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Old 03-01-2005   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,096
Dogs and boating... how to get em started?

I am taking my sister on a commercial raft trip while I kayak. She wondered what he dog would do on the raft if commercial outfitters let the dogs come along (which they don't). I have seen several dogs on the Ark in private rafts, and the posts about doggie issues below made me wonder how you get a whitewater pooch started. Do you take them in a raft in mellow water first, or do you just throw em in the raft and run Brown's canyon and hope they don't piss in the raft? Are some scared shitless, while others love it? Interested to hear comments as my sister loves bringing her dog out whenever we go outdoors. It is a mixed breed that is somewhat mellow and somewhat shy, not sure how it would handle the water or a raft.

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Old 03-01-2005   #2
Electric-Mayhem's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 434
I imagine it depends on the dog, as they all have different personalities and things they like. Chances are, if your dog runs to the water and doesn't want to leave, loves sticking its head out the car window, and is generally rather couragous, then he/she won't have a problem. If they are more timid, they might be limited to mellow trips or no trips. I would say that if you Dog is terrified of it, that its a bad idea. As an owner you know your dogs personality and whether they could handle trips down the rapids. They should also be reasonably capable of being in roughish water, as there is chance they will fall out. Lastly, just as with people, the dog should always always always have a PFD on. Many companies make them and a 50 dollar investment could be the life or death of your dog. Even if they are awesome swimmers, it helps them to stay higher on the water and keep from getting too tired, and they suffer from the same kinda thing as we do when getting sucked around by currents. Ok, go have fun with your dog and keep them safe when you do.


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Old 03-01-2005   #3
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 89
Seems that some dogs only take an interest in swimming after age 10 months or so.

Just walk them to an edge of the beach and let them wade in and get comfortable. Then toss a stick just beyond their reach. They do dog paddle naturally.
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Old 03-01-2005   #4
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 67
My dog's first trip was Brown's Canyon! He was about 4-5 months old. I just held him in my lap good. Slept most of the time. He's also been down Westwater a bunch but never in Terrible Teens or anything like that (which is why I'm a little concerned about him this year).
You're dog will while a lot, but just hold him good, put a good PFD on him and he'll do just fine!
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Old 03-01-2005   #5
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 89
Yea, dogs whining on the river are a problem.
If the dog whines, just toss his ass in the water. He'll figure out the correlation. It's a dog, not a god.
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Old 03-02-2005   #6
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
I disagree with that approach, if the dog doesn't like water then I see no reason to force them in. They just like anyone else will be traumatized and won't take to it naturally. Like all training, take your time and have patience.
Just because its a Dog doesn't mean that you should treat it poorly.
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Old 03-02-2005   #7
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 89
Yea, I was a little cruel.

Dogs whining in boats are a problem. Even a dog that loves water will whine. Any suggestions on how to deal with it other than just pet the dog the whole time? Or do they just get used to it after quite a few trips?
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Old 03-02-2005   #8
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Rio just layed down and sat still through Skull rapid the last 2 trips. He's definately getting better. We've thrown him off the boat before only for him to swim back to it. Also, it depends on what kind of dog you have. Remember, some breeds are not good in the water.
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Old 03-02-2005   #9
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
Its probably just a comfort issue that will disappear over time.
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Old 03-02-2005   #10
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Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1999
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Hey Jen and Matt!
Jill's dog has done the numbers and M.F. of the Salmon with us. She's a fairly timid dog and learned to swim by chasing sticks in deeper and deeper water. She loves swimming now, even in the river, but is not really excited to get on a raft. She tollerates it well tough and doesn't whine, so no help there. Definitely get a jacket with a handle to pick the dog up with and I'd say just throw em in! The more they do it, the more they relax and enjoy it.

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