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I took my 7 month old to a reservoir for the first time to get some real swimming in. she has swam in a river but that was difficult with current and variable depths. we went to the reservoir three days in a row and she loves to swim. i throw the frisbee out like 20 ft of paddling distance and she will go out get it and come back in. my issue is she doesnt appear to be using her rear legs at all to swim. she has a severe angulation in the water like her front legs are doing all the work. some labs there i noticed were swimming in a way that their whole back was visible while swimming. and it looked much more smooth and effortless. are shepherds not built to be powerful swimmers (one lab stayed out paddling for over 30 mins without rest) or does my girl just not know how to swim properly? my girl comes from german show lines and has quite a bit of angulation in her rear end.

thanks
 

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Well, labs tend to be better swimmers than shepherds in general because they are bred for it lol. :) I wouldn't use a water-bred dog as a reference against your shepherd.
 

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i understand. all the other dogs swimming were labs though besides some tiny little rat dogs that didnt go in the water so i dont have much to compare to lol.

here is a clickable video not the best quality sorry
 

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My shepherd is an avid swimmer and has always used his back legs and front legs, and you can see his while back above the water.
I've seen dogs swim like yours and it's like they don't really know how to swim. I'm not sure how you would teach him to swim properly, but it seems important for safety in the water.
 

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Thats not bad at all! Shes just learning isn't she? Some dogs aren't naturals. :) At the racetrack in Phoenix they have a horse swimming pool and its hilarious watching first time horses learn how to swim. Some sink, some thrash, some have the sinky back end. Most of them learn eventually though. Just takes time. :)
 

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I'm not sure how you'd teach a dog to swim any differently, although maybe a floatation vest would keep her more level, and build her confidence in the water.

Cassidy liked to swim but was never very good at it. She swam with her head up high out of the water and her front legs slapping at the water. Since then all my dogs have been really good swimmers, gliding through the water like fish. Here are Keefer and Halo swimming through waves in the San Francisco Bay:

 

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I have a new dog, not a GSD but a small pit bull type mix, and I've been working with her on learning to swim. She just didn't know she could swim. What I did was got her a real comfortable harness and then with treats (she will do anything for food) she comes out on the dog and lets me lift her by her harness. I very calmly set her in the water, horizontal, and then let her swim along the dock to shore. It's just a short swim for her and she's not running and jumping in or flailing around, just swimming. Once her feet touch and she comes back to me she gets another handful of treats. She was scared of water at first and now she runs back down the dock and waits for me to lift her back into the water. She's actually a very good swimmer.
 

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We took a friend's dog for the first time to the lake last week. She swam a lot with her front. I think the case was that she was trying to still touch with her back feet. it made her a bit more up and down in the water as opposed to stretched out.
 

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Having hunt experience with labs and shepherds I have noticed a big difference in their mechanics of swimming. Shepherds seem to start of using what I call a froggy paddle instead of a doggy paddle. What I mean by that is they use their back legs at the same time in one motion like a frog kicking where a lab will tend to use all for legs individually. But it does get better, with more time in th the water. And it's the only way to get better lol since you can't have your pup watch a video on the correct way to swim. I have noticed a better technique when the pup has something in there mouth that opens there mouth about 1/3 of the way, not sure if it is because it holds their snout at a other angle or what. Also noticeable changes when someone is accompanying the pup in the water. Hold him in the water, teach them that they aren't trying to get in and out as quickly as possible, let them get comfortable, let them follow you while swimming, you can really work them when you are in there next to them since you can grab them if they tire out. Good luck!

Howdy from Idaho!
 

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My American German Shepherd was level in the front and rear and would swim very evenly. My silvertip was slanted even more than yours and started off using his front paws more than the rear. I think they do that at first while they are learning and after a while figure out how to work smarter than harder.

Great dog!
 
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