Dry Land Training: An Important Step In Paddling Your Dog Safely


Preparation makes all the difference in the world when it comes to water-based activities with your dog. Practicing the skills your dog needs on board your vessel (whether it be a canoe, kayak, or paddle board) on dry land can help your dog enjoy the experience and follow your instructions on the water.

Phase 1: Ensure a positive emotional response to the equipment

Introduce the paddle boat and associated equipment in a low-distraction environment that your dog is very comfortable in, such as a swimming pool. B. in your living room or in the garden.

Just setting up the paddle boat can make loud noises or knock over objects. So do this when your dog is not around to avoid a negative emotional reaction to the paddle boat. Stand it on the floor or floor so it doesn’t wobble, then let your dog examine it at its own pace. If your dog is careful about approaching him, consider leaving him out for a few days to allow your dog to get used to it.

Avoid luring or luring a cautious dog near or onto the vehicle, as this can cause the dog to get much closer to the scary thing than it would like to be. It can be helpful to place inferior pieces of food around and near the equipment and then let your dog decide for themselves to approach in their spare time.

When your dog approaches the paddle boat consistently and relaxed, you can train him to step on it. Lure the behavior with a piece of food or free shape it with a clicker or tag word. Remember to be generous with reinforcements in the early stages of teaching a new skill, breaking the behavior down into small steps that the dog can do very easily, such as walking. B. Approaching the vehicle, touching it, two paws on it and then fully on the craft.

It can be helpful to give your dog mini breaks every or every other minute. A short break allows the nervous system to relax a bit and serves as a test to see if your dog wants to continue exercising. Your dog may stop and scratch, loosen up briefly to sniff around the room, or engage in other displacement behaviors. If he does, it could be an indication that it is time to change or quit this workout. Only continue the session if your dog wants to continue and is below the threshold.

Once your dog happily approaches and steps on the vehicle without coaxing or enticing it, it is time to move the vehicle slightly. Start when your dog is away from the vehicle and some distance away so as not to scare him. Finally, let them be on the vehicle while moving it slightly.

In conditioning a positive emotional response to the vehicle, it is important to give your dog the choice of getting off the vehicle at any time. If your dog doesn’t want to stay in or in, make it easier for them and spend more time with each small step. This could mean that your workouts were too long. It is therefore imperative that you stop the exercise before your dog loses interest.


If your dog seems to be getting more busy with each subsequent training session, adjust the sessions to be less intense. For example, you may want to use treats of lesser value, modify your voice and body to convey calm, and allow for earlier or more frequent breaks.

It can also be helpful if you combine the equipment with something that the dog is already feeling relaxed about, e.g. B. Massage or resting next to you while reading or watching a movie.


When your dog is on the water, he needs to be able to respond well to your verbal instructions, particularly to come, sit / sit (in a preferred location), stay, leave, and turn the vehicle on / off. Training these skills a few feet from the paddle boat before attempting them on or in the vehicle can make training easier.

It is imperative not to use force, correction, or force while exercising, as this can lead to negative associations that can lead to a fear or aversion to the paddling experience (and the subsequent behavior problems that accompany those negative emotions) .

Phase four: add distractions and build duration

Make sure your dog understands “sitting” and still responds to it when you’re wearing a life jacket – and when you’re on or in a paddle boat while holding a paddle.

The remaining steps for dry land training include gradually adding distractions and duration to simulate what the dog will experience on the water. Each of these elements should be practiced separately before combining:

• You in or on the vehicle in different positions

• You hold a paddle and imitate paddling

• You move the paddle boat easily and then with greater intensity

• Toys placed nearby and then rolled past the vehicle

• Increased duration of skills and distractions

After you’ve mastered dry land training at home, take your craft to a park and later to the coast. Keep in mind that if you change the environment, your dog may need to start some of the skills all over again.

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