Paddling With Your Pooch

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Looking for a paddling companion who won’t complain, has a low center of gravity, and loves the thrill of an adventure? Consider bringing your dog along - it’s an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors together. But first, make sure you’re prepared. You’ll need to be very comfortable with paddling before you include a canine companion. The more you plan ahead, the easier and safer it will be for your pup.

Paddling with your dog will be simple if s/he is already a good swimmer and obedient in response to simple commands. Some breeds are known for their love of water and might be easier to train, like retrievers and spaniels. However, if you start any breed out near the water early, they can learn to relax and enjoy the ride.

Taking time to help your dog acclimate to being on the water will open up a lifetime of potential. Patience, consistent and respectful training, and plenty of benign, non-water related exposure to your vessel can often help even the most hydrophobic hounds enjoy paddling. A lack of training will lead to safety issues for all involved, even on the calmest days.

Don’t forget your dog’s life jacket - personal flotation devices are not just for humans. No matter how well behaved your pup may be, a leash is always a good idea as well. Since we are surrounded by salt water, also pack drinking water and a bowl for your furry friend.

Ocean Tribe Outfitters is a branch of Sanibel Sea School that helps the SWFL paddling community better explore, enjoy, and understand the ocean. Visit oceantribeoutfitters.org or follow us on Facebook to learn more.