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On-Line Shopping

Currently, the only place to purchase WaterDog Adventure Gear™ is on-line directly from us.  We have found that the way people shop on-line can be categorized four ways:

  1. They have the manufacturer’s web address.
  2. They search the Internet using a browser.
  3. They search eBay.
  4. They search Amazon.

Which of the above methods you use will affect how much of our product line you see and the delivered cost you pay.

If you are reading this, you have obviously found our website, getWAG.com, through our advertising or by searching the Internet using a browser.  You will find our complete line of products and accessories on our website and obtain them at the lowest cost with flat-rate shipping to the lower 48 U.S. states.  We do not sell outside of the lower 48 states off our website.  Our website also provides the most product information with videos and links to social media.

As noted on our FAQs page, we list most of our products on eBay to facilitate exports through their Global Shipping Program.  This also gives us exposure to those people who only search eBay.  The price of our products is the same, but shipping and handling costs to the lower 48 U.S. states will be more than our website to cover their 10% fee to sellers.  In our product descriptions, we recommend customers check our website for reduced flat-rate shipping costs to the lower 48 states, but based on eBay sales, many do not.  With our products on the watch list of over 200 eBay shoppers, we hope you read this and purchase direct from our website if you live in the lower 48 states.

Finally, there is Amazon.  A recent statistic indicated that 40% of on-line product searches start on Amazon.  Because of this, we currently list some of our products on Amazon for exposure to those people who only search Amazon. Most shoppers do not realize that Amazon charges sellers a 15% fee (over 20% if using their fulfillment services) and do not have a shipping calculator like eBay, so shipping is usually not representative. To cover this, we are forced to charge more for the same product. In our product descriptions, we recommend customers check our website for reduced cost options, but based on Amazon sales, many do not. With our products on the shopping and wish lists of many Amazon shoppers, we hope you read this and purchase direct from our website if you live in the lower 48 states.

Regardless of where you purchase, you will receive the same, great product with our commitment to your satisfaction.  We would just prefer that you get it at the lowest cost to you.

Continuous Improvement

As we start our fifth year of business, we have established WaterDog Adventure Gear™ as the leader in dog ladders for a variety of applications.  Over that period of time, we have grown from one model to nine models with 13 SKUs based on listening to the needs of our customers.  Our mission to offer the best solutions on the market has been our guiding light.  We have also followed a philosophy of continuous improvement during that time.  When we see an opportunity to make an improvement to one of our existing products, we do so.  When those improvements were in response to a product performance issue (e.g., change to stainless steel step rivets on our pool dog ladders to prevent premature corrosion caused by chlorine), we have made those improvements available to our customers at no charge. 

Today, we announced a major improvement to our patented WAG Boarding Steps™ Model SLM-12 that will significantly increase the number of boat swim ladders it can be attached to.  As the first model we introduced four years ago, it highlights the evolution of our designs and our goal to be the best.  The lower mounting arms now telescope 8″ to provide both length and angle adjustment.  This new feature allows fitment to swim ladders of any angle and cross-member spacing while achieving approximately a 45 degree angle of the dog ladder.  Too often we lost sales because of swim ladders that weren’t the previously required 70 degree angle or the fitment requirements were not understood. 

As we move forward, continuous improvement of existing products will be as important as introducing new ones.  That is the only way you remain the best.

The Four-Way Test

Several years ago, I joined a local Rotary club to give back by participating in local and international service projects, learn more about the community I lived and worked in, and network with other professionals.  One of the cornerstones of Rotary is The Four-Way Test.  Developed by Herbert J. Taylor in 1932, it was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has served as a guiding light for all Rotarians and many businesses.  As we formed WAG Products and launched WaterDog Adventure Gear™, it was a given that we would do the same. 

The Four-Way Test

Of the things we think, say and do: 

  1. Is it the truth? 
  2. Is it fair to all concerned? 
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

One of the more gratifying things since starting our business is how supportive our customers have been.  With only a few exceptions out of the hundreds and hundreds of customers we have, treating them honestly and fairly has served us well.  As we enter the time of year when people reflect and give thanks, we thank those who have supported us along the way.  We believe our growth is largely based on how we treat our customers and market our products, consistent with The Four-Way Test. 

We hope you agree. 

Labor Day

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer and time for kids to go back to school. It is a holiday that many of us feel comes too soon. It seems like it was just Memorial Day, the unofficial beginning of summer. Rather than spend our time mourning the approaching end of boating season, we would like to use this as an opportunity to recognize the American labor force and our U.S suppliers.

When we began manufacturing five years ago, everyone told us we were nuts making a consumer product in the U.S. that could easily be made in China. We ignored that “advice” and focused on a cost-effective design and suppliers that could deliver the quality we were looking for. Today, we have over two dozen domestic manufacturers supplying components for our nine models of dog ladders. Our products have been recognized as the best dog ladders on the market. The fact that they are Made in the U.S.A. and keep American workers employed is a bonus.

There is a lot of discussion today about companies “re-shoring” work that was previously off-shored. We won’t be part of that discussion and that makes us very proud.

Dog Pool Safety

Sales of our WAG Boarding Steps ™ Model PM-6 for in-ground pools and Model XPM-6 for above-ground pools continue to grow and we often hear from customers that their dog pool ladder was the best money they have spent on their pool.

That said, we still hear stories about dogs that have learned to climb the human swim ladder and YouTube is full of videos apparently posted by owners who think this makes their dog special.  This may be cute, but not smart.  Swim ladders are steep and do not have an integral toe plate to prevent the dog from slipping off the back side of the rung.  Injuries or early joint problems are bound to happen if you let your dog use the human swim ladder.

There are some other safety precautions you should take relative to dog pool safety.

  • If your dog is a senior, overweight or generally sedentary, check with your veterinarian first before allowing them to swim.  A personal floatation device may be a good safety measure.
  • No dog should be given unsupervised access to a backyard pool.  Even if a pool cover is on, many dogs have lost their lives following an unexpected tumble into a covered pool.  The cover is disorienting and it’s almost always impossible for a dog to find his way out.
  • Obedience training is extremely important.  Your dog should wait at the edge of the pool until given permission to enter.  Your dog should come when called, even when swimming.
  • Keep safety floatation devices attached to a line nearby for emergency use.  
  • Avoid letting your dog drink pool water.  Always keep an ample supply of fresh water around so your dog can drink without attempting to drink from the pool.  
  • Rinse your dog off after being in the pool to get chlorine and other pool chemicals off their coat and skin.  Dry areas where water can collect (e.g., ears, groin, armpits) to avoid moisture-induced infections.

Above all, use common sense.  Most dogs love the water, but do not spend a lot of time thinking about safety.  They are counting on you for that.

Preparing to Launch

There are two signs that boating season is near here in Wisconsin; the ice is off the lakes and orders for WaterDog Adventure Gear™ ramp up.  We have spent the last several months building up inventory of all nine of our WAG Boarding Steps™ models, including our newest, the HSM-10, a dog ladder for pontoon boats.  Sales are at record levels and we will continue to try to fill all orders in 5 business days or less.  I’m sure we will still get the phone call on July 1 requesting delivery for the 4th of July weekend and, as always, we will do our best.

Magazines are publishing their launch issues and contain many great articles on what to do before placing your boat in the water.  They also stress safety as a reminder for those of us in the northern climates that haven’t been boating in six months.

Speaking of magazines, be sure to check out the “10 Tips for Cruising with Canines” article in the May issue of Boating Magazine.  They chose to highlight WAG Boarding Steps as part of the article and we are thrilled.  (The other nine tips aren’t bad, either.)

Have a safe and enjoyable season! 

Boat Show Season

This time of year is very hectic.  Like all of you, we are preparing for the holidays.  We are also preparing for boat show season which starts in early January and runs through March.  The timing is such that it gets us thinking of warmer days in the dead of winter and visualizing those laid back hours on the water despite the fact that many of our lakes are frozen.

The logistics of securing exhibit space, arranging for services, booking hotels, making travel arrangements and organizing what the exhibit will look like can be overwhelming.  It seems even more chaotic this year because we have to choose which of the nine models to display in our 10′ x 10′ booth.  That said, it is definitely worth the effort.  Besides giving potential customers a chance to “touch and feel” our products, we get to hear firsthand what their needs are.  It is through this feedback that we have grown from one to nine models of WAG Boarding Steps™.   

The first boat show WaterDog Adventure Gear™ will be at is the Nashville Boat & Sportshow on January 8-11, 2015.  This will be our inaugural appearance at this show.  We try to hit a different part of the country each year and Nashville seemed like a great location.  We look forward to meeting new people and visiting with existing customers.  We are also looking forward to seeing what Nashville has to offer after the show closes.

We are still finalizing what other shows we may be doing this winter.  If you have suggestions, send them our way.

Custom Dog Ladders

WaterDog Adventure Gear™ currently manufactures and sells eight models of dog ladders for a variety of applications.  While they cover most needs, we occasionally get requests for custom solutions.

Waterfowl hunters drive the most requests since they hunt off a variety of boats and blinds in various environments that are not always compatible with our WAG Boarding Steps™ Model LM-6.  They sometimes require different mounting arrangements and more steps to access raised blinds or deep water access on high freeboard boats, but still want our oak moss green or marsh grass tan steps and black oxide treated hardware.

Custom requests are initiated by calling our toll-free customer support line (877-924-2272).  We will discuss your needs and determine if there is a solution we can provide.  Pricing and delivery will be quoted.  If this is acceptable, the order is taken.

We invite you to view a few of our custom designs on our Pinterest page.  We also have featured one of our custom designs on our latest Facebook page post.  While there, please “Like” us.

Hunting Season(s)

Now that we are into our third year of sales, we are starting to see some purchasing patterns emerge.  The one that is always the most interesting is the sales by region of our WAG Boarding Steps™ Model LM-6 dog ladder for duck boats.  We see sales of the Marsh Grass Tan and Oak Moss Green units pick up in late-July in the northern states as hunters prepare their boats/blinds for September openers and continue as late as February as some of the southern states’ seasons come to a close.  Shipments progress south through this period.  If we could train the ducks to deliver as they migrate, we could reduce our shipping costs.  The website WhenIsDuckSeason.com provides a nice summary by state.

Oak Moss Green units continue to outsell Marsh Grass Tan units, but the choice of colors has provided hunters with a solution for their region and environment.  The dog-friendly design, range of adjustability, lightweight construction, corrosion-proof materials, and ability to float if dropped in the water continue to be very popular with hunters regardless of where they live.

For this season, we have introduced two-step extensions for those hunting from deep-v hulls or boats with high freeboard.  The extensions increase the vertical rise of the LM-6 from 24″ to 32″ and are available in our hunting colors to bolt on to the bottom of the LM-6 with black oxide/wax finish hardware.  The extensions are sold as an accessory and ship separately.

So regardless of where you hunt, your boat/blind design or your breed of dog, we probably have you covered and since all of our dog ladders are Made in the U.S.A., we should be able to get it to you in time for the first outing.

Happy Hunting!

Dog Pool Safety

As summer approaches, demand for our line of dog ladders increases.  Those of you who have a swimming pool and let your dog use it, will undoubtedly want to purchase a WAG Boarding Steps ™ Model PM-6 dog pool ladder or our recently introduced Model XPM-6 so your dog can safely get out of the pool.  WAG Boarding Steps are for dog use only and have a maximum capacity of 130 pounds.

We hear stories all the time about dogs that have learned to climb the human swim ladder.  This may be cute, but not smart.  Swim ladders are steep and do not have an integral toe plate to prevent the dog from slipping off the back side of the rung.  Injuries or early joint problems are bound to happen if you let your dog use the human swim ladder.

There are some other safety precautions you should take relative to dog pool safety.

  • If your dog is a senior, overweight or generally sedentary, check with your veterinarian first before allowing them to swim.  A personal floatation device may be a good safety measure.
  • No dog should be given unsupervised access to a backyard pool.  Even if a pool cover is on, many dogs have lost their lives following an unexpected tumble into a covered pool.  The cover is disorienting and it’s almost always impossible for a dog to find his way out.
  • Obedience training is extremely important.  Your dog should wait at the edge of the pool until given permission to enter.  Your dog should come when called, even when swimming.
  • Keep safety floatation devices attached to a line nearby for emergency use.  
  • Avoid letting your dog drink pool water.  Always keep an ample supply of fresh water around so your dog can drink without attempting to drink from the pool.  
  • Rinse your dog off after being in the pool to get chlorine and other pool chemicals off their coat and skin.  Dry areas where water can collect (e.g., ears, groin, armpits) to avoid moisture-induced infections.

Above all, use common sense.  Most dogs love the water, but do not spend a lot of time thinking about safety.  They are counting on you for that.