How to make fishing trips safe and enjoyable for your dog


Over the past 40 years, I’ve owned a half-dozen guide dogs for the blind that I depend on to get around—including when I go fishing. A lot can go wrong with a dog on a fishing boat, but the experience can also be enjoyable for both you and your pooch. Hey, as long as your dog is having fun, why not bring it along? Just be sure to follow these six tips to keep everyone safe and happy out on the water.


Tip #1  

Bathroom breaks can be a challenge for both beast and boater. To keep your dog comfortable, limit its meals for eight hours before you push off from the dock. Also make sure the dog has plenty of opportunity to relieve itself prior to heading out. Mishaps can still occur on board, of course, especially if it’s hot out and the dog is drinking copious amounts of water. With that in mind, bring along paper towels, a cleaning solution and a garbage bag, just in case.

Tip #2  

What dog doesn’t like to hang its head out the window of a moving car or truck? By the same token, they also like to catch the wind off the side of a moving boat. To prevent your pup from being flung overboard, make sure it always keeps all four paws on the cockpit floor. It’s not necessary for the dog to lie down, as dogs are better at balancing when standing.

Tip #3  

To avoid mishaps and potential injury, train your dog to stay off the casting decks while you are actively fishing. Trips and tumbles can result if the dog gets in the way during an epic fish battle, for example, or if it steps on the electric motor pedal and causes the boat to suddenly lurch. Also be sure to use lure wraps on your rigged and ready rods so the dog doesn’t get accidentally hooked. Training your dog early to keep off the decks is better than it learning the hard way.