Have you ever thought that it might be fun to take your dog canoeing with you? Well, if you’ve thought of it, then I’m sure your dog has, too. There are some very important things to consider before you and your four-legged companion jump into the canoe. For example, first your dog has to be introduced to the canoe on land, then in the water, so that he doesn’t get frightened when the canoe is rocking on the waves.
Getting your dog to become comfortable while inside a canoe is something that can take weeks or months to accomplish, but just be patient, it will happen. Just like training your dog to do anything – bathroom training, sitting, whatever – if you commit to it, it can be done.
First, introduce your dog to the canoe while it is on land. Persuade her to climb in and to get used to it. Luring her with treats is a great way to help her get in.
The next step is to get your dog to climb into the canoe while it is tied to the dock. This can sometimes be tricky because the rocking and swaying of the canoe can make dogs uncomfortable. With patience and treats, Lady will eventually be comfortable inside the canoe, while it is docked.
Finally, climb into the canoe with your dog. The initial rocking may make him a little nervous but he will calm down. Once he is calm, push off and go for a short paddle. The more that your dog is in the canoe, the more comfortable he will be on the water.
Safety and comfort
Now that Rover is comfortable jumping into the canoe, let’s make him comfortable during the trip. Water from your shoes or splashing and so on will accumulate in the bottom of the canoe. You definitely wouldn’t want to sit in that and neither will your dog. Make a platform for your best friend to sit on by putting a sheet of plywood in the bottom of the canoe. Not only will your dog stay dry but he’ll also be sitting on a solid platform so he won’t be sliding around.
Now that Lady is dry and comfortable, let’s talk about her safety. I’ve hear countless stories of people tying their dog to the seats, yokes, or thwarts of the canoe and then something happens and the poor dog is choked. Never tie your dog to any part of the canoe or to anything that is heavy and will pull him down if the canoe flips. If your dog absolutely must be leashed when she is in the canoe, just put the leash under your foot. It isn’t safe for the dog. If your dog jumps overboard or if the canoe flips, then your dog will be in big trouble? Just don’t do it.
Putting a lifejacket on your dog might sound silly and your dog might not like wearing it but what if the canoe does flip over and you are in the middle of a lake? While swimming comes naturally to most breeds of dogs, that doesn’t mean that they can swim for miles or against a strong current. Get a lifejacket for your dog. If something happens, you’ll be happy that you did. He will get used to it, just like he got used to wearing a collar or using a leash. Eventually, with puppy steps, he will get excited every time you reach for the lifejacket.
Now you and your dog are ready for a fun, safe and comfortable day out on the water and remember, it’s all about puppy steps.