Dog platform - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-04-2007   #1
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
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Dog platform

Last year I saw someone with the most awesome feature on their frame. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to get a close look. Now, I want to build the same thing for my frame and thought I'd see if any one else has done this, so I don't have to invent it.

the raft had marine plywood platforms on each side gunwale, front to back. That way the dog could move around the raft without having to stumble across the frame, slide aroun on the gunwales, and such. For a dog that is nervous in a raft, this seems like it would help a lot. Yes, one of dogs is pretty darn nervous. Last year was her first summer rafting, and she is clearly not very happy about it. So anything that could help her "hold on" better and not be so confined seems like it would be great.

I have a concept in mind, but am not sure how to attach it to the frame. We don't want something that would be rough underneath, so as not to jeopardize the boat, and not to stick up too far on the platform.

We thought about the NRS ubolts, but since the platform will be sitting on top of the frame brackets (where the cross beams connect to the side rail), they won't be long enough.

NRS makes a "skidguard" frame, which is similar to what we want, but spin it 90 degrees.

Sure wish I had been able to see how that person had it mounted.


Kind of like the following, only for an existing 13' boat frame (much smaller) and wood, not metal

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Old 04-04-2007   #2
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
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Just finished building this. I used 3/4 Plywood - and used a jigsaw to cut holes for straps where appropriate on the frame. I finshed with Spar Urathane or you can use marine grade wood finish. Threw sand into the final coat of urathane for "gription"

Make sure to carefully plot this out with your raft inflated and your gear handy. I cut in tie-downs for my fire pan, pump, and 55 gallon drum of massage oil
"It boats really easy - it's too shallow to flip"

-El Flaco describing OBJ
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Old 04-04-2007   #3
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Duh! That is waaaay too easy. I was thinking more like special Ubolts, countersinking the nuts into the wood. Shims to hold platform up equal to fitting height, blah, blah, blah.

Thank you so much. Plus, easily removable. Awesome!
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Old 04-04-2007   #4
Join Date: May 2006
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There's a couple of things you can do

First, it's much easier if you have a double rail frame. If you do you can use cam straps to attach either marine grade plywood (use a router to make the slots, varnish and sprinkle a little sand on the top side for a non slip surface) or that white polycarbonate, I think it's the same material they make the new cutting boards from. Either way Ron at Riverboatworks in Salida could help if necessary. Good luck!
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Old 04-04-2007   #5
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Actually I've heard that sugar in the varnish works better. There is also a product called "Re-deck" made to do this. Info via windsurfing community. Supposedly sand is actually pretty slipper, and the sugar dissolves leaving the texture. I've used re-deck on one of my boards, and it works great.

Thanks for the tips, we have single rail but I think we can make it work.

[(use a router to make the slots, varnish and sprinkle a little sand on the top side for a non slip surface)
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Old 04-04-2007   #6
Gnarnia, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Wood decking is relatively easy to make and a double rail frame definitely makes it work better. Mine is made with marine grade plywood and has held up really well over the years. I use McCloskey MAN O' WAR Spar Varnish varnish and it works like a champ. I also use NRS cam straps to attach the decking to the frame. The drop floor is really nice to have and is very easy to make. I use 2" webing straps and biners to hold it in place. Cam straps would also work. Here are two photos that might give you a better idea. Send me a pm and I'll email you more photos if you'd like.
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Old 04-05-2007   #7
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 373
Decks and dogs

The poly material will last much longer and is just as easy to work with. I have wood decks now but they only last about 2 seasons.

Adressing the squirly dog. Let me first say that my 9 yr old red healer has 8 yrs on the river and has swam more class 4 and 4+ than I ever want to. He will actually read water and knows when to hunker down. If you are running harder rapids with a dog they need to have good river since about them The last thing you want is the mut jumping in to some nasty sive or keeper. I feel that a good river dog must listen well enough to follow commands even when swimming. I have been able to call Wilson back to the boat when it is black side up and through him up on top. This becomes very important when you are in a tight canyon and there is no path for them to walk down. I also had a dog that didn't make the cut in a similar situation and it puts a real buzz kill on the trip. I have found that the best place for Wilson to ride is in the row well between my legs when running harder drops. It keep his center of gravity low and unless the boat is in the turtle position he is in the boat, and if you do go over they pop up right next to you. The last thing I would say is always remember that if your both in the drink the dog will make shore much before you so take the time to look upstream before racing through the stretch to find them. We were running the upper Kalamath in CA and had the boat in front of us get stuck in caldera with us only 50 yds behind. We hit the the other boat with as much mo as possible and bumped him out but fliped ours in a hurry. I spent the next 3.5 hrs thinking a Killed him, but when the shuttle was retrieved my buds walked down the bank to the rapid and he came out of the poison ivy and couldn't figure out where everyone had gone. I hate to go on trips with out Wilson but sometimes its best. Have a great season and BE SAFE.
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Old 04-05-2007   #8
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Thank you for the pictures JBL, those help immensely! I like the idea of the floor also, since I've heard opinions that the dogs don't like the moving floor.

And thanks for the advice oarboatman. We did the Alberton Gorge (Clarkfork River in Montana) last late July with her, and my husband held onto her PFD as I rowed. I thought she was bothered by him holding, being jerked around a bit through the rapids. Next weekend we let her do her thing, and she bailed on the first set of rapids. I certainly didn't like that. Next trip was flat water, and she definately got concerned even through the small rapids. So we will be doing mellow stuff for a while, hoping to get her more accustomed and comfortable. I'm optimistic that the platforms will help her at least feel like she is not so confined. I also will implement a strong dose of treats at key times, hopefully get her to associate the noisy water with something really yummy. So either we won't be doing big water anymore, or we'll be leaving her behind. One of the reasons to get into rafting was to have a water sport we could do with the dogs (we windsurf which leaves the dogs behind), so we'll probably be sticking to "dog water" for a while.

Thanks again.

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Old 04-05-2007   #9
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Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
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For the decks on my raft, I used 3/4 plywood coated with urathane. Then, to cut down on glare, I put gray deck paint on and threw in some sand like stuff (I can't remember the name) I got from one of the big box hardware stores. It was cheap and gives a nice textured surface. I use plastic zip ties to keep the deck in place and then when I strap things on through the holes in the deck, that is what really holds the deck to the frame in river situations. I use loop straps and then when I'm not using the strap, I just pull it flat across the deck and it's there for quick use, but it's not an entrapment issue.

For the white poly decking, I've used a guy from Vail with good results. I believe his name is Steve, here is his website.
White Water Decks
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Old 04-05-2007   #10
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
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I had a old rubber truck bed mat like this one: - I cut it into a smaller piece that fit overtop dunnage and a firepan, and it creates a grippy surface for the dog to keep his/her balance.

Here's a trick to keeping the dog in the boat hands-free: In heavy water I would build a level platform of gear right behind me, strap the mat on top of the gear, then put my dog on the mat right behind my back. Before a rapid I would clip his PFD handle with my quick release PDF tow tether (like this one It's kinda like short-roping in mountaineering. The tether would keep him from sliding too far out of the raft; and if I flipped the boat and we both went swimming I could pull the quick release and he could swim to shore with his tether attached. He never slipped out of the boat with this setup- that includes a couple of Main Salmon trips and tons of Westwater trips.

The mat is a cheap fix, but something to consider....
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