When Can Golden Retriever Puppies Swim? How to Train Them & Safety Tips

For example, you should only take them swimming when they are ready to. But when is that?

When can golden retriever puppies swim? Golden Retrievers can swim when they are three months old. That’s when your golden retriever puppy will start to be strong enough to swim. Golden Puppies under 3 months old are not strong enough to get into the water just yet.

But hold on, before you rush to the water with your puppy, you should know that there is a process to teaching them to swim properly, and this includes how to keep them safe, how to introduce them for the first time to the water, and how to make sure they love it so they can enjoy it.

We’re going to discuss all of this in the simplest (and shortest) way possible, so let’s get to it.

Can Golden Retriever Puppies swim

golden swimming with tennis ball to show when can golden retriever puppies swim

Many people believe that the Golden Retriever’s DNA contains swimming and a love of water. Anyone would imagine this, given that these golden retrievers are historically associated with fishermen and the chilly seas of Newfoundland.

People sometimes believe that Golden puppies can swim at birth and ask me if their pups can swim when they are a month old.

While this is an understandable assumption, the fact of the matter is that goldens can not simply swim at birth, and it takes time for them to be physically strong enough to go swimming.

Some people report that their Golden Retriever pups began swimming when they were barely eight weeks old. “Puppies may swim, and this does not imply they should.

This brings us to the next natural question;

Can Golden Retrievers swim naturally?

Some dogs are able to swim on their own, while others have no interest in doing so.

When it comes to exploring new things, no matter what breed of dog you have, they will be naturally curious. When they are pups, the vast majority of dogs have no negative experiences or worries that might influence their desire to explore new things. Water is a major part of a Golden Retriever’s life and brings out the pup in them.

If you begin training your Golden Retriever puppy in water at a young age (between 8 and 12 weeks), you won’t require much instruction. Young pups that enjoy water will naturally start swimming and becoming more daring as their confidence grows.

When it comes to teaching your Golden Retriever puppy to swim, start with a paddling pool in your yard. Don’t push him into the water; allow him to explore on his own and maybe make it more appealing by placing his favorite toy in the pool.

What makes golden retrievers good at swimming?

Golden Retrievers are good at swimming because they have a natural affinity for water, as well as being bred to retrieve things from the ocean. This breed of dog is also known for having webbed feet which make them excellent at swimming when compared to other breeds.

Golden Retrievers are not necessarily best suited to swim in pools or lakes but they will do this when given a chance.

Golden Retrievers can swim when they are first born and this is natural to them, but as with any dog breed you should not force your pup into the water. When a Golden puppy begins swimming it will be because he wants to and when he feels comfortable enough. If you begin training at an early age then there won’t really be any issues when it comes to training your puppy.

Puppies may swim, and this does not imply they should be allowed in the water at all times. It is important to monitor them when they are playing around bodies of water as well as keeping an eye on their behavior when near or in the water (if you allow them access). This is when you will be able to see when they are starting to panic when in the water which is when intervention becomes necessary.

Puppies can swim but do it because it’s fun, not because you want them to have a good time around bodies of water or when swimming. They may enjoy being out on boat trips with their family and also when they go swimming when out on vacation.

Golden Retriever puppies will normally swim when the weather is warm and when it’s sunny outside, but this does not mean that you should allow them to swim in all kinds of water or when they are hot. It is important to monitor their behavior when around any kind of body of water at all times when they are not in your care.

When can golden retriever puppies swim?

You should start training your golden retriever puppy to swim once they are 12 weeks or 3 months of age when their muscles and bones have developed enough to support them in the water. This doesn’t mean you can throw your puppy into a pool when he is this age, but follow the steps below when training him/her.

How to teach your golden retriever to swim?

Here are the steps to train your golden retriever puppy to swim:


  1. Choose a nice day and prepare to wear something you don’t mind getting wet.
  2. It’s preferable if you go to shallow water (because the pool is ideal since it allows you to join them).
  3. Allow someone else to assist you but have them wait outside the pool.
  4. Get a swimming vest to boost their confidence in the water and to ensure that they don’t get hurt. (Check out my dog’s favorite swimming vest on Amazon here)
  5. Grab your puppy and get in the water where only your thighs and face are covered, with the person who is here to assist you.
  6. Slowly lower your pup into the water while you are still holding them
  7. Secure one hand at the base of their tail with your other hand. The other hand should be under their belly 
  8. While you are holding them, speak to them in a nice tone and commend them. Then slowly lower them into the water but still without releasing them
  9. When the puppy’s legs are in the water they should start paddling on their own and when they do that start praising them in an upbeat voice 
  10. Let the other person call your pup to them and remove the hand from their belly but keep the other hand at their tail to keep them balanced 
  11. When they get close enough to the person release their tail and let them get out
  12. When they finally reach the person, let that person give them a treat 
  13. Repeat the whole thing and every time increase the distance just a little bit 

Here is a simple video showing you how to teach your golden retriever puppy swim:

12 Water safety tips for Golden Retrievers

Here are 12 safety water tips for golden retrievers :

  1. Keep them away from pools when you aren’t home and never leave a pool gate open because they may wander in when feeling hot and need to cool off or want to play around with the water.
  2. Monitor their behavior when playing near bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, ponds, etc. This is when you will be able to see when they are starting to panic when in the water which is when intervention becomes necessary.
  3. Be sure that your golden retriever puppy does not drink too much as this may cause health issues, such as bloating or vomiting and diarrhea when swimming around bodies of water because it will upset their stomachs.
  4. Do not let your golden retriever swim when they are sick or when having a fever.
  5. Always keep the water temperature in mind when letting them swim around bodies of water because if it’s too cold for you, then it will be too cold for them as well and could lead to hypothermia which can become life-threatening very quickly when out in the water.
  6. If you notice that your golden retriever tires when swimming then get them out because they could drown if weakened by fatigue to a point where they can’t climb out of the water on their own power.
  7. Golden retrievers should not be allowed to swim when overheated because this can cause them to become ill and get exercise-induced seizures when exercising in the water too long.
  8. Always make sure that all life jackets are properly fitted for your golden retriever, especially when they will be swimming around moving bodies of water (i.e rivers)
  9. Do NOT let your golden retriever swim too soon after eating when they are puppies because it can give them cramps and may cause drowning when swimming around water.
  10. Be aware that golden retrievers will usually avoid deep waters so you may not be able to rely on their natural instincts when looking for signs of danger when letting them swim in the pool or lakes etc.
  11. When out at a lake or when at the beach, always keep your eyes open for any large bodies of water and know how far out you should go when letting them swim.
  12. When near a body of water such as a lake or river where there may be currents it is important to watch their behavior when they are swimming around and if they seem tired then get them out before it’s too late.

5 Benefits of Swimming for Golden Retrievers

Swimming is really good for your golden retriever. Here are 5 of the best benefits of swimming for Golden Retrievers:

  1. Swimming when they are young will help their joints when they get older
  2. It’s a great exercise for them to burn off some of the extra energy that golden retrievers have when being more active.
  3. It helps with weight loss when you can’t be outside playing ball or running around in the yard and it also increases muscle mass, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness when running around in the water.
  4. Swimming is also great for their coats when it helps to keep them clean because golden retrievers are prone to skin problems when swimming so much.
  5. That’s why you should always use a conditioner when shampooing your dog which will help with dryness. Check out my recommended shampoos here.

Related questions

Can Golden Retrievers swim underwater?

Golden Retrievers can swim underwater when they are puppies when you let them swim at their own pace when learning to do so.

Can Golden Retrievers Swim in the Ocean?

Yes, golden retrievers can absolutely swim in the ocean when not having any health issues or injuries that may cause problems when swimming around larger bodies of water. They should always be supervised though when

Are Golden Retrievers nervous of water?

Golden Retrievers are usually not nervous about water and the large majority of goldens absolutely love water and spending quality time with their owners.

Helpful Resources

How to teach a dog to swim

Pet Water Safety

The Everything Golden Retriever Book: A Complete Guide to Raising, Training, and Caring for Your Golden
by Gerilyn J. Bielakiewicz, Paul S. Bielakiewicz

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

If you liked the article, you can share it using the share and pin buttons at the end of the post. I’ll really appreciate it ♥️♥️


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind Retrievershub.com. With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting Retrievershub.com and being part of our vibrant community.

Recent Posts