A Quick Guide to Dog Water Sports

A Quick Guide to Dog Water Sports

Dog water sports are a great way to exercise your pet. It gives them an outlet for their natural swim instinct and helps them get the exercise they need. Many breeds are hesitant to go in the water, and because of this, it is important to familiarize them with the water and teach them to swim when they are still young.


On the other hand, there are some breeds that are natural-born swimmers. They just take to the water inherently, and if you're lucky enough to have one of these breeds as a pet, then you'll already have a good swimmer on your hands.


Dogs that are used to swimming will be much healthier than those that are not. They'll have a higher resistance to disease and will have better cardiovascular fitness, as well as stronger muscles. Dog water sports help build muscle tone for dogs because their weight is supported by the buoyancy of the water. You may notice a difference in your dog's muscle mass after regular exercise sessions in the pool.


If you're a dog owner who would like to have your pet participate in water sports, you'll need to find the right activities for them. While the following list is not comprehensive, it includes several popular dog water sports and games that will be fun for both you and your canine companion.


Popular Dog Water Sports

The most exhilarating aspect of dog water sports is that they are fun! Most dogs will enjoy the opportunity to play, so finding activities suitable for your pet should not be difficult. Here are several popular options:


Water Retrieval

In this sport, dogs use their natural tendencies to retrieve objects. The object is thrown into the water, and the dog uses his mouth to pick it up and bring it back out of the water. Some variations include mock water rescues where the dog "captures" a person or "rescues" another pet.



Dog surfing is ideal for active pets that love the thrill of being in the water. They are harnessed onto the surfboard and held on by a person while they ride out to meet incoming waves. The dog must be conditioned so he is strong enough to hold his weight against the force of the board. Dogs can also learn to jump off boards, perform tricks, and swim out to catch waves.


Water Agility

This is a competitive sport for dogs, where they are trained to jump over, dive under, or weave around poles and other hurdles in the water.  Some agility sports are played on dry land, but this version is unique because it takes place in the pool.


Doggy Paddleboarding

Doggy paddleboards are a combination of dog surfing and stand-up paddleboarding. They allow the dog to sit or lie on the board with its owner, and they can either hold on or perch themselves at the front while their owners paddle through the water.


Water Frisbee

Dogs love chasing frisbees, which makes this game a good fit for many dogs. One person can throw the frisbee, while another person calls out water-based commands to guide the dog through the trickier aspects of playing this game.


Water Pulling

This activity is similar to weight pulling because it uses strength and conditioning to see which dog can pull a small raft across the water the fastest.  These rafts usually have a person on them for safety.


FreeStyle Canine Swimming

FreeStyle Canine Swimming competitions are a good fit for dogs who love the water and have a strong repertoire of doggy paddleboard tricks. These competitions are judged by how long it takes the dog to complete an obstacle course, as well as how gracefully he moves through the water.


Dog Diving 

In this sport, an object is thrown into the water, and the dog must dive down to retrieve it. It is better suited for advanced swimmers who can hold their breath for longer periods of time. 


Dog Jumping

Dog jumping, also known as dock jumping, is a popular activity that often takes place at large bodies of water such as lakes or the ocean, where floating docks are common. The dog jumps off the dock into the water and swims to retrieve a toy, which is what they are rewarded for.



Dogs can enjoy boating with their owners, either by riding in the boat or swimming alongside it. These dogs should be conditioned swimmers who are comfortable being in the water for long periods of time, so they can participate in this pleasant pastime together.


These are only some of the water sports enjoyed by dogs. Dog swimming and water sports can be beneficial to both you and your pet, as it gives them an outlet to play while improving their health. They also allow you to engage with your dog in a unique way that builds your relationship closer. You'll find what works best for both of you after some trial and error. 


One of the best things about water sports is many of them are low-impact exercise, which is beneficial to older dogs who suffer from arthritis or other joint issues. Also, it's not necessary to have a large backyard pool or an ocean nearby - simple kiddie pools are just as fun for your dog during the summer!

Become close with your Dog

Daniel Barrett’s emotionally intelligent approach to dog training has created a large following of dog owners who feel that their relationship with their dog has transformed substantially.

Become close with your Dog

Daniel Barrett’s emotionally intelligent approach to dog training has created a large following of dog owners who feel that their relationship with their dog has transformed substantially.

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