Dogs and frozen pond (part deux)

So it’s been pretty cold and the pond has been frozen solid and the dogs love to run around on it. But this weekend is the big thaw, and with temps in the 50’s and even 60’s, it won’t be long until the pond thaws. It’s a small pond maybe 15’ deep in the center and maybe 150 feet across the widest part.

So I got myself a 10 foot jon boat and 100 feet of 3/8" braided nylon rope thinking that if one of the dogs breaks thru the ice, I can get to him or her and pull him/her out. I put the boat onto the pond today and it was a big sled sliding over the ice.

What I need is a way to propel it across the ice. I am reluctant to walk along beside it since I don’t want to break through myself. Any suggestions as to what kind of pole or other gizmo to use to push the boat across the ice?



Anchor a 150’ line on one side…
o’ de pond an’ pull yerself across. Easier den pushin’…


I thought of that
but I don’t know where they might break through. If I put the rope across the pond, I could pull myself to the center, but might not be able to get to the right spot.


On “Prairie Home Companion”,
Keilor said you could get the town fire department to propel you across the ice with their hoses.

A Pole
Go cut a sapling about 10’ long. Drive a nail in one end and cut the head off with a hack saw. That should take care of it for you. The jon boat should be wide enough for you to be stable standing up. My aluminum pole has a bolt on the end and I use that to get across ice but because it’s wider and less pointed than a nail it will slip.


Good idea
I thought also of getting one of those poles the workmen use to pick up paper trash in the parks. It all maybe moot since it’s so warm the pond is melting fast around the edges. I think if the edges are water, the dogs won’t swim out to the ice in the middle. I’ll try the nail in a pole idea today.



You push from behind
You push the boat from behind putting a lot of your weight on the transom to both distribute your weight and have you ready to fling yourself into the boat if you feel the ice start to break up.

You also have a rope anchored at shore that you can use to pull yourself back, and a pole (as mentioned) in the boat if the ice starts to break up before you can get to your dog.

If a dog does go through, and you get to him/her push the boat to the hole bow first. Pull the dog up from the bow. If you try to take the dog from the side and the ice breaks, jon boats can flip easily.

Anyway you do this alone, it’s all dangerous.

The best bet is to keep your dogs off the ice. The “come here” command is the most important of all. It should be used with the most consistency and practiced the most. This is the command that saves dogs lives, as when they are headed into traffic, towards stranger dogs, etc. If you have a reliable ‘come here’ you can use it when they get near the ice and they should pick up soon enough.

Sure yer kin’

– Last Updated: Feb-08-09 10:50 AM EST –

Iffin' yer have de rope (which be a least de same length as de diameter of de pond an' one end anchored an' coiled on de shore), yer kin' then jus' grab de loose end, walk along de shore until ye an' de rope anchor point lines up wit whatever yer tryin' ta rescue an' voola... straight line pull ta yer destination. An' yer never have ta walk or haul yer jonboat more than 1/2 de circumference o' de pond. De maximum rope usage would be between you, de exact center of de pond an' de anchor point. Anywaar else on de pond would be less, assumin' de pond be round.


ice canoe racers
use crampons.

They have one knee on a seat in the boat and the other pushing outside straddling the gunwale.

They train for it and practice on solid ground first.

Its far better for you to stay off the ice.

From time to time we have folks that think like you. They find the hard way that it was not a good idea when the fire department has to come out.

All good advice
The pole didn’t work so well even pushing from behind. So Aileen took the rope and walked across the dam and tied it to a tree and I pulled myself across the pond. I figure she can get to a spot that would pull me to the dog bow first and she can call 911 when it all goes to s…t.

We have a fence around our property which means the pond is within the fence. We have a dog door. So until the ice is out, I’ll have to be especially vigilant. Fortunately, the more adventuresome female comes when I call her. The male has a mind of his own, but is a bit chicken so he usually stays off the ice.

Thanks all. If I keep posting, it will mean the dog didn’t break through or I survived.