Water Adventures With Your Dog

Summer adventures are not quite in the rear view mirror just yet, and here in the Pacific Northwest, we are lucky to be able to keep on adventuring with our dogs well into the Fall season.

Here at UKUSCAdoggie, we can help you find all the gear you'll need for your next adventure with your dog. Dogs are great adventure buddies, so why leave home without them? There are, however, just a few basic skills that should be mastered before you and your pup trek out into nature.

small dog training

Leave It & Drop It” are important when you’re out in nature. There are quite a few 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.

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, unknown obstacles, and 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 while 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.

dog in water with toy

What are some of your favorite ways to get outside with your dog? One area we can definitely help when it comes to finding the best gear, is when you and your pup are heading for the water, where safety is so important. Anytime you are playing near the water, make sure your fur family member is wearing a life jacket, regardless of whether he or she can swim. Let’s delve into a little more detail about a few of those water-based activities....

dog on kayak

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 duos can learn quickly and be out on the water in a few weeks.

Before you get your dog up on your board on in your kayak, make sure you are proficient enough with your skills before you add a dog into the mix. That means getting out on your SUP board or kayak on your own! Next, add your dog and practice in your backyard or other safe location on stable ground. Practice getting in and out, where they will be laying both with and without you. Also, don’t forget to practice while still on dry land, and 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. Dogs 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 a shore, before adding a boat into the mix. Make sure you know where your dog is, and practice the different commands, whether you want them to stay in place and be tethered, or you are comfortable with your dog 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 away. Also, make 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.

 dog on a row boat

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! Finally, we’ve got hats, sunglasses and sunscreen to keep us humans protected, but it's important to make sure your dog has some shade to sit in if you're dealing with hot weather. 

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