Water Adventures With Your Dog
Spring and Summer adventures with our dogs are so much fun, especially when there's water involved, and based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, we can't wait! But before we head off, we thought it would be a good idea to remind ourselves of a few ways we can keep our pets safe and sound.
Commands to Master
Dogs are great outdoor adventure buddies, so why leave home without them? There are, however, a few basic skills that should be mastered before you and your pup trek out into nature.
“Leave It & Drop It” is an extremely important command that should be mastered before you head out into the great outdoors with your dog. There are many things that you might come across that could be harmful to your dog, so you want to make sure you have this command down, especially if you’re considering participating in off-leash activities with your dog. Even while on a leash, dogs can be quick and sneaky, grabbing something you don't want them to.
Recall of your dog is extremely valuable and should be practiced both at home and at a local park, so that it is solid before you start adventuring somewhere new. You will want your dog to return to you when others are around, there are unknown obstacles, or potential hazards. Ideally this recall will happen before your dog gets close enough for a Leave It or Drop It command.
“Lay Down & Stay” are important commands if you are focused on a task or in a place where your dog will need to stay put for a while. Some examples of this could be in a boat, on a SUP board, kayak, on a trail, or on the shore. Make sure you practice these commands in a lot of different safe places before taking your dog on adventures to new, unfamiliar places.
Out on the water...
What are some of your favorite ways to be outside with your dog? Many people love to take their dogs out on the water with them, and it can be so much fun! It can also be dangerous, however, unless you equip your dog with the necessary gear. Anytime you are playing near the water, make sure your fur family member is wearing a dog life jacket, regardless of whether your dog can swim. Let’s delve into a little more detail about a few of those water-based activities....
Dogs love stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and kayaking for many of the same reasons people do! SUP boards can be so much easier than kayaks and canoes to get in and out of for a dog. Dogs are less restricted on a SUP board and have more freedom to move around. With a bit of practice, training, and a good stable board, most dogs will learn quickly and be out on the water in just a few weeks.
Before you get your dog up on your SUP board on into your kayak, make sure you are proficient enough when it comes to your own skills before you add a dog into the mix. Next, add your dog and practice in your backyard or other safe location on stable ground. Figure out what it will be like putting your board in and out of the water, and of course, where your dog with be in relation to you.
Another water activity many people enjoy doing with their dogs is fishing. A dog could quite possibly be the most loyal fishing companion you’ve ever had! With this activity, you want to start in a low risk environment. Begin by hanging out together while fishing from the shore, before adding a boat into the mix. Make sure you know where your dog is, and practice different commands. Figure out if you want him to stay in place and be tethered, or if you are comfortable with him being off leash. Just be mindful of the area’s potential off leash restrictions. When you’re ready to move into a boat, you’ll also want to make sure to begin the learning process while in still water before taking your dog into a boat in moving water. As you transition to a boat, again you want to be comfortable with your dog’s placement in relation to you while fishing. Make sure your dog is in a safe place before a potentially big cast! Training will take time and several fishing outings before your dog becomes a fishing companion pro.
There are a few other things to think about when fishing with your dog. With a curious nature, they’ll gravitate toward interesting objects and might be interested in your tackle box. Make sure to avoid hooks and any other sharp objects getting stuck in your dog’s mouth by keeping all your equipment and hooks stowed safely away. Also, be sure to keep fish away from your pup’s mouth! Salmon poisoning is commonly seen in Washington, Oregon, Northern California, as well as the southern part of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Infection can occur when dogs eat raw or under-cooked salmon, trout, steelhead, or Pacific Giant Salamanders infected with a parasitic flatworm.
Don’t forget that your dog has to go to the bathroom too. To avoid fishing trip interruptions when your dog just has to go, make sure to make stops to let your dog off the boat once or twice during a long day so they can go to the bathroom. Very importantly, make sure your dog keeps well hydrated, so take along plenty of water for him too. Even though you’ll be surrounded by water, one common mistake anglers with dogs make is to leave shore without an adequate supply of fresh water. Also, don't forget to pack a water bowl! While we’ve got hats, sunglasses and sunscreen to keep us humans protected, it's important to make sure your dog has some shade to sit in if the weather's hot.
If you're ready to take the plunge and take your pup out on the water, be sure and kit him out with all the latest outdoor gear for dogs, designed to keep him safe and sound.