large hound cant swim?

My pup is now 2 and loves to go where ever I do but dispite weekly hydroherapy lesons over the winter he still cant swim. He has a crewsaver pfd and will hop in to my friends cannoe with my and loves it but as I cant paddle the cannoe we are limited to very short trips he is a big boy at 36kg skinny, I need some advice moving on from short 20 min trips on a big cannoe to day triping on a sit on top He is not a brave pup and is fully aware of his inability to swim well. The boat I have access to is a robson kialua 2+1/2 person he hops on behind me solo but when asked to hop on with my friend on the back he refuses swaping positions he will get on but the bow submerges causing him to throw himself at mum = 3 swimmers. capsizng dosnt put him off I dont want to spend the summer on the bank or all the time swiming Help

is he a sight hound by chance?
several dogs in this category cant swim. not due to not knowing how, swimming is natural to most dogs, but because many sight hounds have extremely low body fat they cannot float and will drown after a few minutes of paddling exhausts them. yes a life jacket is always a must for your dog, but dogs like those i have mentioned may be reluctant since they know they cannot swim.

if he is another type of dog, well he may just never feel comfortable and i would not recommend pressing it as that tends to cause more stress in dogs rather than getting them to face their fears so to speak :slight_smile:

he may be safer and more secure if he is left at home during the longer trips.

my hounds are not the outdoorsy type either and i know it sucks :frowning: not only can mine not swim, they also are very prone to skin cancer without sun block. they have very sparse hair to protect them.

Pretty simple…
Leave the dog at home.

If you don’t; it’s probably just a matter of time before the dog, you, or you and the dog have to deal with nautural consequences you’ll regret.


staying home not practical
I would leave him home but 1 he is allways trying to get in the kayaks and 2 he is my new mobility supoort dog without him I cant go any more.

3 this is the odd bit with difernt paddle mates on the back he is quite happy until he spots me or Ja in another boat at witch piont he will make a mad dive to us he will hop in the clubs candian and stand in the bow quietly for most people and go around the small island well out if my sight. He is not afrade of the water he just dosnt like it if its cold he dives in the swiming pool as soon as his pfd is on No pfd no way will he jump in. he will follow me in to the river and swim short distances to me with out hesitation He is a Wime but built more like a gray hound on streoids.


– Last Updated: Jun-17-13 2:33 PM EST –

I've noticed, and perhaps you have too; responses are not forthcoming. I'd be willing to bet that hundreds of paddlers have read your thread, but withheld responses. I think this is due to a lack of understanding on the part of pnetters; regarding exactly what your paddling capabilities/limitations are?
Another issues is whether any questions they ask will be labeled as insensitive, or not politically correct.

Frankly, I was/am hesitant to ask questions/seek understanding because of those issues. Feel like I'm putting my head on the block. Am sure many others(usually offering advice on any subject from aardvarks to zebras)feel likewise & have decided to to lurk.

You say you can't go paddling if you leave the dog?
It sounds as if you always have a human companion when you are on the water?
If true; what support does your dog offer that your human companion can't?
It seems as if the dog is more of a problem than a support, but again, I don't understand what support it provides for you?
Have you never paddled prior to having a support dog? Your profile has you listed as an intermediate paddler who does whitewater?

I paddled for many year with a lady who was paralyzed from her waist down. She paddled in a tandem canoe with her husband, and also paddled her solo canoe, and her kayak solo. She always told me to ask questions about that which I didn't understand, if I wanted to help. I did ask questions & I did help for many years.

My work with dogs is limited to 3 years as a military sentry dog handler; which gives me no understanding of the varied usages of support dogs.


their is no sutch thing as a dum ?
thank you Walt helps me with more than my walking he dose medical alert for fits and grounding (its a way of preventing the handler loosing orentation with reality after/during a fit flashback ect)he helps me change and more expected things like pushing buttons and caring things.

Id leave him home in a hart beat if he didnt seam so intent on joining us.

I asked our trainer to come out and take a look but he cant come for another 6 weeks.

I do paddle the boat with Walt alone localy but i get tyerd to fast moving such a heavy boat more than a few miles. My slalom boat I paddle for hours but i can barly carry lunch never mind hound or camping kit

ability wise I have a brain injury and peralisis in my hips. I paddled before my injury and my WW is mostly on an artifcal coures now or a few loops on rivers with good access where I can be in the car park within 5 mins from any point on the loop Its limiting but better than no WW at all.

I dont care if answers and questions a not pc I just want to get back to longer trips without puting presure on my paddle mates to care for me on the land


– Last Updated: Jun-17-13 3:12 PM EST –

Alternatives that came to mind if you can't, or won't leave the dog behind when paddling are:

1. Better pfd (more flotation/some sort of adaptation may be necessary) for the dog.

2. Best pfd you can afford for yourself; preferably one that will keep your face out of the water in all circumstances.

3. Lighter, more stable boat to accomodate extra weight/movement of dog in boat.

4. Adapting to trainer's suggestions; hopefully based on trainer "seeing" the situation, as opposed to hearing about the situation.

5.Having human companionship always available whenever you paddle.

6. Some sort of adaptation(outrigger system)for your boat of choice?

7. Limit risk taking by not doing trips that push the level of your capabilitie.

8. Local paddlers/paddling club that can offer suggestions/assistance?

Maybe now others will "step up" with more suggestions, after gaining more information about your issues?

The final decision will,of course, be left to you.
Make well reasoned decision, after much deliberation.

Good luck to you,

For what it is worth
I don’t have any experience with your situation so my comments are just some thoughts.

First, I think thebob’s comments make a lot of sense.

I also think you might want to try using a canoe with your dog. Your dog may find a canoe less of a problem than a kayak … more open space, and maybe more a sense of stability.

Based on my experience with dogs I have had over the years, as thebob suggested you might want to try a dog PFD with more flotation and better fit. Using such a PFD you may want to try going into the water with the dog from the shore. Doing this for short periods of time, and doing it often may give your dog more confidence about being on the water.

Just some thoughts, maybe they will help

I used to know a guy who had paresis
in his legs from polio in childhood. He paddled c-1 and once he dragged himself and his boat to the river and got situated, you really couldn’t tell him from me.

I don’t know the Robson boat you have. I might almost look for a sit-on-top that provided you with a stable base, and had a low, flat stern for your dog. He is going to need a pretty strong PFD,

My dachshund sinks like a stone
So scent hounds can be bad swimmers too. He is a muscular 30 pounds (he is a standard) so no fat to keep him afloat and his stubby little legs don’t propel him through the water enough to compensate. I got him a pfd at West Marine that works pretty well, we go out in my very stable canoe, and he is a calm dog and stays very still so we have never had a problem.

Just throwing out another idea
Would a lighter, more buoyant boat help both you and the dog? I was thinking maybe a Pakboat folding canoe or Pakboat kayak like the XT-16. They are half the weight of similar sized hard boats and have inflatable sponsons that make them very buoyant, yet they paddle more quickly and handle better than standard full inflatables. Also the inflatable seats allow a great deal of adjustment and leg and back support. The XT kayaks have a removeable deck so you can paddle them open and the XT-16 can be set up for solo or tandem. I have heard people just lay an ensolite foam pad inside the hull when they take their dogs along with them. You might need help setting the boat up at first but there is not reason it can’t stay set up as long as you want to use it. Folding kayaks do not have to be dismantled each time, but it is handy to have the option of compacting your kayak into a duffel bag to store it or to take it travelling, even on a plane.

You can see YouTube videos of people using them (just search on “pakboat” at the YouTube screen. The company’s website isn’t all that great, unfortunately.

I have two Pakboats, the XT-15 and an older 12’ Puffin. They are nice to paddle, ridiculously light and very stable. I loaned the Puffin to a friend on a trip last year when we kayaked down to watch the Fourth of July fireworks. She had to get out a few times when we were there at the wharf (she has a small bladder) and she was able to stand up easily in the Pakboat and climb onto the dock and then back it without anyone stabilizing the boat for her. The inflatable sponsons make it very hard to capsize these boats. The skins are tough enough for moderate whitewater and the flexibility makes them superior to hard boats when paddling in rough waters.

There are other competent inflatable and/or folding kayaks that might work too, like the Feathercraft Java, Gemini and Klondike, but they are quite costly ($3,000 to $5,000). The Pakboats are around $1,500, about the same range as a decent hardshell kayak or canoe.

I’ll ask over on the folding kayak forum if anyone has experience with using them with disabilities or mobility limitations.

We tryed it out to day on land and got a few pics I would seam that as Ja is so tall he takes up flat cargo with his feet the same area Walt likes ot sit and stand in their is still a load of room for Walt just none of it is flat or gripy.

I think a smallish flat platform and maybe outrigers as thebob says could work.

off to scorce some marine ply and try afew new pfds for hound and myself.

thank you for your coments

As in Weimeraner?
“He is a Wime but built more like a gray hound on streoids.”

If he is a Weimeraner he should swim like a champ! They have webbed feet and make excellent retrievers… The last one in our family used to swim out to meet my dad after waterskiing and tow him back to shore! The first few times he came out to me and realized his mistake - I got left to swim in :slight_smile:

Am I correct that there are two of you and the dog on that boat? Looks too cramped from the pics I see online. Maybe paddle with just the dog, or get something bigger. Again, if he’s a Weimeraner there’s a TON of energy to keep under control in a small space.

My dog is only a bit smaller than yours. He can swim but is still learning to like it. Unfortunately, he prefers to sit on my lap while I paddle. Plenty of room in the bow of my Pamlico 145T but still working on getting him to stay up there…

I think that you should expect to do minimal paddling and much dog training this season. Keep the trips short and fun so he associates paddling with good times.