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Canoeing with dogs

May 24th, 2012, 08:24 AM
I was just wondering if anyone here has had any experiences canoeing with their dog. We took our black lab, Zeus, canoeing on the weekend. It was quite the adventure ;) We are trying to gradually get him used to this, because he is quite an anxious dog, but he loves spending time with us, and we like to include him in our activities whenever we can. I guess I am just looking for any suggestions as to how to help him relax in the canoe. He settled down on the towel we laid out for him after our journey began, but as is often the case, things did not go quite according to plan. It was a bit windy out, and despite our best efforts, the canoe was pushed to a very shallow part of the lake. My husband had to get out and pull the canoe, at which point Zeus got very upset, and jumped out after him (he had a life jacket on). It was not long before he realized that the water was pretty cold and he wanted to come back into the canoe :laughing:
I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions... I am not worried about Zeus getting hurt or anything, because we have taken all possible precautions. I am just wondering how we can help him relax. Obviously we would leave him at home if it continues to stress him out, but we love to take him on our adventures with us :)

May 24th, 2012, 10:00 AM
We tried canoeing with our labby Luke once. Got about 4 yards from shore and he decided he wanted to go swimming. :o That was all the farther we got that day. Went home, dried off, never tried again! :laughing:

May 24th, 2012, 10:36 AM
We coanoed tripped with the last two dogs. They loved it. Some things I'd suggest.

YOU always wear a life jacket.

Solid obedience is a must but do not ask for a STAY in the canoe. No fair to make a dog hold a true stay for the length of time involved.

Short outings to start. Some prep a dog for the motion ahead of time by asking for a short stand or sit or down on a platform on top of some kind of rocker. Very, very, very short, seconds only then build up to a half minute.

Our canoe has ribs so we put a full sized 72" closed cell sleeping pad, folded in three, in the bottom for more comfort and to keep dog up out of water.

We also put pipe wrap over the gunwales where they both liked to hang their heads.

Not every canoe lends itself to travel with a dog. We did week or longer wilderness trips so our canoe could handle a lot of gear, sat low in the water and is very stable, so not much rocking and less tippy.

Dogs can overheat fast. We take frequent breaks to allow a swim. I do know one couple who rigged up a sunshade for their dog. Cold water was far less of a worry for us that hot weather was.

I am bow person and dogs sit right behind me. I can reach them but I can't see them. The OH can see them and he can reach them with the paddle. A whack with the paddle is quite effective on a dog not used to being whacked. Sounds a bit rough treatment but I admit it and we haven't drowned. Used more of a attention getter.

May 24th, 2012, 12:31 PM
hazelrunpack- Luckily I don't have to worry too much about Zeus jumping out of the canoe (unless one of us is in the water).. even though he is a lab, he is not actually a fan of water! He isn't scared of it, but he doesn't know how to swim. He tries to stay above water by swimming towards my husband and I (which is why we make sure to wear life jackets as well!) ;)

Longblades- Thank you for all of the suggestions! We are definitely going to approach this differently after our experience... I tried to convince my husband that a short trip at first was best, but I think he had to experience it to believe that I was right (hehe). I like the suggestion of the pipe wrap! We will need to work on getting Zeus into the water for breaks... I never thought that I would have a lab who didn't like to swim... he will poke his head out of the canoe to get a drink, but that's about it.