Author: Kenneth Reaves
Now that lockdown restrictions are coming to ease, and you’ve exhausted all at-home activities with your canine companion, it may be time for the great outdoors. For regular anglers, fishing is the perfect activity for you and your furry friend.
However, there is a significant learning curve for dogs who have never been fishing. If you plan to take Fido on your next angling excursion, here are a few tips you should keep in mind.
Research Your Destination
There is no such thing as overpreparation. You want to spend as much time looking up your destination as you would shopping for the right trolling rod.
Does it snow where you are headed? If so, packing the appropriate winter gear for your dog can make or break your fishing adventure. Are you traveling to a destination notorious for its rough tides? You may want to rethink your itinerary.
Pick a place ideal for beginners—if a young angler is up to the challenge, chances are your dog is too.
Go for a Vet Check-Up
Consulting with your vet is imperative, especially if you are traveling with a senior dog or one with physical disabilities. While swimming is an excellent method of improving your dog’s overall skill and mobility, a flowing river or the open ocean may not suit every pet.
A veterinary expert is the best person to advise whether your dog is fit for traveling. They can also provide the appropriate documentation if you are traveling out of state.
Teach Your Dog Basic Commands
No, your dog doesn’t have to be a trick master to make an ideal fishing companion—but they should know basic commands. Simple commands such as sit, stay, and drop it can go a long way, especially when it comes to keeping their paws off your favorite walleye rod and hook (or catch).
Get Your Dog Used to the Water
While most dogs are a fan of the water, not every pet is. With that in mind, even the most natural swimmers will need to spend ample time in the water before you can take them out to the lake or sea.
Wherever you go, the current varies. By familiarizing your dog with different bodies of water, the easier it’ll be to acclimate them to various destinations. You can always start them off in an inflatable pool or even enroll them in dog-specific swimming lessons.
Bring the Right Gear
We don’t just mean your tackle box and fishfinder when we say gear—we also mean dog essentials. Things you’ll want to take along on your Fido-friendly fishing trip are:
- A leash and collar or harness
- Extra water bottles
- Food and treats
- Waste bags
- A first aid kit that includes bandages, tweezers, scissors, and antiseptic solution
Know Where to Go in Case of Emergency
Fishing involves precarious locations, challenging terrain, deep waters, and hazardous gear. While you can do as much as possible to prevent an accident, it’s almost impossible to prevent one. Thus, knowing where to go in case of an emergency can keep you—and your dog—from further injury.
Curate a list of nearby veterinary clinics and their contact details before tackling the lake—or sea!
The Bottom Line
With the right training and preparation, taking your dog along your fishing excursion can be more complementary than it is a nuisance. If you’re planning your very first dog-friendly fishing trip, don’t forget to give these additional training tips a peep!