Written by Kenneth Reaves
What could be better than spending a day on or near the water, surrounded by nature and with a fishing rod in your hands? Well, having your dog nearby, of course!
Most anglers never consider the possibility of taking their pup on a fishing trip with them. Some think their pup may distract them, scare the fish off, or get in the way. But if you plan properly, it can be a great adventure for you both!
But if you’re interested in sharing a fun-filled experience with your dog, here’s how to plan a fishing trip with your furry friend.
Plan For Safety
If you’re taking your dog with you on the water, it’s a good idea to make sure that they know how to swim beforehand. Even if they do, it’s highly recommended to get them a doggy life jacket. Brush up on pet boat safety principles and follow them closely.
Doing a boating safety course and a pet first aid course is also a good idea. Also find the contact details of the nearest vet and keep them close by. The more prepared you are, the better—although we hope and pray that there’s no need to use any of these things!
Teach Your Dog Some Basic Commands
Whether you’re on the boat or on the shore, teaching your dog some basic commands is extremely helpful for controlling them and keeping them safe. Start with:
- Drop it
With these commands, you can get your dog on and off a boat, away from dangerous areas and get them to drop anything they may have got hold of.
If you’re starting from scratch, we recommend training your dog for at least a few weeks before your fishing trip. Using treats as positive reinforcement is a great way to make training stick.
Choose A Spot With Few Hazards
Your regular fishing spot may not be the best place for a dog. Be mindful about where you choose to fish with your pup, and try to plan in advance.
If you’re fishing on the bank, avoid spots with roads nearby, rough waters like river crossings or waterfalls and places where the surrounding bush is thick and easy to get stuck in.
If you’re on a boat, make sure your boat is dog-friendly! Use non-slip mats to help your pup move around and a floating dog ramp to help them board and disembark.
Gear Up For Your Pup
Don’t forget to pack for your pup too. If you’re out for a full day, a blanket to nap on, food, water and bowls are essential.
Plan to bring along a chew toy in case your dog needs something to keep them busy. We also recommend a pair of dog booties to protect their paws.
Include Bonding Time
Don’t just assume your dog will keep himself busy without getting up to mischief. If you’re taking your dog along on your fishing trip, you need to be prepared to spend some time bonding with them.
Take some time to splash in the water with your pup or chase him around on the bank. Even just sitting and enjoying the scenery with your arm around your dog can be great bonding time.
Kenneth Reaves has been a professional angler for over two decades, and has plenty of experience fishing competitively. He gets out on the water every chance he gets, and shares his knowledge and passion over at Perfect Captain.