Let me first put your worries to rest, the dogs are fine. Better, in fact, because I figured out the best way to provide traction for them on the boat: a 9×5′ carpet with rubber backing that covers the entire section from the rear human seat forward, with a yoga mat runner down the center. I still threw another 5×3′ mat over the bow, just to make sure they had grip in case things got wet and paws pushing would make it slip. It worked like a charm! So the answer is: cover it all. I’ll get you a photo soon.
But, that’s where the incident started. I had a great couple of photos on dry land of what the new set up looked like. We went out, the ‘regulars” showing pure delight, Zeal was trying to dive off after every thrown toy (impressive for a dog that hunkered down in my lap for most of the 1st trip out, quite the change of heart!). I had one “newbie” on her 2nd trip out, she might need her story told as she handled the experience uniquely. I had just gotten a video to so clearly show you how much better this setup is (hopefully encouraging more responsible dog-boating), when I thought ‘I have the chance to capture new behaviors’.
I haven’t told you yet about how my youngest dog, who’s pretty much a star at everything (except herding, I “ruined” her for that, but I’m Ok with that), kind of overreacts when she gets too far away. If she’s too far from the boat or I’m paddling counter to her direction of motion, she panics. She panics a lot. Not because she’s in the water, but because she perceives she’s getting left behind. Originally, I had to prioritize training other components of the experience (being comfortable on the boat, entering, exiting, etc). Since those things have come along nicely, time to start working on teaching her to settle in, relax, and swim for longer periods, ultimately working towards getting her to develop a solid long-distance form (she excels at sprinting, not pacing herself). It’s quite the training skill, so it should prove to be a really constructive topic for the blog.
So, there I was attempting to film how she over-reacts and how I’m trying to work through it, when, “Whoops”, there goes the camera. One would think that it wouldn’t go down like a diver, but there was not a split second of lag before it plummeted. By the time that I could ask myself, “Do I go for it?”, it was too late, even though I was ready to try. It was so sudden and I was so focused on making that split-second decision that I didn’t even get a chance to show off my truck driver language. Just a little “Whoops” escaped my lips then I sat in silence.
Sigh, such brilliant photos went down with that ship. Anyone have a diving mask?
Needless to say I’m pretty scared to try and make more video, and unless enough readers want to donate to a lifefloat for my device, I might have to take it easy on those fantastic action shots. I’m a dog trainer, not a pro-photographer, unfortunately. Although you might think otherwise if you saw some of those photos 😉