There is nothing better than a lake adventure with your family and friends… as well as your adorable fur baby. Bringing your dog onboard for a day of fun is the BEST, but can also be intimidating. No need to worry! Making your boating environment safe and comfortable for your furry companion can be easy with a little time and preparation.
Here are 5 recommended tips when taking your dog out on the boat:
- Familiarize Your Dog with the Boat
The first step is to have your cute pup sniff around your boat, out of the water because it is much safer. The goal is to slowly desensitize him to this new environment. You can also get your dog used to the engine’s sounds and your boating equipment with positive reinforcement (treats, praise, etc.)! If your doggie has never been on the lake before, this new environment will be exciting and the sounds and smells will be very entertaining. That’s why it would be an excellent idea to introduce them to the unfamiliar watercraft before going on a cruise with them.
- Boat Training for Your Dog
The second important step is to train your companion before taking her on a boat. Basic obedience training should be mastered to keep control over her. Your dog needs to understand simple commands such as “Stay”, “Sit”, or “Leave It” to enjoy boating safely. Teaching your dog the right behavior to have on the boat before going out on the sea or the lake will also make your trips more fun and safe! Apart from the basic obedience training, it would be beneficial to teach your dog how to get on and off of your boat. This training is very important for large dogs. For smaller pups, you can simply carry them in your hands.
- Items to Bring Your Dog for a Day on the Water
The third thing to think about is the equipment that your companion will need. You don’t want to forget essential things such as your doggy’s life jacket, her leash, her collar or harness, some food, and plenty of fresh drinking water. Besides that, you could also bring some treats or toys to catch her attention more easily!
- Finding the Best Life Jacket for your Dog
The two most important elements to analyze about a life jacket are its security and comfortability. You want to make sure the life jacket fits your dog securely. Take the time to try the jacket on your pooch before boarding the boat. It really is the responsible thing to do. Take your dog's measurements carefully to get a life jacket of the proper size. The size around the chest, neck, and abdomen, as well as the dog's weight, will all impact what size is best. The jacket should fit snugly but without chafing, and adjustable straps can help ensure the best fit for any pooch. A bright colored jacket would also be a good idea making it easy for you to spot your pup!
- Don’t Tie Your Dog to Something on the Boat
You might think that keeping your dog leashed to something on the boat is an excellent idea. Not exactly, this could be extremely dangerous for her if she decides to jump in the water. The rope could hang your companion if it’s tied to something on the boat. You should either keep the leash in your hands or let her off-leash on the boat with her life jacket.
And please remember don't ever leave your dog alone on a boat. Onboard a vessel they need you to protect them at all times.
(Remember to inspect your boat lines and dock ties and replace as needed. Boat lines and dock ties weather and weaken over time.)