If you’re one of the 49 million Americans who love heading to the nation’s waterways in pursuit of fish, you’ve probably realized that the fishing experience is a lot more fun and fulfilling when you have great company. But, what do you do if no one in your circle is interested or available to join you on fishing trips? Your pup can actually make an amazing fishing trip companion and the best part is, they’ll be over the moon getting to spend more time with you in nature. However, before going fishing with your dog, you must take the time to train them properly to ensure that they stay safe and don’t end up ruining your day out.
Start training long before you go on your first trip
Whether you’re fishing in a river, lake, stream, or the ocean, you want to ensure that your dog knows how to act in a new environment. At the very least, your dog should be able to remain calm and composed when they’re surrounded by a large body of water. You can start your training in a swimming pool and gradually take it up a notch as your dog gets used to it. Socialization is also key if you want your pup to grow up with a good-natured temperament; you don’t want your dog to become scared or aggressive when they run into other fishermen or animals on your trips. To ensure good etiquette, you can also teach your dog various commands such as “lay down,” and “stay.” This makes it easier to control your dog’s behavior and keep them safe.
Keep your dog fit
Going on a fishing trip requires a good level of fitness not only for you but also for your dog, especially if they’re doing more than just sitting on the boat or the bank and watching you cast. You’ll probably need to walk long distances on tough trails to get to your fishing spot and once you get there, you’ll both need to be fit to endure hours of fishing. Before you start any exercise routine, speak to your vet to know which exercises are suitable for your dog based on their breed and unique body characteristics. Some of the exercises you can do together with your dog to condition them for fishing trips include jogging, hiking, playing a game of fetch, and swimming.
Take the necessary safety precautions
There are many dangers to your pup in a fishing environment, and you must ensure that you’re ready for all of them. First of all, have the right gear. If you’re fishing on a boat, make sure your dog is wearing a PFD vest at all times. This will make retrieval easy if they get excited and decide to go overboard. Although you may not need it most of the time, a leash is also a must-have should you need to restrain your dog to a tree or the boat. A dog first aid kit can also come in handy during unexpected situations. If you’re going to allow your pup into the water, you must learn the different fish species that are present; some species may be deadly to your dog if they ingest the fish’s outer skin or blood.
If you want a loyal fishing partner who’s never too busy to join you, stays by your side the entire time, and even helps with catching fish, your furry friend could be it. It may take a lot of time and training to teach your pup how to behave around fishing scenarios but once you get it right, the two of you will have a lifetime of memorable trips together.