If you’re preparing for a day of fun out on the water and you’re looking to bring your dog along for the ride but you’re not sure where to start, you’re in the right place! It’s normal for dogs and their owners to have some reservations about hitting the water, especially if you’ve never taken your furry friend off of the land. Knowing how to get a big dog on a boat in 2 simple steps will make your day in the water more enjoyable!
To make this new experience a positive one, it is important to provide your pup with the tools and resources they need to feel the most comfortable and safe when embarking on a new aquatic journey. No worries, though, because this article will take you through the practical steps and expectations you can set in place when it comes to getting your dog boarded onto your boat with ease.
Choose a Ramp or Ladder That Works For Your Dog
The first step in making it feasible for your furry friend to board your boat is to obtain some type of ladder or ramp for your dog. You can opt for a floating or static ramp or ladder, both of which will work perfectly, but the biggest difference lies in your preference (or, your dog’s!). For older dogs or those that struggle with any type of disability, a ramp may be a more suitable option. As a bonus, either of these options works well for when you need to get off of your docked boat easily. These are great tools to get your pup onto your boat, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind when preparing to use them.
First, you may want to use a fender between the ladder or the ramp and the boat. This not only stabilizes the ramp or ladder, but it also protects your boat! Second, while the ramp or ladder you choose does not have to be “dog-specific” it may be helpful to look into a ramp or ladder that extends into the water, allowing your dog to safely and confidently swim to and from your boat. This is a great option for smaller dogs, dogs with limited mobility, as well as those dogs who aren’t quite yet comfortable in the water.
Train Your Dog For The Ramp or Ladder
You’ve got your ramp or ladder in place, great! Now, you’ll need to train your dog to use it. It may be wise to take a day or two before your trip out onto the water to get your dog used to using the ramp or ladder. This is important because if your dog is a puppy or has never experienced water, they will most likely be a bit more skittish. Additionally, especially for older or rescue dogs, you will want to be conscious of the fact that they may have had a negative experience with water, and they could require some positive reinforcement to feel comfortable around it. Start by taking your dog’s favorite toy or some treats out and nail down some simple commands that tell him when to go up or down the ramp or ladder. Reward them when they do well to make this a positive experience for them.
Once they’ve got the hang of it and you’re feeling confident, well then it’s time to invite your friends and family for a day of fun with your pup! If your dog just isn’t getting it or is still extremely nervous around water, don’t give up! Some dogs, especially rescues, have experienced certain traumas that make them more anxious or worried, so just keep trying to make them feel comfortable and keep seeking to figure out what may be holding them back. A great way to make them feel comfortable is to bring some of their favorite toys or treats so that they have something familiar close by as they are learning something new. It may also be a good idea to bring them around other dogs in the water, so they can see that it’s safe and that if their friends are doing it, they can too!
By now, I hope you’re feeling confident in your ability to soak up the sun on the water with your dog. Knowing how to get a big dog on a boat in 2 simple steps may seem difficult, but remember to always choose options that are best suited for the well-being and comfort of your pet. Give them time to get used to this new adventure!