Article – Wilderdog
Meet Sadie, a three year old Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix who loves to get outside and explore with her humans. She’s been doing that since the day she was brought home at 8 weeks old. One adventure she loves the most? Fishing!
Fishing isn’t for all dogs, but to Sadie and her humans, days on the water are better spent with a friend. Some dogs have no patience or attention span to sit quietly while their owner casts endlessly. Sadie enjoys nothing more than focusing on the ripples of the water. She stares intensely at the line and waits for a fish to come in.
It comes naturally to Sadie to run down to the river or alpine lake to watch her human cast a line. Many folks ask Sadie’s owners if any training was necessary, but they can confidently say she never means any harm to the fish. Also, she never gets in the way of what the fisherman is doing. They never had to ‘train her’ to be calm or to not interfere. It’s quite amazing that Sadie just sits and watches nicely. When she was young the owners did their research and tied their general obedience training to all outdoor activities. Everything takes some work!
Interested in fishing with your dog? Here are some tips to get started!
1) Use a leash to start:
If your pup isn’t great with recall around distractions yet, it’s best to keep them on leash. While you are getting ready, you can clip your leash to a tree, around your waist (careful your dog doesn’t pull you in) or to the hitch of your car. Your dog will likely pull out of excitement. Fishing is supposed to be fun, not painful or frustrating for anyone involved, so having the right gear definitely helps. Bring along a Wilderdog sleeping bag to use as an outdoor bed, so your pup knows their ‘place’ while you are fishing.
2) Bring treats:
If you get hungry, they’re probably hungry too. You may also want to reward them when they listen to your direction or are staying calm while you’re doing your thing. If you don’t want them involved with you in the water, bring a bone or something for them to chew on. This helps keep them occupied. If you aren’t bringing in the fishies, they will get tired and bored. Therefore, having something to entertain them is ideal.
3) Safety first:
If you are planning to fish from a raft or SUP, consider grabbing a pair of booties to protect their paws from fishing hooks and other sharp objects. Also, don’t forget a life jacket! This keeps your pup safe on the water. Sadie’s parents carry a Medical kit on them at all times in case any fishing related incidents occur. It’s important to keep an eye on your pup whether they are on or off a leash while you are out casting. You just never know, they could get loose, and the last thing anyone wants is to try and catch a puppy.
Also be hyper-aware of other folks fishing. While we know that you love your dog, not everyone does. Therefore, they likely won’t be happy with your pup splashing around where they’re fishing.
4) Have patience:
Breathe and enjoy the time you’re spending outside doing something enjoyable with your pup – they are so excited to be with you! They might try to bite the indicator, knock over your rod, or worse; get a fly stuck in their fur. So to start, make sure you set realistic expectations and expose your pup in small doses at a time. Do it frequently so that they can learn the drill… Chances are the first few times your dog will not be the one watching you, you will be the one watching it.