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 just 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 furry friend. Some dogs have no patience or attention span to sit quietly while their owner casts endlessly, but other pups like Sadie enjoy nothing more than focusing on the ripples of the water, staring intensely at the line while they wait for a fish to come in.
It came naturally to Sadie to run down to the river or alpine lake to watch her human cast a line out. Many folks ask Sadie's owners if any training was necessary, but they can confidently say she never means any harm to the fish, and never gets in the way of what the fisherman is doing. So, they never had to ‘train her’ to be calm or to not interfere. Sadie just sits and watches nicely. It’s quite amazing, really. They still did their research beforehand and tied their general obedience training in to all outdoor activities when she was young. 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. 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 while you are getting ready. Your dog will likely pull out of excitement, and fishing is supposed to be fun, not painful or frustrating for anyone involved, so having the right gear definitely helps. Another great tip is to bring along a Wilderdog sleeping bag to use as an outdoor bed, so that 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 for when they listen to your direction, or are staying calm while you’re doing your thing. Bringing a bone or something for them to chew on can also help keep them occupied if you don’t want them involved with you in the water. Just like a human child they will get tired and bored, especially if you aren’t bringing in the fishies, so 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. and don’t forget a life jacket! This will help protect your pup if they happen to fall out of the boat and for if they happen to come across any left behind fishing hooks or sharp objects that can be around the area. Sadie’s parents also always carry a Medical kit on them at all times in case any fishing related incidents happen to occur. While you are out casting, it is important to watch where your pup is whether they are on or off leash. Because you just never know... the last thing anyone wants is to catch a puppy...
Also be hyper-aware of other folks fishing. While we know that you love your dog, not everyone does, and they likely won't be happy with your pup splashing around near 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.
Remember that it takes time, lots of obedience training, and patience to have the perfect fishing partner. You can get there, and before long you’ll be just like Sadie and her humans, on the water with the perfect fishing dog!