Do Rhodesian ridgebacks like water?

Rhodesian ridgebacks can enjoy playing in water with other dogs, on warm days and if there is a gently entry. Ridgebacks however hate getting their feet wet when it is cold outside. They will do anything to avoid stepping on wet grass on cold mornings.

Ridgebacks can love playing in water if they are introduced to it early and if they have other doggy friends to play with. A kiddie pool in a dog park can be a fun play for a ridgeback to play. They will pop their paws in the water to cool down after playing and splash to cool down.

This article will explore my experience with ridgebacks and water and what you can do to encourage your dog to enjoy a splash.

Rhodesian ridgebacks and water

Every ridgebacks is different and some love water more than others. Here are my experiences with the most common ridgeback reactions to water.

Natural instincts

Ridgebacks were bred in the hot climate of Africa. They would have limited access to water, places to swim and drink. That is why they don’t always naturally go and swim in water.

Ridgebacks hate getting their feet wet

The funny thing about big tough ridgebacks is that they hate getting their feet wet. They will avoid cold, wet, grass in the morning even if they need to do their business. They will take one step out the door, test and find out the grass is wet and step straight back indoors.

Ridgebacks and other dogs

Ridgebacks will play in water, go outside in cold and wet weather if they are outdoors with other dogs. Another ridgeback or another fun dog to play with will help them to forget about any resistance to cold and wet feet. I have seen my ridgeback play out in the rain with another dog, where as on his own, he wouldn’t think about stepping outside if there is rain around.

Fun water activities for ridgebacks

Check out some great water activities you can set up for your ridgeback to help them to enjoy the water.

Kiddie pools

A kiddie pool in your backyard or a dog park will soon be a great way for your ridgeback to cool off. In hot weather, dogs will pop their front legs in and splash around to cool down. Pop fresh water in each day to give your ridgeback a great way to cool of in hot weather.

The beach

Ridgebacks can learn to love the beach if they are introduced when they are young. Start with short walks until they get used to the smells and sounds. Over time they will get comfortable with dipping their feet in and will even go for a swim.

Our ridgeback would go for swims in the ocean if we were there too. He preferred beaches with less waves to avoid getting splashed in the face. He would follow us anywhere so if we went ocean swimming he would too.

Dog friendly river areas

Look out for dog friendly river areas, with gentle entries that are safe for dogs. Many local municipalities will set aside dog safe areas that you can let them off their lead to play. Find some other dog friends to play with and they will love splashing around in fresh water.

How to help your ridgeback love water

Here are a few tips to help your ridgeback to get used to swimming in water. It can be a great way for them to get more exercise and mental stimulation.

Introduce them early

Introduce your puppy to water early. Let them splash supervised in kiddie pools, take them for walks along the beach and let them smell and splash in safe rivers. Keep your dog on a leash until they get used to the environment. When they are ready and the area is dog friendly you can let them off to play.

Find a gentle entry

To let your ridgeback get used to the water, find a way that they can gently work their way in. A beach with minimal waves or a safe, slow flowing river with a shallow bank will all work well. Keep them on the lead to make sure they are safe until you are both comfortable.

My ridgeback loved to play in the beach and the river. He would chase sticks, swim and follow us in when we would swim. Give them a rinse with fresh water when they get out to get rid of the mud and the salt.

Play in warm weather

Ridgebacks will love to play in water much more in warm weather than cold. They have thin coats so the cold water will go straight through to their skin. In hot weather ridgebacks will love to cool down in water.

Do Rhodesian ridgebacks like water? | Summary

Ridgebacks can like water if they are introduced early, if the weather is warm and if they have someone else to play with. They will often follow you anywhere so if you like to play in the ocean they will learn to love it too. Ridgebacks like to cool off in hot weather, but will avoid the cold wet grass like their life depends on it.