Friday, April 1, 2011

Canine Canoeing - Sheila Ascroft

Rating: ****

Do you love that feeling when you’re outside on a beautiful day canoeing on the lake? It gets even better when you’re doing that with a friend. No, I’m not talking about YOUR best friend – I’m talking about MAN’S best friend!

This article was a really interesting, but short article about how to get your dog to like riding on the water in a canoe, or other similar boat. The dog in the article, Farley, was a dog who didn’t like water at all – not even to go swimming. Using the tips and steps described in the article, Farley’s owner (and the author of the article) had managed to get him to absolutely love canoeing by the end of the summer, up to the point where Farley would come running to the dock in anticipation every time he saw his owner taking the life jacket out. Some of the tips were to use a wide-bottomed canoe, to put a towel down so their paws don’t slip, to use treats and encouragement whenever the dog does something right, and to bring extra water along and take extra good care of the dog on those extra-hot days.

I really liked this article because it was told in a story-like format, outlining the steps in the exact order that the author had done them. It also specifically outlined what worked, which I found really helpful. Lastly, the article gave an address for a website for additional information on how to have fun on the water with your dog. After reading it, the article got me thinking about other lakeside activities that dogs might like, and ways to get the more nervous ones to try it, like tubing (on small lakes at first of course), windsurfing, and even jumping off small cliffs into a deep spot in the lake beneath. It also made me wonder how many other so called “shy” dog breeds could be convinced to give activities like canoeing a try; dogs other than Labs and Jack Russells. Finally, it made me wonder if perhaps in the future, canoe companies might create canoes for both people and their dogs, with features like comfortable viewing baskets in the front for the dog. I would recommend this article to anyone with a dog, or even anyone who loves canoeing and would just like to read a good story.

Ascroft, Sheila. "Canine Canoeing." Ottawa Outdoors. Spring/Summer 2010: Page 10. Print.

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