offer them a wet toy and wait for their reaction. After a few minutes of letting them explore, try to play fetch and toss a toy into the water. If your dog doesn’t follow after it, it’s okay. 

You can always try again at a later time. 

Remember, water is a foreign element for your Shiba. He’ll be cautious so let him explore and get wet on his own. 

Offer encouragement

Sometimes, what your dog needs is a bit of a push. Not literally, but a boost of encouragement might do the trick. 

One simple push you can do is to bring another dog who loves swimming. When your Shiba sees this dog splashing, having fun, and playing with the water, it can act as a confidence booster. 

If another dog is not possible, you can do it yourself! Walk into the shallow part of the pool or ocean and bring his favorite toy or ball with you. Toss the ball, and encourage your dog to play. 

If he’s not interested, try again after a few minutes. 

What to look out for

Like every activity, your dog’s safety and comfort should come first. While swimming is a wonderful way to spend a warm afternoon, you still need to keep a close eye on your dog, especially if you are out in the sea. 

Here are things to look out for: 

  • Big waves
  • Broken glass
  • Sharp sticks
  • Pointed rocks
  • Snapping turtles
  • Snakes

Also, make sure your pet is up-to-date with its vaccination. 

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