Boating With Your Dog
Having man's best friend on your boating trip can be a great adventure for both you and your dog. For your furry friend, boating is, according to author Ed Conroy “like riding in a dream convertible with a blast of sun and fresh air from all directions.” Nose in the air, ears blowing in the wind and their favorite people; appears it doesn’t get any better. However, it could turn into a bad situation. While most dogs have mastered the "Doggie Paddle," it's always important to stay as safe as possible. Your dog should always wear a well-fitted life jacket when in and around the water. Even “water” dogs such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Chesapeakes, etc., should wear a protective flotation device when boating. Often dogs are lost, here on the shore, when they fall overboard, and their splash goes undetected by jovial boating activities. The sun can also exhaust a dog, just as a human, and their energy to swim can be expended faster than you might think. Your dog could hit his head on the side of the boat, and be knocked unconscious, or even get caught in a tow rope, if you are water-skiing or tubing. A well-fitting life jacket can literally save your dog’s life. When taking your dog on waterrelated outings, pack a separate beach bag just for your dog, which should include the following:
- A towel just for your dog. We love them dearly, but sharing a wet hairy towel is not fun for the human. - A shirt or cover-up made out of water-resistant material. A canine rash guard dries quickly and offers a layer of warmth, in case your dog become chilled from the combination of a wet coat and the wind of a moving boat. Yes, even dogs with heavy coats can catch a chill from the water. - A non-spill water bowl and lots of fresh water. Keep your dog’s water in the cooler with your own drinks. When water sits on a boat deck, in the bright sunshine it will heat up quickly. Be sure to check the temperature of the water from time to time or use a H2O Canine bottle that can simply stay in the cooler. - A pooper-scooper and a plastic bag or two. You never know when nature will call. - Most importantly, a well-fitting life jacket. Another tip to consider is making certain there is shade on-board for your dog. Even though your dog may have many opportunities to jump into the water, it's important they have a cool, relaxing place for resting. Remember, fiberglass boat surfaces can get extremely hot in the sun, and dogs absorb heat through the pads on their feet, so be sure to protect your furry friend with their own place to cool off. Finally, when you return home, be sure to rinse your dog’s coat. Just like humans, salt water needs to be removed from the skin, and a quick shampoo is really the best option to keep their skin and coats in optimum condition. What gets characterized as not smart enough is often a terrified dog and is acting goofy and offering appeasement gestures to please the person. (This one breaks my heart.) What gets characterized as “dominant” is pretty much any and all the ways that a dog doesn’t want to do what the person is asking. Maybe the dog is confused, bored, distracted, or perhaps the dog is done mentally or physically. It’s a great catch-all for sub-par performance. If your kid’s teacher were spouting nonsense and yelling at the students, you would think that teacher needed some evaluation. The truth is, these dogs who struggle with the use of prongs, choke chains, pinch collars, shock (e-collar), and physical corrections like “alpha rolls” are ones who see those responses as out of context and are responding in a way that makes sense once you think about it from the dog’s point of view. Why can’t we believe this for our dogs?
Dog Myth Busted!
Continued from pg 19