How to make fishing trips safe and enjoyable for your dog


Canada’s Salus Marine makes a PFD for dogs

Tip #4

On hot days, it can be a challenge to keep your dog cool, especially when it’s been relegated to staying on the cockpit floor, away from the cooling breeze. To create a tented shady area for your dog, drape a beach towel over the passenger console and the backrest of the passenger seat. And don’t forget to bring a water bowl, unless you’ve trained your dog to drink directly from a water bottle. If you know it’s going to be an extremely hot day, though, do your dog a favour and leave it at home. The same goes for stormy weather—yes, dogs can get both sunburned and seasick.

Tip #5

Personal flotation devices for dogs, such as the Skippy from Canada’s Salus Marine, offer several benefits along with keeping your pup afloat. For starters, if your dog should go overboard, the Skippy sports two handles and supportive belly padding to simplify hauling your dog back into the boat. This avoids pulling in your sodden dog by its collar, which can be especially tough on heavier dogs. The Skippy also features a secure grasping point for boat hooks, just in case your pooch decides to head for shore. If your dog continually jumps or falls out of the boat, secure a dock line to the PFD to simplify getting it back aboard.


Tip #6  

Most dogs will have a natural inclination to go after a lure. Think about it: when you cast, your arm follows much the same motion as when you throw a ball, only now the “ball” is also swinging enticingly on a string. Plus, it has hooks. To train your dog not to leap for lures, start by removing the hooks from a bait and dangling it in front of the dog’s nose, all the while issuing stern warnings to leave it alone. Also, go through the motions of casting, and discourage the dog whenever it shows any signs of interest in the lure. Nothing will put a stop to a fishing trip faster than a dog with a mouth full of hooks, so take this seriously, and the dog will, too.

To watch the author and CNIB trainers introduce young guide dogs to boating and fishing, go to

Blind since childhood, professional angler Lawrence Gunther is the founder of the fish conservation organization Blue Fish Canada.