Dry-Land Training: An Important Step for Safe Paddling with Your Dog

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Preparation makes all of the distinction on the planet in relation to water-based actions together with your canine. Practising the abilities that your canine will want on board your vessel (whether or not it’s a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard) on dry land will help be sure that your canine will benefit from the expertise and comply together with your directions whereas on the water. 


Introduce the paddle craft and associated gear in a low-distraction setting the place your canine could be very comfy, reminiscent of your lounge or yard. 

Merely establishing the paddle craft could make loud noises or knock over objects, so do that when your canine will not be close by to keep away from making a damaging emotional response to the paddle craft. Place it on the ground or floor in such a approach that it received’t wobble after which let your canine examine it at his personal tempo. In case your canine is cautious about approaching it, chances are you’ll need to depart it out for just a few days to let your canine habituate to it. 

Keep away from coaxing or luring a cautious canine close to or onto the craft as a result of this may trigger the canine to be a lot nearer to the scary factor than he desires to be. It may be useful to put bits of low-value meals round and close to the gear after which let your canine independently select to method on his personal time. 

When your canine constantly approaches the paddle craft in a relaxed, blissful method, you can begin to coach her to step onto it. Lure the conduct with a bit of meals or free-shape it utilizing a clicker or marker phrase. Keep in mind to be beneficiant with reinforcements on the early levels of instructing a brand new ability, and cut up the conduct into small steps that the canine finds very straightforward to do, for instance, shifting towards the craft, touching it, two paws on it, then totally onto the craft. 

It may be useful to supply your canine mini breaks each minute or two. A brief break permits the nervous system to chill out a bit and serves as a check to see in case your canine desires to proceed to coach. Your canine may cease and scratch, disengage briefly to smell across the room, or exhibit different displacement behaviors. If he does this, it might be a sign that it’s time to switch or finish that coaching session. Resume the session provided that your canine desires to proceed and is underneath threshold. 

As soon as your canine fortunately approaches and steps onto the craft with out coaxing or luring, it’s time to attempt shifting the craft barely. Start when your canine is off the craft and a distance away, to keep away from startling her. Finally you’ll let her be on the craft when you make it transfer barely. 

When conditioning a optimistic emotional response to the craft, it’s necessary to present your canine the selection to depart the craft at any time. In case your canine doesn’t need to keep on or in it, make issues simpler for her and spend extra time on every small step. It would imply that your coaching periods have been too lengthy, so you’ll want to finish the observe earlier than your canine begins to lose curiosity. 


In case your canine appears extra amped up every subsequent coaching session, adapt the periods to be much less intense. For instance, chances are you’ll need to use lower-value treats, modify your voice and physique to convey calm, and incorporate earlier or extra frequent breaks. 

It could additionally assist when you pair the gear with one thing the canine already feels relaxed about, reminiscent of therapeutic massage or resting beside you when you learn or watch a film. 


When out on the water, your canine wants to have the ability to reply effectively to your verbal directions, particularly Come, Sit/Down (in a most well-liked place), Keep, Go away It, and On/Off the craft. Coaching these expertise just a few ft away from the paddle craft earlier than trying them whereas on or within the craft could make the coaching simpler.

It’s crucial to keep away from utilizing coercion, corrections, or power whereas coaching, as a result of this will create damaging associations that might contribute to a concern or dislike of the paddling expertise (and the following conduct issues that come together with these damaging feelings).


Make certain your canine understands and can nonetheless reply to the “sit” cue whereas sporting a life vest – and whereas sitting on or in a paddle craft while you’re holding a paddle.

The remaining steps for dryland coaching contain step by step including distractions and period to simulate what the canine will expertise on the water. Every of those parts needs to be practiced individually earlier than combining them:

• You in or on the craft in varied positions

• You holding a paddle and mimicking paddling

• You shifting the paddle craft barely, then with higher depth

• Toys positioned close by after which rolled previous the craft

• Elevated period of expertise and distractions 

After mastering the dryland coaching at residence, take your craft to a park and later to the shoreline. Remember the fact that whenever you change the setting, your canine may want to begin among the expertise again at a starting degree. 

The publish Dry-Land Coaching: An Essential Step for Protected Paddling with Your Canine appeared first on Complete Canine Journal.

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