Dog and canoe

What I need to know to enjoy a company of my 100 lb 3 years old labrador while in the canoe? What training techniques can you recommend? I’m planning to start on the shallow area with short raids from the shore to shore.

How about vest? Is it usefull? I don’t care about dog sweeming, but will vest help to get dog inside if he jump out?

Any help and suggestion is appreciated!

west marine dog vest

– Last Updated: Jun-07-10 9:53 PM EST –

it has a strong grab handle on the top. as for training to stay in the boat i hit my dog with the paddle and now poke him with the pole. just kidding. try a short lease tied up front and when he jumps it will be to short to swim so get him back in quickly use your strong vocals with a bit of alarm and he should get it after 2 or 3 times. my dog is always with me on the water. he has his own strobe light on his vest along with all contact info. add something to the floor for his paws to grip so he can stand strong.

Cut four holes in the boat bottom to
accomodate your pooch’s legs. Drop him in and dangle a Milk Bone in front of his nose.

At first there will be a lot of water in the boat, but once you get up on a plane, it will all be sucked out by the Bernoulli Effect.

Could you please help to find a blue print for these holes? I like the idea!

no the vest is no help
aside from picking up dog from the water.You dont want the dog in the water in the first place.

The dog must feel comfortable. They hate slippery surfaces so a mat or minicell shop flooring is a good idea.Give them the room they need, otherwise they will stand in rapids…boy is that fun. They must be obedience trained and not move if tempted by bird or amimal.

My Golden flunked. She stays home.

My poodle passed , but weighs
only 45 lbs.

don’t take anything…
…with you that can’t get wet.

that’s doubly important with dogs. Our Dalmatians loved it, but they would run from side to side.

dog in boat
Train it to sit. If the dog will not follow commands without hesitation, it does not belong in a canoe.

I see this every weekend. Joey thinks it will be fun to take the pooch down the river with him, but the dog has never seen a canoe so it freaks out and dumps the boat. Joey spends the next 6 hours trying to get the dog to stop chasing deer and stay in the boat. That or Joey gets the great idea to tie the god to the thwart so it will not get out. Then when Joey turns the canoe over in a rapid the poor dog is trapped in the canoe.

I refuse to rent boats to people until they promise not to tie the dog in and listen to my lecture.

That said, I have a dog that stays home because she is a rescue and is not trained to the degree I require before I take a dog in a canoe.

Well, after that nice little rant. A grab handle is great, train the dog to sit. Do not bring anything that can not get wet. Do not tie the dog to the boat!

My buddy has a big lab
That dog was impossible in a canoe till she was about 6. Now she just sits there like an old woman on a Venice gondola ride.

So, why don’t we have dog canoes with
open sterns and water ramps, like whaling ships?

Poochie could take a swim, climb back up the ramp, and with a net gate to force him to shake off harmlessly, we could readmit him to civilized life.

SOT Canoe!
Now that is one marketing idea ripe for plucking!

My 11 month old mutt goes with me all the time. I introduced him to water in a shallow creek, throwing a stick for him to retrieve. Gradually, he came to love the water and swimming…maybe too much. He’s only about 30lbs so not a big balance issue in the canoe. I put a foam pad in the bottom between the dry bags with enough room to curl up if he wants. He likes to stand on my dry bag in the front of the canoe which results in a few swims when I hit a rock or log. When he comes back to the surface, he swims over to me and I haul him in. I make him get on the pad when we go through small rapids. I will get a vest for him cause he has no fat at all and doesn’t float very high. I really enjoy taking him on overnighters, nothing like the smell of a wet dog curled up at the foot of the tent on muggy North Carolina summer night.

Yeah, I thought of SOTs. Maybe one could
have a loading ramp that pivots, and flips down in place. Or, it wouldn’t hurt to have the ramp drag in the wake, with a little design planning.

Why, for those with lazy dogs or drunken swimmers, a moving retrieval belt surface could be incorporated ! Even a battery powered motor with solar panel backup ! The mind boggles at the possibilities.

I tend to agree
I have a 40-lb dog that I take paddling often. I tried a couple different dog vests but they just didn’t work out - he LOVES the water but was always scared to death wearing a vest. He’s much more relaxed and very obedient without the vest. He’s an excellent swimmer, but I just stay close to the shore when he’s in the boat.

I’m a solo canoeist
and put my 25 lb. dog behind me to get him out of the way. He continuously moved from one side to the other, rocking the canoe as he went. I thought, things were not working out, until I realized he was just trying to get a view around me to see where we were headed. I moved him to the bow, put some gear aft, to trim the hull and he remained still as a rock, facing forward. From then on I took him paddling and he was granite as long as he could see everything.

Keep the Open Side Up,


OK, so my next plan is to pattern a
canoe after the USS Kitty Hawk. A dog launching pad on the front end, a reboarding ramp angling off port.

It does mean the solo paddler mimics the control tower and has to paddle off the right side all the time… but the dog will be overjoyed.

too low-tech
Compressed air powered catapult for dog.

Not sure what to do about retrieval, though aren’t labradors trained to self retrieve?

Dog in canoe?

You’ve gone overboard, man!

In takin’ 9 2 R K,

canoe spots the bad plan?

Takin’ stab in furry cargo,

how the hull will dog heel?

Each turns just more squirrely,

Rover will roll over even keel!

With 100-pounds of retriever,

throwin’ schnozz at each gunnel,

past last second of stability,

two of you both shall funnel!

Then in submarined emersion,

bobbin’ behind best beast till end,

is sternly waggin’ off on you off waggin’ off

these sodden voyages with floppy friend.

Nahhhhh! Damn the torpedo’n topples of sodden imbalance, full (and fool’s folly) K9 ahead:


I often take either my 115 lb lab or my 35 lb spaniel along for companionship. They get a little retrieve work out when I put in and they provide pleasant company while paddling. But…as stated above you have to have an “understanding” no standing on the gunnel, no rambling around they can sit and thats it. As my old lab is now 10 and has sore hips he is allowed to stand if he wants. You have to be very firm the first couple trips (Sit stay, SIT STAYYYY, SIIIIITTTT STAYYYYYY teh whole time) and dont count on getting any real paddling done the first trip or two but if your dog will mind a sit stay they quickly get used to sitting still and before long they “get” the balance and wont upset the boat much.

Do put something in the bottom for traction.

We started our dogs with dry-land training: put the canoe on the lawn, and put his food bowl in the canoe at mealtimes. The canoe quickly became a happy place. It’s also a good way to start working on “stay”.

A good vest does give you a nice handle, but even with a handle getting a 100-pound dog back into a canoe on the water is not easy. We found that paddling to shore and reloading was safer.

If the dog is a strong swimmer, they’re probably more comfortable without a vest on flat water with reasonable temperatures. On moving water or in cold water some additional flotation and/or warmth might be good.

Our dogs have been much more likely to sit/lie quietly if they can easily see out.

It never hurts to get them a bit tired before you go for a paddle.

Comfort levels vary. Our female GSD likes flat water but starts looking miserable if there are any waves. Our lab mix thinks it’s a great game to bite passing whitecaps.