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I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to help my dog get back into the boat. I am looking for a way that he could climb back into the boat on his own by some sort of ladder or similar device that I could let down for him. He loves being in the water he just hates it when he can't get back in the boat on his own.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

-S
 

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Dog swim platform

Dog feet aren't very well-suited to ladders. What pops into my head (ooch!) is a sort of swim platform that the dog can scramble up on, then climb over the tube.

First, get some PolyMax kennel floor— search for the 'Games with Frames' thread which has photos and sources. Also, search PolyMax for further posts on the stuff, including Laura Howe's dog-friendly boat frame.

Second, cut a 4' x 2' panel of PolyMax in half = 2' x 2'. Get some aluminum flat bar stock (local hardware) and cut two pieces to form an X under the PolyMax grid (adds stiffness for a big dog) and round off sharp corners. Drill holes (say 3/8" at the ends). Then rig some non-stretchy (i.e. polypro) rope through the holes in the bar, around the PolyMax grid, and up to another piece of bar stock or hardwood (carefully smoothed) with holes 2' apart. The outer pieces of rope will be longer than the inner pieces, so the platform is just below the waterline, level or inclined somewhat outboard so the dog has an easier time scrambling up.

Rig it to your frame with straps or whatever, perhaps at the stern where the pooch won't get conked by an oar. It should flip up onto the boat for running rapids.

I'm imagining this, so far. But I might build one for my waterdog, Ruby, so she can get back into my big cat without help.

Worth a try, p'raps. Good luck.

Chip
 

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mayby think about more of a ramp, same idea to flip it up for the rapids, and then flip it down so they can crawl in, just a thought. let us know with pics what you come up with.
 

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I'm a vet student, so pm me and lets talk. I've seen a set up on a cat with one of those black mesh floors between the tubes that works well. Rafts are hard cause a dogs power to get out of the water is reliant on pulling up with the front (their power is usually mostly in the hind legs and they can't really push off). It's really hard on them. What kind of dog is it makes a difference too(breed,age,ability level). You don't want to cut your dogs boating off early. I'm sure you've seen what happens when (some of us getting older and drunker) a slip happens getting on and off.
 

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Climbing dogs!

I had an Aussie that climbed ladders. We about 20 feet up, framing a floor and all of a sudden, there appeared Kodi at the top of the ladder and he jumped onto the floor. Surprised all of us.

I have seen collapsible steps on some RVs that would probably work for a dog to climb up on. Having them collapse would seem to be an advantage over a long ramp. Just a thought for you to consider.
 

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Dog Swim Platform

I just mocked this up with some rope and a half-piece of PolyMax kennel floor. (Use your imagination.)

Dog platform 1.jpg

Used some non-stretchy polypro rope, with bowlines to the platform and a figure-eight knot for the loop. The loops at the top would be attached to the frame of the raft with short straps. It could be pulled up into the boat or quickly removed for rapids.

Dog platform 2.jpg

I tied it with the outboard edge inclined, so it'd be easier for the dog to get up on it, then launch with rear legs into the boat. The PolyMax grid is pretty unbreakable, but it does flex, so for a heavy dog you'd need some stiffening. This piece has a chunk of aluminum angle pop-riveted along the outer edge, that'd probably do the trick.

It'd be rigged slightly below the surface (maybe the rear center would be best) so the dog wouldn't have to get its front paws high out of the water. The grid stuff offers a lot of purchase (for hooking claws). Older dogs might need a slight boost to get on it, but could then get into the boat easily.

It's so simple it makes me nervous.

Chip
 

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Chip is on the right track here. Check out this "boating" dog dock. Wouldn't work for a raft, but the float is a good idea.

http://www.doggydocks.com/

All you do is add a float to the bottom of it, and you could get away without the rope, but the rope might be the best idea.

I think the dogs would need some cross-ways grips, to really push up on. I'd cut a couple of pieces of poly-max, 2-3 holes deep, and zip tie them to the main panel for a raised grip. Create a bit of a "ladder" like what is used on ramps and A-frames for dog agility.

Here's another weird dog ramp, just for info and brainstorming.

Dog Boat Ramps - Doggy Docks
 

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Sub-engineering

All you do is add a float to the bottom of it, and you could get away without the rope, but the rope might be the best idea.

I think the dogs would need some cross-ways grips, to really push up on. I'd cut a couple of pieces of poly-max, 2-3 holes deep, and zip tie them to the main panel for a raised grip.
Good idea. You could combine the flotation and the grips by using a piece of foam pipe insulation (or slitting one of those noodle things) and, attaching it with cable-ties along the outboard edge, then (if necessary) putting one or two half-pieces on the top.

But— to actually support a dog's weight you'd need more flotation than that, so the ropes or some skinny webbing are pretty much required. Only problem would be if you've got a dumb dog that tries to climb on sidewise and gets hung in the rope. I guess you could hang some flagging on the ropes 'til the dog caught on.

Not being a rafter, I didn't think of the way the tubes are kicked up on the bow and stern. So I guess the best spot would be on the side, behind the rower. Not much water to try it out right now.

(Hope your Salmon trip was good.)

Chip
 
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